This H. Moser & Cie Venturer Concept has hands that appear to be floating in a void. Here’s how they did it.

Through the miracle of Vantablack

A while back, we were lucky enough to get an up-close and personal look at a very special H. Moser & Cie Venturer Concept watch. With the absence of any sort of branding on the dial, something Moser does quite regularly, the two leaf-shaped hands appeared to be floating in a black void. We all love a good black dial, but this was something else altogether. It was a dial blacker than black and as we learned, it was all thanks to a material called Vantablack.

This material, deemed to be one of the darkest materials in the world was created by Surrey NanoSystems in the United Kingdom. And how it manages to be one of the blackest blacks is through the fact that it absorbs 99.965 per cent of visible light. This is because the structure of Vantablack comprises of vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays, hence the acronym VANTA.

According to Surrey NanoSystems Vantablack was originally developed for aerospace use, more specifically satellite-borne blackbody calibration systems. Initially, the Vantablack couldn’t simply be applied on a surface, but rather had to be grown on a substrate using a modified chemical vapour deposition process. Over the years, however, the company now has developed a technology to spray on Vantablack coatings. And it is only because of this it can be used on watches like this Moser and a very cool BMW X6. According to Surrey NanoSystem’s Steve Northam, ounce for ounce, Vantablack is more expensive than diamonds and gold.

Up until recently, Vantablack held the independently verified world record as the darkest man-made substance, but MIT engineers have reported that they have cooked up a material 10 times blacker than Vantablack. Just like Vantablack, this material is also made from vertically aligned carbon nanotubes but grown on a surface of chlorine-etched aluminium foil and captures at least 99.995 per cent of any incoming light.

With Vantablack now stable enough to be used on something like a BMW X6, is it only a matter of time before we start to see this material used on watch cases? How about a watch with a case and dial made of Vantablack? Wouldn’t that be something…

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