“Glen Bowen was the first editor who rediscovered Louis Moinet, back in 2002 at Baselworld. At that time, I only had an 8-page biography in my hand, and many ideas in my head. I remember very clearly our discussion, and from that day onwards, Glen was very supportive. To feel this attitude from a man of his stature was for me a big encouragement. Meanwhile, Louis Moinet has proven to be one of the greatest watchmakers that ever lived, and we share a growing success with our US partners. I wish Glen and Watch Sproket all the best !”
— Jean-Marie Schaller / CEO & Creative Director
WHO IS BEHIND THE BRAND LOUIS MOINET
Jean-Marie Schaller is founder, creative director and CEO of Louis Moinet, a brand that all but disappeared from the history of watchmaking before Schaller relaunch the brand at the 2003 edition of Baselworld. Schaller shared his vision with me the year before in Basel during the fair. I was immediately smitten by his concept and reassured Schaller that he would achieve many wonderful things. At the time, I knew nothing about Louis Moinet, but Schaller’s enthusiasm was authentic and infectious.
Schaller began his career in the watch industry employed at Siber Hegner as project manager for several watch brands including launching in 1991 the virtually unknown Daniel Roth as a new brand. Then in 1994, Schaller relaunched the historic brand Perrelet and became its first CEO. After leaving Perrelet in 1999, Schaller worked a short time for a French firm as a marketing and management consultant and then returned to the watch industry to become marketing director of Lacoste Watches. In just one year, Schaller increased its sales many fold.
It may sound a bit strange, but Schaller believes it was his destiny to discover Louis Moinet, a man of many talents in the arts and sciences, a contemporary of Louis Breguet, and an accomplished watchmaker himself.
Louis Moinet is an independent watch brand located in Saint-Blaise, Switzerland where Schaller oversees the creation of limited edition watches and one-of-a-kind unique pieces.
“Our concept is mechanical art,” Schaller explains. “It’s important to me that we honor the heritage of Louis moinet and write new chapters of his history as if he were alive. We are not a “marketing brand,” we are a real brand with a real tradition. And I feel that we are moving in the right direction.”
One of the great discoveries through Schaller’s research into the life and times of Louis Moinet is that he was the first watchmaker to create a chronograph. This not only surprised him, but just about every other person in the watch landscape. Schaller thoroughly researched this invention and had it well documented prior to announcing it because he knew it would be immediately challenged…and it was. But he had the proof.
For the brand Louis Moinet, Schaller says he has no business plan and no sales projections nor does he want the brand to be burdened with having to achieve or beat sales forecasts each year because this kills creativity. His objective is to create watches that are respectful of the art and craftsmanship at the highest levels, along with having fun and surprising his loyal clientele.
GLEN B BOWEN, COPYRIGHT 2017
Ateliers Louis Moinet was founded in Saint-Blaise, Neuchâtel, in 2004. The fully-independent firm was established to honor the memory of Louis Moinet (1768-1853): master watchmaker, certified inventor of the chronograph (1816), and pioneer in the use of very high frequencies (216,000 vibrations per hour). Louis Moinet was a watchmaker, scholar, painter, sculptor and teacher at the School of Fine Arts – as well as the author of Traité d’Horlogerie, a watchmaking treatise published in 1848 that remained a definitive work of reference for almost a century. Today, Ateliers Louis Moinet is perpetuating this legacy. The firm’s timepieces, produced in limited editions only, have won some of the most coveted awards, including a Red Dot Design Award (Best of the Best category), a prize in the International Chronometry Competition, and a recent UNESCO Award of Merit. Louis Moinet creations often make use of unusual materials, such as fossils and meteorites, in a unique creative approach combined with bespoke fine watchmaking complications. The brand’s core values are creativity, exclusivity, art and design.
LOUIS MOINET >> Space Mystery <<
Space Mystery is the world’s first “satellite tourbillon®”: the cage is balanced by means of a planet that rotates around it. And this is just one of several exclusive Louis Moinet features in the piece: Space Mystery also includes authentic fragments of a mysterious meteorite from the far-flung regions of space that holds traces of amino acids—possibly one of the first forms of life in the universe. This unique Fine Watchmaking composition is showcased on a dial in Magic Blue – a color whose exact composition remains one of Louis Moinet’s closely-guarded secrets. This hue endows Space Mystery with all the depth of the cosmos so dear to Louis Moinet—in his day, he would gaze at the heavens night after night. With Space Mystery, the Ateliers founded in his honor have added a poetic dimension to their vocation—and provided unprecedented heights of watchmaking emotion.
After having shown off fragments of the Moon, Mars, and the oldest known rock in the solar system, what could there possibly be left for Ateliers Louis Moinet to present? The answer: the carbonaceous CM chondrite meteorite. Could this be the proof of life in space? Quite possibly. The meteorite in question contains amino acids—the basic requirement for all lifeforms, vital for all metabolic processes. Space Mystery is the first timepiece in the world to include these authentic fragments bearing traces of amino acids—perhaps the very first known sign of life in the cosmos.
“The origin of the carbonaceous CM chondrite meteorite is a mystery. The presence of non-terrestrial amino acids could indicate that it originated outside our solar system over 4.5 billion years ago,” explains Jean-Marie Schaller. “This was an exceptional creative catalyst for us—and represented a huge responsibility, too. It’s not every day that you get a chance to display the origins of life in the Universe.”
Space Mystery is the theatre for this display. The 46-mm-diameter watch offers many other exclusive features, the fruit of almost two years of development. The first, and no doubt the most visible, is the Magic Blue dial. Its precise composition is secret—and known to Louis Moinet alone. The blue is unlike anything achieved using enamel, lacquer, or galvanization. It offers unique depth and power, evocative of the immensity of the galaxy.
An outsize tourbillon is located at 12 o’clock. Its balance wheel and bridge have been crafted in authentic Louis Moinet style; the upper part is in blued titanium. The tourbillon cage, boasting an exceptional diameter of 13.59 mm, hangs suspended in mid-air, 1.8 mm above the dial. Not only does this satellite tourbillon—also exclusive to Louis Moinet – rotate on its own axis, it is itself in orbit, as is its very own satellite planet, revolving every 60 seconds. What is more, contrary to existing off-axis tourbillons, the axis of rotation of the Space Mystery tourbillon is not the same as that of the hours and minutes hands.
The Space Mystery case is entirely hand-engraved and hand-polished. On either side of the crown, each caseband will include two other authentic fragments of heavenly bodies – one from Mars and the other from the Moon. There will be four editions of Space Mystery, each comprising 8 watches (2 in white gold, 2 in rose gold).
This is a limited edition of 8, because the latter is a visual reminder of the infinity symbol. Invented by the mathematician John Wallis in 1655, its shape is similar to the figure 8-shaped plane curve known as the lemniscate of Bernouilli.
SIDERALIS—INTERSTELLER DOUBLE TOURBILLON
“Sideralis is a highly technical piece, featuring a world first, and protected by two patents. It combines the astral theme with an exclusive complication, thus enhancing a dial full of life—one of the hallmarks at Louis Moinet. The lightness of the Sideralis EVO, and more particularly of its new outsize tourbillon cages, embodies this sense of space. The deep blue echoing the astral micro-painting reinforces an overall sense of coherence, illuminated by the new rose gold case as if by sunlight itself.
The tourbillons rotate in opposite directions, driving the Sideralis complication: two discs, one atop the other, which also rotate in opposite directions, orchestrating the ballet of the stars on the time dial, and revealing a succession of tiny hand-painted vignettes. The discs depict the planet Mars, the Moon, and Mercury, one after the other. “These three bodies have not been chosen at random,” says Jean-Marie Schaller. “Each of the micro-paintings includes genuine dust from the heavenly body in question, a fragment of Mars, moon dust, and extremely rare fragments of the Rosetta Stone, whose scientific name is Sahara 99555. This stone travelled across the universe to reach us. It’s the oldest known to mankind, having come from Mercury and to be four and half billion years old.”
MEMORIS RED ECLIPSE—PINK DAWN RISING ON THE MOON
Memoris Red Eclipse is now presented in a fully engraved rose gold case with a lunar eclipse theme. This new interpretation wonderfully offsets the dominant blue of the astral micro-painting adorning the dial.
This new version of Memoris has the same distinctive characteristic as the earlier models making the chronograph the primary function of the timepiece instead of just a complication. Ateliers Louis Moinet went about things just as the inventor of the chronograph did in his day—taking a completely different approach to watchmaking. Indeed, that’s how Mr Louis Moinet himself invented the chronograph and was the first to incorporate the use of high frequencies—just one of his many remarkable achievements.
Memoris shifts the whole of the chronograph function to the dial, structuring it around three guiding principles, which are locating the chronograph center stage, giving it a traditional clutch column wheel and adding a monopusher—just like Mr. Louis Moinet’s very own Compteur de Tierces, the first chronograph in History (1816).
The chronograph’s action can be admired in its entirety by activating the pusher. The column wheel orchestrates the graceful movement of the mechanism of steel and gears, passing information to the hands. Louis Moinet opted to locate the traditional workings of the automatic mechanism on the back of the movement, beneath the plate. Its oscillating weight is decorated with a red moon in gold-leaf enamel.
The caliber on Memoris is the LM54. Beating at a rhythm of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz), it boasts 302 components and a 48-hour power reserve. Over sixty parts have been designed and manufactured to allow the chronograph to be presented atop a dedicated movement plate, separating it from the automatic movement beneath.
“Energie Plus” is an ingenious, automatic pawl winding system featuring an elegant spring with a ‘crab claw’ design. And to complete the assembly, a miniature ceramic ball bearing is mounted on the dual-material rotor. The advantage of “Energie Plus” is that it allows the piece to be wound up in both directions, with a minimum of excess travel. This optimizes each movement of the rotor, recovering its energy, and winding the movement more effectively.
The rose gold case is fully hand-engraved and decorated with jewels at the end of the lugs. The time is displayed on a dark blue grand feu enamel dial.
The rose gold “Red Eclipse” Memoris comes in a limited edition of 12 pieces.
TEMPOGRAPH BLACK—AN ICON REVISITED
The 20-Second Tempograph is one of the most emblematic timepieces by Ateliers Louis Moinet, and the only one to feature a fully-visible 20-second retrograde movement. The Tempograph returns in a version combining black and rose gold.
The new Tempograph benefits from a number of discreet additions that we’ve never had before, including a plate, balance wheel bridge, and a black Fleur de Lys.
The compelling presence of the new Tempograph Black resides in the combination of black and rose gold. One absorbs the light; the other reflects it. One is intentionally modern; the other pays tribute to the noblest days of traditional fine watchmaking. Together, they produce a balanced timepiece that blends diverging styles.
To achieve this balance, Louis Moinet has used various touches of other colors, subtly lending their support to each style. Enhancing the traditional spirit, the gilded hands complement a flange engraved with a Clou de Paris pattern. For the finishing contemporary touch, meanwhile, the seconds are shown at 9, in the form of a mobile display divided into three sectors (grey, red, and black).
Beneath this contrasting yet coherent assembly sits an all-black plate adorned with the skeletonized bridges of the in-house caliber, comprising 260 components. It’s been made all
in one piece, with no additional module to house the complication: this integrated construction adds to the sense of technical coherence for the piece as a whole. At 8, the subtle interplay of the cam and ruby-tipped rack is on display, together with a fully visible balance wheel. To wind the movement, the Tempograph uses “Energie Plus”, an ingenious, automatic pawl winding system featuring an elegant spring with a ‘crab claw’ design. The final part of this system is a miniature ceramic ball bearing, mounted on the dual-material rotor. The key advantage of “Energie Plus” is that it allows the piece to be wound up in both directions, with a minimum of excess travel. This optimizes each movement of the rotor, harnessing its energy to the maximum, and winding the caliber more effectively.
The new Tempograph sports an hour dial at four o’clock, featuring the rose gold hands with “dewdrop” tips that have become one of the aesthetic hallmarks of Ateliers Louis Moinet, sweeping over Roman numerals and a minute rail designed in the purest watchmaking tradition.
METROPOLIS IN BLACK & RED, AND MAGIC BLUE
Metropolis, the new creation by Ateliers Louis Moinet, is back in two new versions—one combining red and black, the other in “Magic Blue”. The urban, architectural ethos of the timepiece is further enhanced by a contemporary sparkle unlike anything ever seen before from Louis Moinet.
“The success of a creation like Metropolis depends on just two things: first of all, making sure it is true to the brand’s DNA; and secondly, ensuring that it is coherent from start to finish, in terms of both form and essence. These have been our twin guiding principles for these two new limited editions of Metropolis. On the one hand, the timepieces exude the Louis Moinet spirit, with a particular emphasis on their styling and individual identity.
The new “Black & Red” Metropolis sports a black DLC case, a black dial, and red hour markers. The resulting contrast gives Metropolis a contemporary dynamic and a sport chic ethos bursting with fresh assertiveness.
The “Magic Blue” Metropolis comes housed in a steel case, and features a Magic Blue dial and rhodium-plated hour markers with white lacquer. The Magic Blue hue is owned outright by Louis Moinet, its composition a closely-guarded secret. Far more than just a color, it provides depth and focus going far beyond a mere variation in shade. The end result is that the “Magic Blue” Metropolis is redolent with a unique emotion, at once intense and gentle.
Each of the two timepieces bears the hallmark attributes of Metropolis. First off, there are three pieces of openwork, for the hour markers, the dial, and the lugs and vertical bridges, giving the watch a unique three-dimensional splendor.
Each side sports a diamond-cut, satin-finish section that reflects light deep, deep into the dial, setting the timepiece sparkling with life. The color contrast is enhanced by each hour marker being lacquer-coated. The hour markers are suspended in mid-air, adding a further sense of depth.
In a rare feat of craftsmanship, each marker is linked to a central ring and a dark grey flange made from neoralithe. This produces an effect of depth, with the numerals raised above a sand-blasted black base.
The LM45 caliber, boasting a 48-hour power reserve, is completely new, and was designed and assembled in accordance with the firm’s most stringent chronometric requirements. Between 8 and 12, the escapement beating at a rhythm of 28,800 vibrations per hour and the offset seconds hand, thanks to a second piece of openwork and carefully arranged to ensure an unobstructed view of every detail of the Metropolis’ workings.
The hours, minutes, and seconds are read off by Louis Moinet’s iconic double-lined “Gouttes de Rosée” dewdrop hands. The 43.2 mm diameter Metropolis case has been dubbed Neo. Its new technical solutions have led to the creation of an all-new shape of watch. Everything is built around two vertical bridges running through the timepiece, securing the strap at each end of their lugs, the latter incorporating the third and final openwork finish on the watch. The bridges support the movement’s housing, topped by the bezel and its six screws – another of Louis Moinet’s hallmarks.
A total of no fewer than 55 different parts all contribute to the creation of a unique visual effect. The crocodile strap comes with a folding clasp decorated with still another Louis Moinet symbol, the Fleur de Lys.
METROPOLIS BLENDS URBAN ARCHITECTURE AND WATCHMAKING
The Metropolis features three different sets of openwork on the hour markers, on the dial, and on the lugs and vertical bridges giving the timepiece a uniquely three-dimensional aspect. The first openwork feature is on the Roman numeral hour markers, themselves a first for a Louis Moinet timepiece.
Each side of the Metropolis sports a diamond-cut, satin-finish section that reflects light deep, deep into the dial, setting the timepiece sparkling with life. The color contrast is enhanced by each hour marker being lacquer-coated in white for watches with a rose gold case, and in blue for watches with a steel case.
Each marker is linked to a central ring and a dark grey flange made from neoralithe, an innovative material chosen for its transparency and purity. This produces an effect of depth, with the numerals raised above a sand-blasted black base.
The new timepiece bears all the distinctive hallmarks of a Louis Moinet. The LM45 caliber, boasting a 48-hour power reserve, is completely new. It was designed and assembled in accordance with the firm’s most stringent chronometric requirements.
The dial features the second openwork aspect of the Metropolis, between 8 and 12, revealing each and every beat of its exclusive caliber. The escapement beating at a rhythm of 28,800 vibrations per hour and the offset seconds hand are displayed carefully arranged to ensure an unobstructed view of every detail of the Metropolis’ workings.
The movement’s finish embody all the noble traditions of fine watchmaking, including Côtes de Genève, diamond-cut angles, circular-grained wheels, and pearling. The sapphire caseback, meanwhile, reveals the movement of the rotor, mounted on a ball bearing. There’s a new, concentric version of the Clou de Paris pattern, much beloved of Louis Moinet in the nineteenth century, conveying a striking impression of motion. The hours, minutes, and seconds are read off by Louis Moinet’s iconic double-lined “Gouttes de Rosée” dewdrop hands.
The 43.2 mm diameter Metropolis case is been dubbed Neo. Its new technical solutions have led to the creation of an all-new shape of watch. Everything is built around two vertical bridges running through the timepiece, securing the strap at each end of their lugs, the latter incorporating the third and final openwork finish on the watch. The bridges hold the movement’s housing, topped by the bezel and its six screws, another of Louis Moinet’s hallmarks.
The crocodile strap comes with a folding clasp decorated with still another Louis Moinet symbol, the Fleur de Lys. Metropolis will be available in spring 2017, in two initial limited editions of 60, in steel and 18K rose gold.
MEMORIS RED ECLISPES
Memoris Red Eclipse is an anthology timepiece, celebrating the bicentenary of the invention of the chronograph—a very limited edition of twelve fully hand-engraved watches.
MEMORIS RED ECLISPES
Memoris Red Eclipse is an anthology timepiece, celebrating the bicentenary of the invention of the chronograph—a very limited edition of twelve fully hand-engraved watches.
This version features a fully engraved bespoke case depicting the theme of the lunar eclipse. The beveling brings the mechanism to life, on a mysterious starry background. This is crafted using a traditional rose engine tool despite being all of two hundred years. The unique process creates a spectacular effect that makes the stars twinkle in myriad ways, depending on the angle at which they are viewed.
The 2016 bicentenary of the invention of the chronograph in 1816, by Louis Moinet—the Compteur de Tierces is unanimously attested as the first chronograph in history.
“Red Eclipse expresses the very quintessence of our Memoris collection. Marking a very special event, with a limited edition of just twelve timepieces, and boasting top-level finishes, it is aimed at the most experienced collectors,” explains Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO of Ateliers Louis Moinet. What is more, the exceptional timepiece has qualified for the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix in the Chronograph category, and will be competing for the title to be awarded on November 10 next.
Memoris is the first educational chronograph in the history of watchmaking. The piece has been designed to be both technical and fun, displaying all the choreography of its chronograph on the dial side. The unique structure of Memoris provides time measurement and allows one to understand how it works, too. With a single gentle touch on the monopusher, a unique performance unfolds before your eyes: the mechanism of steel parts and gears comes to life, all coordinated by the column wheel at 12. The column wheel itself, with teeth at the base and vertical columns that have been precision cut, is the star of the show. The multiple facets of this symmetrical part bring to life the various levers that pass on information to the hands.
The chronograph is neither a skeleton nor an additional module, but rather, the all-new movement has been designed for and around it to the extent that Louis Moinet has opted to locate the automatic movement’s time mechanism to the rear of the piece, beneath the plate.
SIDERALIS—AN INSTELLAR INVERTED DOUBLE TOURBILLON
The Sideralis Tourbillon defies comparison, simply because to date this timepiece does not have any equivalent anywhere in the world of watchmaking, and is protected by two patent applications.
The tourbillons are oversized with cages measuring 14.9 mm, half as big again as the average. This is the largest assembly of two tourbillons ever to exist.
The two tourbillons are designed to be physically above the dial. The two raised cages are large and wholly visible, revealing balance wheels with beautifully styled screws and an absolutely incomparable aesthetic appearance.
The tourbillons rotate in opposite directions. The continuous coming and going, side by side, is not just for stylistic reasons—the counter-rotation provides the motive power required for the star mechanism, the Sideralis complication.
For the first time, a complication is driven by a double tourbillon—a time dial, situated at 12, comprising two discs, one atop the other. The top one features a tiny hand-painted picture. This hand-crafted marvel depicts the universe and its constellations of stars and planets, painted one by one on a dark blue sidereal background. The animation completes one counter-clockwise rotation every 60 seconds.
At 12 o’clock on this upper disc there is a circular opening, through which can be glimpsed the three planets painted on the lower disc, seen to be rotating in the opposite direction at the same speed. The feature represents a wholly new conceptual and artistic approach.
Through the opening, the lower disc reveals the planet Mars, the Moon, and Mercury in succession. These three bodies have not been chosen at random. Each of the micro-paintings includes genuine dust from the heavenly body in question—a fragment of Mars, moon dust and extremely rare fragments of the Rosetta Stone whose scientific name is Sahara 99555. This stone travelled across our solar system to reach us. It’s the oldest known to mankind believed by the scientific community to have come from Mercury and to be four and half billion years old. Fragments of meteorites from Mars, the Moon and Sahara 99555 also appear on the lower disc, positioned between the planets, floating in the cosmos, or included in a hand-painted shooting star.
The inverted double tourbillon, powering an exclusive complication, is an unprecedented innovation, with two patents pending to protect it. The Sideralis caliber is also fully exclusive to Louis Moinet, mounted on a hand-painted aventurine dial that matches the universe depicted on the time disc. Sideralis comes in a 47.4 mm grey gold case and in a limited edition of just 28 watches.
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