Category: Louis Moinet Watches
Mexico City’s Salon Internacional Alta Relojería (SIAR) is Latin America’s most important annual watch fair. As such, this major horological event has become an opportunity for brands to release special editions celebrating Mexico and its culture. Among the watches presented in 2019 are two Louis Moinet pieces, the “Only Mexico” and “Louis Moinet Metropolis Mexico”.
Only Mexico is a unique piece celebrating Mexico’s culture and history, in particular, its Aztec heritage. Animated by the ballet of a tourbillon, its richly engraved dial is inspired by the Piedra del Sol, one of the most celebrated Aztec sculptures. Exhibited in the museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, this Sun Stone monolith provides a representation of the Aztec cosmic worldview.
The engraved openwork pattern contrasts with a black background that is made from Allende meteorite. One of the most “studied” meteorites in history and the largest ever found on Earth, the Allende meteorite fell as a shower of stones after breaking up in the atmosphere neat the village of Pueblito de Allende in Chihuahua, in 1969. It is classified as a carbonaceous chondrite, the most primitive of meteorites and contains some of the oldest known matter, estimated to be 4.567 billion years old.
The centre of the dial is made from Toluca Meteorite, an iron meteorite found near the eponymous city, that has been treated in blue. Measuring 45.4mm in diameter, the 18k pink gold case features open-worked lugs and the brand’s signature six-screw bezel. It is extensively hand-engraved with pre-Colombian patterns (masterfully executed by Boris Nemitz). The crown is adorned with the brand’s fleur de lys logo.
This unique piece is powered by the calibre LM35 regulated by a one-minute tourbillon. With a 3Hz frequency and 72 hours of power reserve, this hand-wound movement is visible via the exhibition caseback. It comes in a white monochrome finish with circular Geneva stripes and with a cool ‘octopus’ spring, which is actually 3 springs in one: pull-out piece spring, lever spring and click spring. The watch is worn on an alligator leather strap with alligator lining. The gold folding clasp comes in the shape of a fleur de lys.
The second special edition presented at SIAR by Louis Moinet Metropolis Mexico is the Metropolis Mexico. This steel 12-piece limited edition stands out with its brown, open-worked dial. The Roman numeral hour markers are suspended in between two rings. It reveals parts of the movement and an intermediate plate engraved with a characteristic repetitive pattern. At 3 o’clock, a fragment of the Allende Meteorite is contained in a tiny capsule held in place by 4 screws.
The Louis Moinet Metropolis Mexico comes in the brand’s Neo case with open-worked lugs and six-screw bezel. Measuring 43.2mm in diameter, it is made wtih 316L stainless steel. Turning the watch over, the exhibition caseback reveals the automatic calibre LM45, a proprietary movement with 4Hz frequency and 48h power reserve. It is decorated with Geneva stripes, perlage, diamond-cut angles and a clous de Paris guilloché rotor. The brown alligator leather strap is fitted with a steel folding clasp.
The history of watchmaking was rewritten on May 14, 2012, at a Christie’s auction in Geneva. On that day, Jean-Marie had to fight tooth and nail to buy Louis Moinet Memoris Superlight Compteur de Tierces, despite its relatively low estimated worth of CHF 3,000-5,000. As a painstaking examination later proved, the piece turned out to be the world’s first ever chronograph, as certified by Guinness World Records.
Completed in 1816, this precision instrument was also the forerunner of high-frequency timekeeping, beating at 216,000 vibrations per hour. It measured sixtieths of a second, making it the most precise measuring instrument of any kind in its day.
The purpose of the chronograph?
Of all horological complications, the chronograph remains the most useful. In sport, it’s the final arbiter, determining which driver has done the fastest lap, which athlete has broken the 100 metres world record, and so on. There are chronograph applications virtually everywhere – measuring everything from a patient’s pulse to the speed of a moving object.
A spectacular, contemporary design
The originality of Memoris resides in the separation of the chronograph (with its 147 components) from the automatic mechanism (155 components). For the first time ever, the entire chronograph has been positioned at the top of the watch, with the automatic part located beneath the plate.
The column wheel – the heart and soul of Memoris
The Memoris column wheel takes pride of place on the front of the watch, at 12 o’clock. This component coordinates the chronograph functions with the minutes hammer, blocking lever, and clutch.
The universal monopusher
Of all complications, the chronograph offers the most opportunities for the wearer to interact with their watch.
Memoris is a visual delight, too. With a single gentle touch on the monopusher, a unique performance unfolds before your eyes. All of the components of the chronograph – yokes, clutch, hammers, column wheel, springs and wheels – are set in motion, responding to each other as they serve their ultimate purpose: measuring a specific time.
It’s worth noting that in spite of their extreme complexity, all these operations are managed by a single monopusher, controlling all three chronograph functions.
An exceptional case
Memoris offers a whole new look. Its curved 46-millimetre case features a unique waterproofing system. Emblazoned with the Louis Moinet signature, its lugs boast four black zircons and screwed settings. Another elegant and subtle detail: the two chevé concave sapphire crystals.
The case, fashioned in grade 5 titanium, has a polished, satin-effect finish. Non-corrosive titanium allows for the manufacture of slim, lightweight components; here, the case weighs less than 31 grammes, making it especially comfortable on the wrist.
Ateliers Louis Moinet Memoris Superlight was founded in Saint-Blaise, Neuchâtel, in 2004. The fully independent firm was established to honour the memory of Louis Moinet (1768-1853): master watchmaker, inventor of the chronograph in 1816 (certified by Guinness World Records), 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 the Traité d’Horlogerie, a watchmaking treatise published in 1848 that remained a definitive work of reference for a century.
Today, Ateliers Louis Moinet Memoris Superlight is perpetuating this legacy. The firm’s mechanical timepieces are produced as one-of-a-kind models or limited editions only and comprise two categories: “Cosmic Art” and “Mechanical Wonders”. Louis Moinet creations often make use of unusual and rare components, such as extraterrestrial meteorites or prehistorical materials. The brand’s core values are creativity, exclusivity, art and design. This uniquely creative mechanical approach combined with bespoke fine watchmaking has enabled Louis Moinet to win some of the most coveted honours around the world, including a UNESCO Award of Merit, six Red Dot Design Awards (including one Best of the Best Award), a Horological Creativity Contribution Award, gold and bronze medals in the International Chronometry Competition, ten Good Design Awards, three Middle East Watch of the Year Awards, two Robb Report “Best of the Best” Awards, three German Design Awards, a Moscow Grand Prix Award, and a “Chronograph of the year” distinction from Begin Magazine, Japan.
Less is more. These are words you wouldn’t necessarily attribute to Louis Moinet CEO Jean-Marie Schaller. You can find him in the dictionary under “exuberant”, but not just him. You will also find a reference to his watch creations. Since 2003 — the year Schaller founded Les Ateliers Louis Moinet SA — he has tried to stretch the definition of exuberant to its very limits. But now, come 2022, Schaller is downsizing a watch to create the opposite effect. The titanium Louis Moinet Memoris Spirit (LM-84.50.20) shrunk from 46mm to a moderate 40.7mm, but it outshines its bigger predecessor with ease. I recently enjoyed a rapid hands-on with this watch that will have a long-lasting effect on me.
How do you squeeze a 302-component movement that originally belongs in a roomy 46mm case into a cramped 40.7mm space without losing any of its micromechanical impact? That’s a tough one. But actually, Jean-Marie Schaller asked even more from his team. Not only did he want to shrink it, but he also paradoxically wanted to make a bigger impact with a smaller watch. And in the end, the people at Louis Moinet made it work. The Memoris Spirit is a relatively small watch that leaves a big impression — the kind you only get when a watch is greater than the sum of its parts.
The caliber Louis Moinet Memoris Spirit LM84 is a 4Hz automatic mono-pusher chronograph movement. It delivers 48 hours of power reserve and consists of 302 parts. Does that last three-digit number mean anything to you? Can you visualize 302 components? Is 302 really a lot? Just a look at the Louis Moinet Memoris Spirit instantly answers that question. Yes, 302 parts is a lot. And the way they are on display in the watch makes that overwhelmingly clear.
I have to give credit to not only the watchmakers at Louis Moinet for constructing a fabulous movement but also to designer Fabrice Gonet and case-making artisan Bertrand Crevoisier. Their ideas bring out the best in the caliber LM84, a movement developed together with Concepto that feels smooth and precise when you operate the large, stopwatch-style pusher at 2 o’clock. Light is the amplifier that brings the whole watch to life. The intensely domed crystal, with a flange that allows a bit of side action too, opens the watch to the light and thus to the eye. And what you see is a movement with traditional watchmaking shapes, elements, and parts that are beautifully finished.
The insides of the Louis Moinet Memoris Spirit exist for everyone to see and to capture the eye. But it’s the interaction with the dial elements and the case that really make this happen. The case and crystal have strong aerodynamic qualities. I wouldn’t call it sleek, but definitely streamlined and smooth. It’s even fluid when you look at the crown protection. The open-worked lugs, which show a satin-brushed curve on top, have a contemporary, even technical appearance.
The fact that Grade 5 titanium is the building material of choice also has something to do with that. It results in a case that weighs just 18 grams. Also, titanium looks more modern and technical than steel. But because of the shapes, finishing, and the other elements of the Memoris Spirt, the moderately sized chronograph smoothly navigates between styles. The superb-quality leather strap is nicely integrated into the case and closes with a solid folding clasp adorned with a Fleur de Lis. This setup combined with the lightweight construction of the case guarantees an excellent feel on the wrist.
Finally, we come around to the dial. The small yet legible and convex two-part dial displays its sunburst decoration as it sits at 6 o’clock. You can have it in either two shades of blue, in green, or in black/dark gray (that last one kind of depends on the light, as is common with sun-brushed dials). Matching the dial is a sunburst chronograph plate that lightens up the chronograph mechanism — levers, clutch, hammers, column wheel, springs, and wheels — and adds a splash of color. The sapphire sub-dials for the small seconds and minute counter are transparent. These seemingly floating registers play second fiddle, but they are still essential for the composition.
I was blown away by the insane creativity and technical ingenuity that led to Louis Moinet’s galactic Space Revolution. But even in my wildest dreams, I wouldn’t be able to wear it regularly — never mind the fact that a masterpiece like that is never anyone’s daily wearer. The titanium Louis Moinet Memoris Spirit , however, could be just that, thanks to its size, comfort, and looks. And just like the Space Revolution, this new chronograph leans heavily on the generous use of sapphire crystal to open itself to the beholder. The Space Revolution is a 3D mega-spectacle, whereas the Memoris Spirit is a more modest but equally captivating watchmaking story on a smaller stage. It’s a more intimate watch — stunning, yet not overwhelming. Each version is limited to 60 pieces with a price of CHF 29,500. Of the different versions of the titanium Louis Moinet Memoris Spirit available, the simplest one, without a colored dial and chronograph plate, is my favorite. The three red hands provide all the color I need to get hypnotized by the watch. What do you think? Blue to match your denim shirt? Or green to match the color of your eyes? And I’ve got another question for you — what about a warm orange color? I definitely can envision an orange titanium Louis Moinet Memoris Spirit.
Swiss luxury watch brand Louis Moinet presents Louis Moinet Time to Race, a series of mechanical chronographs embodying the beauty of motorsports.
Louis Moinet Time to Race is not a limited series, but a set of one-of-a-kind creation. Collectors will indeed be able to personalise their model by selecting a one or two-digit “lucky number” that will appear on the front of the timepiece, along with a dedicated colour code: Rosso Corsa, Racing Green or French blue.
These colours have been specifically selected because they embody the most legendary cars in motorsports. To ensure clearer vehicle identification, national colours were assigned in motor racing until the end of the 1960s. This tradition remains present today in the collective imagination, as the tradition has endured. Thus, a red car brings to mind Italy, a green one England and a blue one France… The aerodynamic quest embodied in the design of Louis Moinet Time to Race has defined a style reflecting a resolutely competitive spirit.
Its glare-proofed sapphire crystal features an imposing curvature serving to enable uncompromising appreciation of the column-wheel mechanism. This ingenious and original design has given rise to a new type of inner bezel ring, dissociated from the crystal. It also makes it possible to combine two different readings of short-time measurements: a tachymeter scale and a 60-second display. The creation of this bi-material inner bezel ring is complex and owes its brilliance to the intensity of the colour present in its first quarter, made from an avant-garde material. Its bold character is further emphasised by a luminous transfer of the measurement indications designed to enable readability in the dark.
Finally, the inner bezel ring frames a woven carbon fibre mainplate highlighting the 147 components of the chronograph mechanism. It also provides the reading contrast that is so useful during chronograph operations, indicated by the large coloured hand and one of the two smoke-coloured counters. The hours and minutes are read off a subdial at 6 o’clock. This central design element bears the wearer’s “Lucky Number”, painted in black on a white background with a glossy polished finish, and surrounded by a metal ring reminiscent of the bores used in racing cars.
Its case weighs only 18 grams, cut from grade 5 titanium, then polished and satin-brushed. It evokes the quest for minimum weight that means more comfort and a more seamless fit on the wrist, further enhanced by a strap specially designed to be a perfect extension of the case. The lines of the case are fluid and taut. The sides feature a new crown base. The lugs are open-worked and feature a subtle satin-brushed camber that highlights the integration of the bracelet. They are tipped with the emblematic Louis Moinet signature in the shape of four black zircons with chatons held by screws.
One smooth press on the single pusher activates the chronograph mechanism and its unique choreography can be admired on the dial side. The various elements – levers, clutch, hammers, column wheel, springs and wheels – are set into motion and interact with the ultimate goal of activating the chronograph and measuring time. The modern and spectacular design of Louis Moinet Time to Race requires the production of 147 components for the upper part dedicated to the chronograph and 155 components for the lower part corresponding to the self-winding movement.
The design of TIME TO RACE is inspired by the world’s first chronograph produced by Louis Moinet in 1816, inventor of the chronograph and high frequency (Guinness World Records).