Category: Louis Moinet Watches
Louis Moinet 20-Second Tempograph
This detailed review of the Louis Moinet 20-second Tempograph contains live images, specification details and pricing. My first encounter with the Swiss brand Louis Moinet was earlier this year, when the company presented the Compteur de Tierces to a small group of invited journalists. This timepiece was the first chronograph ever produced, dating back to 1816. It features a super fast frequency of 216,000 vph (30 Hz), representing a mind-boggling technical feat. Indeed, some two hundred years later, only a few other maisons have matched the dizzying alacrity of the central chronograph seconds hand. Quite simply, I would liken it to the McLaren P1 cruising at speeds of over 200mph when everyone else is chugging along in Ford Model Ts. This historical chronograph has a modernity befitting the 20th century.
Recently, whilst touring Neuchatel, I grasped the opportunity to visit Les Ateliers Louis Moinet in Saint-Blaise. I was hungry to learn more about this illustrious name and, within moments of my arrival, I was overwhelmed by the sight of several mouthwatering creations placed in front of me.
Louis Moinet specialises in creating limited series timepieces that capture the aesthetic prowess of the 19th century watches produced by the great man, but tailored to suit a modern-day audience. Despite the re-emergence of the Louis Moinet name some 15 years ago, the company has already secured five Red Dot design awards, a record which, I am sure, will evoke envy in many rival brands.
In 2011, the Louis Moinet 20-second Tempograph , with its 10-second retrograde display, won the Red Dot design award. The model has a technically exciting movement and a sumptuous dial design. Now, the Swiss firm has released a brand new Louis Moinet 20-second Tempograph and its beguiling beauty demands discussion. Indeed, within moments of seeing it, I fell for its abundant charms.
The Louis Moinet 20-second Tempograph is a available with a choice of three case variants, grade 5 titanium, 18-carat rose gold or 18-carat white gold, with each version limited to a mere 60 pieces. All the models feature a white off-centre hour and minutes display, positioned in the south-easterly area of the dial.
The Louis Moinet 20-second Tempograph has a diameter of 43.50mm and case height of 15.60mm. Yet, despite its substantial dimensions, it feels comfortable in its skin, never appearing unduly large. Moreover, the scale of the case allows sufficient room for each element of the aforementioned dial display to breathe in stylish splendour.
I expend much energy searching for timepieces which justify comment. Regular readers of ESCAPEMENT will note that I have eclectic tastes and review watches from the accessible and meritorious to those models which are priced at altitudinously high levels. However, all watches I review on ESCAPEMENT are, to my mind, worthy watches, deserving of praise. The Louis Moinet 20-second Tempograph proves to be no exception, for it is a stunning watch, blessed with sublime styling, an interesting seconds display and a notable quotient of ingenuity.
Today’s Louis Moinet 20-second Tempograph are a worthy legacy to a great watchmaker of the 19th century and under the aegis of Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO Les Ateliers Louis Moinet, the company’s future looks very bright indeed.
With an array of models that readily tempt me to consider acquisition, I can assure readers that the 20-second Tempograph won’t be the last Louis Moinet timepiece I review on ESCAPEMENT. Indeed, I have fallen for the immense fluidity and grace of several Louis Moinet timepieces, succumbing to their near balletic poise and the immense beauty of its artful designs.
Louis MoinetDerrick Gaz
Swiss luxury watch atelier Louis Moinet is continuing to plough the same creative furrow by unveiling Derrick Gaz, a brand new complication timepiece that incorporates high precision techniques, traditional watchmaking art and the great tradition of automatons. The piece is intended to be both technical and fun. Based on an attentive observation of the traditional gas extraction systems of the nineteenth century, it is fitted with an expansive tourbillon, one of Louis Moinet Derrick Gaz distinctive hallmarks.
The gas derrick rises up majestically on the left-hand side of the timepiece. This large openwork structure is made from 18-carat gold, a perfect reproduction in every detail of the derricks dedicated to underground exploration. Similarly, in the middle there is a replica of a drill – an endless screw that is also in endless movement on the Derrick Gaz, rotating about its axis once every 2.5 seconds. And so the gas begins its journey along the pipeline, symbolized by the Tourbillon Bridge, suitably curved in exactly the right tubular shape to maintain the distinctive aesthetic appearance of the timepiece. The same type of bridge is also to be found beneath the regulator system for the hours and minutes.
The gas pipeline leads to the valve handle. Obviously, this is what controls the flow of fuel on a real-life gas network. With the same desire for consistency, Louis Moinet has connected it directly to the crown: when the timepiece is wound by hand, the valve handle turns too, as if it were regulating the supply of energy to the Derrick Gaz.
The pipeline continues its path to a white dial: the gas derrick’s manometer serves as the Power Reserve indicator for the Derrick Gaz. Everything on it – down to the tiniest details, including the shape, type, proportions and design of the hand –is a faithful reproduction of the real manometers to be found on gas networks. The journey comes to a natural close at 3 o’clock, where the gas is stored in a tank made from fully polished 316L steel.
The Derrick Gaz will feature many of Louis Moinet’s distinctive style marks: luminous Dewdrop hands, a 255-part Louis Moinet LM42 movement decorated with wave-pattern Geneva Stripes, sunray brushing and pearling, a Fleur-de-Lys applique, and a patented 47mm Louis Moinet case. The dial will also be decorated with a coloured, lacquered Clou de Paris concentric pattern – a first in Louis Moinet collections.
The timepiece boasts a three-day power reserve and will be available in two exclusive limited editions of 28 pieces each, in 5N 18-carat rose gold with a black dial, and PD150 18-carat white gold with a blue dial.
The New Derrick by Louis Moinet Derrick Gaz is yet another timepiece from the high-end watch brand equipped with an automaton. This latest model eschews the tourbillon seen on its older siblings, providing more room for the headline act to showcase its talents. Angus Davies looks closely at this fascinating timepiece conceived by the super-creative Jean-Marie Schaller and his talented team.
Louis Moinet Metropolis Magic
Presented in 2022, Metropolis timepiece is the one and only creation by Louis Moinet to feature Roman numeral hour markers. Their design is directly based on the design created by Louis Moinet himself for his Compteur de Tierces – the first certified chronograph in history, completed in 1816 and now preserved in the Louis Moinet Museum. Now, the luxury watch atelier presents a Louis Moinet Metropolis Magic Green edition of this watch.
The Louis Moinet Metropolis Magic Green colour gives the Metropolis a new splendour, highlighting its modernistic inspiration. The timepiece blends the visionary talent of the inventor of the chronograph and high-frequency horology with a profoundly architectural work.
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. Light dances off each hour marker’s three differently-shaped faces. Each side sports a diamond-cut, satin-finish section that reflects light deep into the dial, setting the timepiece sparkling with life. The colour contrast is enhanced by the white lacquer coating on each hour marker.
The hour markers themselves are suspended in mid-air, adding a further sense of depth. In a rare feat of craftsmanship, each marker is linked to a black central ring and a flange made from neoralithe, an innovative material chosen by Louis Moinet for its purity.
The Louis Moinet Metropolis Magic Green LM45 caliber, boasting a 48-hour power reserve, was designed and assembled in accordance with the firm’s most stringent chronometric requirements, and bears the Louis Moinet hallmarks that embody the firm’s values: a fleur de lys, recalling the unique history of the original creator, two keys symbolising creative watchmaking, a lion representing art and design, and a star, denoting rarity.
The dial features the second openwork aspect of the Metropolis: located between 8 o’clock and 12 o’clock, this reveals each and every beat of its exclusive caliber. The escapement (generating 28,800 vibrations per hour) and the offset seconds hand are displayed in all their glory – and carefully arranged to ensure an unobstructed view of every detail of the Metropolis’ workings.
The movement’s finishes embody all the noble traditions of fine watchmaking: 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 also 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 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 hold 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 Louis Moinet’s characteristic Fleur de Lys symbol.
Louis Moinet Skylink
Louis Moinet celebrates the Apollo-Soyuz mission that changed the face of the world with a timepiece called Skylink, recalling the link that was quietly forged between two men, each representing their nations, in the depths of space.
The Louis Moinet Skylink dial depicts this sidereal expanse. A graphic process that is exclusive to Louis Moinet allows the creation of colours reminiscent of a nebula – a collection of interstellar dust and gases of infinite hues. Two of Louis Moinet’s hallmark “dewdrop” hands glide over this composition. The raised three-dimensional hour markers reaching out across this dial give the piece a real sense of depth – an architectural aspect that further enhances their very special finish. Their sides feature a diamond-cut, satin-finish section that reflects light deep, deep into the dial, setting the timepiece sparkling with life. The colour contrast is enhanced by each hour marker being lacquer-coated. The seconds are marked off on their counter at 9 o’clock; subtle changes in its hue, from dark blue through to purple, can be seen as light strikes its fine metallised coating.
At 3 o’clock sits a special, exclusive Louis Moinet Skylink feature: a micro capsule containing, for all eternity, a fragment of Kapton foil – the polyamide fabric which protected Apollo on its return to Earth on July 24, 1975 – together with fibres from the Russian Sokol-K spacesuit. Used for the first time on Soyuz 12 in 1973, the same model is still in use today. Louis Moinet’s capsule establishes a physical link connecting the adventure of 43 years ago, space itself, the astronomy from which watchmaking originally derived, and each of the owners of the watches in this unique collection.
This very limited edition of 19 white gold, 19 rose gold and 75 steel Louis Moinet Skylink watches comes on a dark blue or black strap. The numbers are a tribute to 1975 – the year of the Apollo-Soyuz mission. The dial of each piece bears an authentic reproduction of Alexey Leonov’s signature.
Louis Moinet Time to Race Racing
Ready, Steady, Go! Watch now the Louis Moinet Time to Race Racing product presentation by Jean-Marie Schaller – CEO Louis Moinet.
TIME TO RACE is a set of one-of-a-kind creations reflecting a resolutely competitive spirit. 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, Green Racing or “Bleu de France”.
The dial side reveals the splendid chronograph mechanism, fully visible and highlighted in a whole new way, with the strongly domed crystal showcasing it even more fully.
Swiss luxury watch brand Louis Moinet presents Louis Moinet Time to Race , a series of mechanical chronographs embodying the beauty of motorsports.
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 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).
Louis Moinet Mars
Louis Moinet (1768-1853) was born in Bourges, France. He had a passion for art and horology. He spent his formative years in Rome and, subsequently, Florence. Moinet studied architecture, painting and sculpture and thereafter, moved to Paris to assume the role of Professor of Fine Arts at the world renowned Louvre.
Surprisingly, despite spending much time on his artistic pursuits, Louis Moinet Mars simultaneously studied watchmaking. He trained under a master watchmaker, regularly visiting Switzerland, always eager to acquire greater knowledge of horology.
During his time at the Louvre he socialised with other talented individuals from the fields of astronomy and automata. He met Breguet and Houriet and spent long periods in the Swiss watchmaking enclave of the Vallée de Joux.
Over the years, Louis Moinet created clocks for several prestigious clients, including Napoleon, King George IV, Tsar Alexander and Thomas Jefferson, to name but a few. In addition, his mechanical prowess led Moinet to make highly precise instruments for astronomical observation and maritime use.
The ‘Compteur de Tierces’ was invented in 1816 and was the world’s first chronograph (verified by the Guinness World Records). The balance within this highly precise chronograph had a frequency of 216,000 VpH (30Hz), a dizzying cadence seldom seen equalled today. Moinet created his ground-breaking chronograph to measure the passage of stars, planets and moons.
Today, the eponymous watch brand, Louis Moinet Mars , is deftly managed by its CEO and Creative Director, Jean-Marie Schaller. With extensive experience working in the watch industry, a love of painting and a keen interest in astronomy, Schaller seems the ideal person to perpetuate Louis Moinet’s name.
Indeed, it is Schaller’s predilection for astronomy which has led to the creation of numerous space-themed timepieces, such as the Skylink and the Spacewalker. The Swiss firm has also produced several watches endowed with distinctive meteorite dials, reinforcing the company’s reputation for original design.
In his work, ‘Around the Moon’, Jules Verne articulated the notion of travelling to the moon. Surprisingly, despite writing his text 100 years prior Neil Armstrong’s first small step, Verne imagined a launch site in Florida and rockets splashing down in the sea after completing a lunar orbit.
The Louis Moinet Moon features a capsule at 3 o’clock containing a genuine lunar meteorite fragment. In addition, the brass dial incorporates a three dimensional depiction of the moon’s surface. The watch is presented in a case which mimics the appearance of the first edition of ‘Around the Moon’. The presentation case includes a punched section, resembling a lunar crater, containing a second fragment of lunar meteorite.
‘The Mars’ shares the same 43.2mm ‘Neo’ case design and incorporates an identical Calibre LM45 movement, save for the colour of the oscillating weight which echoes the copper hue of the dial. Where the Mars differs from its lunar-based sibling is with its dial design. The dial features an intricate texture, bestowing a stunning Martian vista. Personally, I prefer the rich tones of the Louis Moinet Mars and, to this end, I felt compelled to explore its composition in detail.
I suspect if Louis Moinet Mars was alive today he would like Jean-Marie Schaller. Like Moinet, Schaller is an unassuming gentleman, sharing similar interests to his hero. Indeed, Schaller is an aesthete with an overriding passion for astronomy. The Louis Moinet Mars embodies everything Schaller holds dear.
The intricately textured dial surface, incorporating several Martian mountains, termed ‘Mons’ is incredible. The fragment of Mars meteorite represents another flourish of ingenuity.
Another key attribute of the Louis Moinet Mars relates to its Neo case. I have seen this housing on previous Louis Moinet models and yet, despite this familiarity, it still appears fresh and new. The open sections near the lugs and the curved caseband, juxtaposed with comparatively straight bridge sections, bestow a handsome appearance.
Man has always pondered, ‘Is there life on mars?’ I suspect the answer to this question will remain unanswered for some time to come. In the interim period, astronomy will continue to proffer enchantment and a stimulus to those with a capacity to dream, a talent very familiar to Jean-Marie Schaller.
Louis Moinet Moon
The Louis Moinet Moon Race is a set of four, one-of-a-kind watches that depict four significant lunar conquests. The watches are enriched with various artistic crafts and each timepiece is equipped with a hand-wound tourbillon, the Calibre LM35. Once again, Louis Moinet has shown its incredible creativity, while demonstrating its continued fondness for space exploration and celestial objects.
John F. Kennedy famously said. “Some men see things as they are and ask, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?” This perfectly illustrates how some individuals view life, or the world in which we live, differently from their contemporaries.
When I look at the moon I view it as a useful means of illumination on a dark night or an attractive backdrop to a romantic beachside encounter. Jean-Marie Schaller, the CEO and Creative Director of Louis Moinet, views the moon, in fact the universe as a whole, from an alternative angle.
Schaller is fascinated with objects from space clearly admires those men and women who have courageously journeyed to the moon. If you listen to him talk about space travel, astronomy and meteorites you will discover he possesses an encyclopaedic knowledge on such subjects. His fascination for celestial objects and phenomena has led him to create several watches inspired by Mars, the Moon, space travel, Russian cosmonauts, stars and much more.
At Watches & Wonders, the esteemed Swiss brand, Louis Moinet, known for its incredible creativity unveiled a set of four, one-of-a-kind watches with each one depicting a specific lunar conquest.
The first watch in the Louis Moinet Moon Race series represents the first space probe landing on the moon (1966). Its dial features a hand-engraved depiction of the moon, aventurine glass and miniature painting, while the bezel also encompasses hand-engraving.
For the second model, Louis Moinet returns to the momentous events of 1969 when Apollo 11 ventured into space and Neil Armstrong took his first tentative steps upon the moon’s surface. This giant leap for mankind is depicted with a breathtaking lunar scene. The appearance of the astronaut’s spacesuit is portrayed with hand engraving while the helmet’s visor is made from an authentic fragment of polyimide film. This latter material protected the spacecraft from incredible heat when it re-entered the earth’s atmosphere. It is eye-wateringly expensive to buy. Once again, Louis Moinet has employed the artisanal talents of a specialist engraver to decorate the bezel by hand.
The third timepiece focuses on the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission (1970) which suffered an explosion in one of its oxygen tanks when heading for the moon, crippling the spacecraft. Its lunar landing was aborted and the seven-man crew had to circumnavigate around the moon before they could return to earth. Agate, granite, polymide film, onyx, blue Pietersite from Namibia and black astralite are combined to form a harmonious scene, while the bezel is hand-engraved enriching its surface with becoming depths and texture.
The last episode in this tetralogy is the ‘Last on the Moon’ (1976), an artistic representation of the Luna 24 probe landing on the Moon in the unexplored region of Mare Crisium. This probe collected 170 grams of lunar soil samples, used to determine the existence of water on the moon. The probe is depicted on the dial which encompasses a real piece of Luna 24 (resin-coated braided fibre), azurite-malachite, yellow Pietersite and black aventurine. Consistent with its lunar-themed siblings, the watch is endowed with a hand-engraved bezel.
Each member of the Louis Moinet Moon Race collection is housed in a 47mm gold case and is equipped with the Calibre LM35 hand-wound tourbillon movement. This movement was awarded ‘first prize in the International Chronometry Competition’. Furthermore, the four watches are supplied in an impressive trunk made of elm burr wood, adorned with the brand’s logo and fitted with two cognac-coloured straps.
There are some brands that play it safe, conforming to watchmaking’s accepted norms, and there are others that don’t. Clearly, Louis Moinet embraces the latter philosophy and with these latest timepieces, Jean-Marie Schaller has, once again, looked to the heavens and asked, ‘Why not?’
Louis Moinet Tempograph Chrome
Louis Moinet unveils its second-generation Tempograph 20-Secondes
The success of the Tempograph 20-Secondes is no doubt due to the fact that it’s the embodiment of all Louis Moinet’s values. For one thing, it consists of a series of very limited editions and unique pieces that many collectors have patiently sought to acquire. Then too, it is a timepiece that boasts technology and aesthetics in equal measure – a balance that is clearly visible on the dial. And lastly, the piece features an exclusive animation, epitomising the creative aspirations with which Ateliers Louis Moinet Tempograph Chrome has always been imbued. The 20-second retrograde hand is powered by workings that are visible on the left side of the dial.
The new-generation Louis Moinet Tempograph Chrome 20-Secondes includes two major firsts. It features a completely black surround. This extends from the bridges that structure the movement to the flange, itself engraved with a concentric Clou de Paris pattern. The time dial is located at 4 o’clock; it too is decorated with the concentric Clou de Paris pattern, a Louis Moinet hallmark. Fully lacquered in black, it sets off the Louis Moinet’s signature “Dewdrop” hands perfectly.
The timepiece also features a new case, borrowed from Louis Moinet’s Memoris collection, the first chronograph watch in history. Packed with 52 components, the case has been decreased in size from 46 to 44 millimetres, and then fully reworked to accommodate the Tempograph 20-Secondes’ retrograde movement. This is also the first time this prestigious case has been made in steel.
These two changes mark a turning-point in the Tempograph saga, so much so that Louis Moinet sees this as constituting the second generation of the timepiece. More modern, more powerful, and even more characterful, the piece is now entering a new, more contemporary era.
The success of the 20-Second Louis Moinet Tempograph Chrome is no doubt due to the fact that it’s the embodiment of all Louis Moinet’s values. For one thing, it consists of a series of very limited editions and unique pieces that many collectors have patiently sought to acquire. Then too, it is a timepiece that boasts technology and aesthetics in equal measure – a balance that is clearly visible on the dial. And lastly, the piece features an exclusive animation, epitomising the creative aspirations with which Ateliers Louis Moinet has always been imbued. The 20-second retrograde hand is powered by workings that are visible on the left side of the dial.
Louis Moinet Memoris 200th Anniversary Chronograph
Louis Moinet celebrates 200 years of the invention of the chronograph with a new single button chronograph. We examine and deconstruct this watch, and give you our hands-on analysis of the Louis Moinet Memoris 200th Anniversary Chronograph .
In Baselworld 2022, we attended a private showing where Louis Moinet made the shocking announcement that their namesake is the inventor of the chronograph in 1816. Well, they made the claim the year before, but in 2014, they brought the actual watch into the little booth to show. We looked at the watch, saw it working but did not get the opportunity to examine it. Understandably, this is a very old piece, and its historical importance demands respect.
The Louis Moinet Memoris 200th Anniversary Chronograph watch, and claim pre-dates Nicholas Riussec’s clock of 1821, and Joseph-Taddius Winnerl’s watch of 1831 by quite a comfortable margin. And they showed a pocket watch, with some quite amazing features. Called the “compteur de tierces” by Moinet, it bears hallmarks on the case which indicates that work began in 1815 and was completed in 1816 by Louis Moinet, a contemporary to A. L. Breguet.
The chronograph is quite amazing not only for claim to the dates, but also in the features. The dial shows a 60 minute counter on the top left, and a 60 seconds counter on the top right, and a 24 hour counter at 6 o’clock. A long sweep hand makes one revolution each second with marks to measure up to 1/60th of a second takes center stage. The watch has two buttons for start/stop (at 12 o’clock) and reset (at 11 o’clock). Start/stop/reset was a novel idea in 1816.
Reportedly the power reserve is approximately 30 hours and the watch is equipped with a power reserve indicator. The movement runs at a rather incredible 216,000 bph. (In comparison, the Zenith El Primero, which is considered a high beat movement today runs at 36,000 bph). The power reserve is not tested in order to avoid damaging the movement.
The Louis Moinet brand was created by Jean-Marie Schaller who is CEO and Creative Director. Schaller bought the original Moinet chronograph in an auction (Christies Sale 1388, Lot 236 May 14, 2012) , and decided to revive the brand. The brand now operates out of St. Blaise in Switzerland. They currently have their own design and engineering team, but work with partners for the manufacture of the watches.
The Memoris is without a doubt a chronograph, even at first glance. The layout of the dial tells this in no uncertain manner. The hour and minute dial is reduced to a sub-dial at 6 o’clock, and the main real estate on the dial is occupied by the centrally mounted chronograph hand and two chronograph counters, with the top half showing the chronograph works in full view. The column wheel takes center stage and is situated at 12 o’clock.
We find the Louis Moinet Memoris 200th Anniversary Chronograph to be a bit of a conundrum. It tries very hard, wears its heart on its sleeves (turning the chronograph dial side to expose its innermost secrets). And we respect that.
The case is magnificent. Detailing abound. The aesthetics are like an old school meets new world. Kind of like the science fiction movies’ view of the future. Perhaps Steampunk is not the right description, but it is certainly a word which has come to mind. The amazing detail of attaching the bands to the lugs via zircons held in chatons by screws is a case in point. The execution is flawless. But the detailing has little practical value, and other than the kind of aesthetic it aims to communicate. And make no mistake. This is a beautiful timepiece. A magnificent effort by a small and very young company, the historical connection notwithstanding. And certainly, when viewed as a modern chronograph, we have little criticism, and can wholeheartedly recommend it to friends.
Louis Moinet Memoris Red Eclipse
The new version of Louis Moinet Memoris Red Eclipse has the same distinctive characteristic as the earlier models: making the chronograph the primary function of the timepiece, instead of just a complication. After three years of developments, Ateliers Louis Moinet took a completely different approach to watchmaking, rather than attempting merely to improve on an existing model.
Memoris shifts the whole of the chronograph function to the dial, structuring it around three guiding principles: locating the chronograph centre 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 Louis Moinet Memoris Red Eclipse chronograph’s action can be observed in its entirety by activating the pusher. The column wheel orchestrates the mechanism of steel and gears, passing information to the hands. The chronograph reigns in splendid isolation on the dial, leaving the beholder in no doubt that it is neither a skeleton nor an additional component: the all-new movement has been designed for and around the chronograph. Louis Moinet has also 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 automatic pawl winding system featuring an elegant spring with a ‘crab claw’ design. 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.
On the dial, Memoris’ starry base consists of a brass plate coated in a translucent blue. The stars have been created using an entirely new fixed graver process. Devised by one of Louis Moinet’s craftsmen, it involves attaching a specially-made lathe to a traditional rose engine (also known as a guillocheuse).
The idea is to combine the power of the rose engine with the precision of a handheld graver. The result differs from that produced by milling or stamping: while it resembles the effect traditionally associated with a guillocheuse inasmuch as material is removed, here this is focused on a tiny area with varying levels of depth – two characteristics that traditional engine turning seeks to avoid at all costs.
What is more, individual stars are all fashioned to feature different angles and depths, so that each and every one captures as much light as possible. The process used is unprecedented in watchmaking – and the result gives the novel impression of stars that really are shining.
The Louis Moinet Memoris Red Eclipse rose gold case is also 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.