Some watch brands thrive on their past, and Louis Moinet could have very well been such a brand. The inventor of the world’s first chronograph could have used this fact to make homage after homage. Yet for brand-owner Jean-Marie Schaller, it is merely a departing point to achieve new heights.
Take that term “new heights” quite literal, as many watches in the Louis Moinet collection have their sights set on the heavens. For the brand, this is part of the niche in which they operate, and they combine this with a very distinct style. This style is actually hard to describe. They still sell a model named after science fiction pioneer Jules Verne, and the majority of their watches look indeed like they could have indeed been dreamed up by the French writer.
Of course, in many of their watches plays the chronograph a prominent role. How this has evolved can best be illustrated with the “Memoris Red Eclipse.” In hand engraved 18K gold case is a skeletonized mono-pusher chronograph movement captured. While the hour and minutes get a beautiful enamel dial, it is a sub-dial, as the chronograph function takes the most prominent place. It does this by being partially skeletonized, delighting the owner with a show of its inner workings as he/she operates the complication.
The chronograph gears and levers work against a blued background, with hand painted dots of luminova, which light up at night, making it as if you look at a starry night.
Also, the look of the back of the movement does not disappoint, and the brand’s elegant winding rotor is set with a red enamel insert as a reference to the red eclipse.
One of the other watches in which they set their sights to the heavens and its celestial bodies, is the new “Space Mystery.” These watches pay tribute to Louis Moinet the astronomer. A large flying tourbillon at twelve o’clock has a small planet attached to the other side as it is orbiting along with the one-minute tourbillon. This balances the tourbillon, which features an eye-catching upper bridge made of blued titanium.
Again, hours and minutes find their place in an off-center position. Louis Moinet has a tradition of finding rare materials, many of them coming from outer space, and incorporate them into their watches. The “Space Mystery” has part of a carbonaceous chondrites meteorite incorporated in the dial at nine o’clock. Unique about this meteorite is that it has organic material in them, among them amino acids from extraterrestrial origin. The side of the case also features inserts made from fragments of the Moon and Mars.
While Louis Moinet is in many ways a philosopher’s watch, the watchmaking tradition is paramount. Sometimes this is done in a classical way, regarding decoration for example, but when you take a look at the back of the “Space Mystery” and examine the intricate bridge constructions, you know that it doesn’t stop there. It becomes evident that Louis Moinet is a brand that has found its niche by first excelling in watchmaking itself.