You may not had the chance so far to see a Louis Moinet timepiece. Or art piece, as it should be called. That’s a fact, it’s a discreet, independent brand. Yet, its founder, nothing less than the inventor of the chronograph. The brand was completely rebuilt from its foundation a few years ago. In the laps of time, it has established a clear, different style, along with a haute-horlogerie approach on (mainly) the tourbillon. This escapement is always placed in some amazing cases, with a true aesthetical signature, gathering fine artistic crafts.
2014 is no exception to the brand, which unveiled a lot of novelties at Baselworld 2014. First, a new version of the Derrick Tourbillon. Louis Moinet’s Derrick is a world first, combining a tourbillon with a working oil derrick. This unique device, visible over a large part of the petroleum blue dial, is in constant motion, completing its cycle every 15 seconds. Its rocking lever is made entirely of brushed aluminium.
Louis Moinet Baselworld 2014 – The Al Sarraj Tourbillon Astrolabe
However, the most amazing piece of the 2014 novelties is the Astrolabe. An astrolabe is an instrument used to observe the stars and was of great importance in the development of the human sciences.
The instrument is represented in the form of a double flat projection which measures the movement of the stars in the heavens. Its purpose is to observe the stars as well as determine the time (in the daytime by observing the sun, at night by observing the stars). A simpler version, the nautical astrolabe was the main navigational instrument from the 16th century up until the 18th century.
Louis Moinet Baselworld 2014 – Where can you see a genuine astrolabe?
Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO of Louis Moinet, sought to obtain one. This is how an encounter came about with Martin Brunold, probably the only manufacturer of quality astrolabes in the world. For more than forty years this Swiss craftsman has made them entirely by hand, patiently crafted from brass. He has of course an extremely limited production capacity and his works of art are displayed in international museums or belong to private collections.
For connoisseurs Louis Moinet is reserving an exceptional boxed set containing Martin Brunold’s work of art, the Al-Sarraj astrolabe, and a defined mechanical tourbillon with the streamlined design of the astrolabe. Also handmade, it reproduces the function of the astrolabe of the age, which was the faithful telling of time, day and night. A tribute to human genius around the world, the Astrolabe mechanical Tourbillon is traditionally made and hand assembled in its entirety, in the same poetic spirit as Ibn Al-Sarraj’s creation.
Louis Moinet Baselworld 2014 – Travelling Watches
No, we won’t talk here about GMT watches, these pieces designed to travel all around cities, but about cities…embodied within a watch ! This is the Mecanograph City collection. It starts with two cities, New-York and Doha – because these ones have their own comets named after them, and these two Mecanograph encloses a fragment of them.
Their Calibre LM31 was entirely conceived and crafted by Louis Moinet and Concepto. It is composed of 182 different elements and displays chronometer-worthy precision, as is confirmed by its COSC certificate. Nonetheless, its main characteristic is the way in which it reveals the entire regulating organ, as well as the escapement and its gear train, highlighted by the anthracite coating on the mainplate and bridges.
The two 2014 pieces are engraved with these cities main symbols and buildings. Hand engraving combines line engraving with a special technique to produce pronounced embossing. This is important for recreating the atmosphere of New York, with its distinctive urban landscape. The central element is the One World Trade Center, the country’s biggest skyscraper at 541 metres high, spire included. Other emblematic skyscrapers are easy to recognise like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, which were both the tallest in the world when built in 1930. The famous Brooklyn Bridge, which dates back to 1883 and spans the East River, is also represented.
On the other side, Doha. The high urban towers of WestBay are the linchpins of the city, frequently exceeding 50 floors. This highly populated town is one of a kind in the world, and has generated an incredible image typically characteristic of Doha.
Louis Moinet Baselworld 2014 – Chinese engravings
Last but not least, a trip to Asia. A very special trip, with a Dragon. It’s the Dragon Tourbillon, a new artistic timepiece in a limited edition of 12 pieces. Engraving the Dragon requires more than 50 hours of work, and is done entirely by hand using a piece of 18K white gold. A particular fine jewellery technique – rarely applied to watchmaking – enables the alternation from charcoal-grey to polished gold, and brings the Dragon’s body to life. This is structured in a figure of eight, a number considered to be very lucky in Chinese culture. Through its ruby eyes, the Dragon watches the pearl of fire, represented in black jade in the centre of the watch.