Bicentenary of the Chronograph
Louis Moinet lights up the night
Louis Moinet invents the chronograph – an artistic and technological masterpiece beating at a rhythm of 216,000 vibrations per hour, designed to observe the orbits of the planets in the heavens.
Louis Moinet lights up the stars by presenting Memoris, the first chronograph-watch, clothed with light. The first limited edition marks the start of a series of commemorative pieces dedicated to the bicentenary of the invention of the chronograph.
The “Memoris 200th Anniversary” uses a fixed graver engraving technique that is unprecedented in the
history of watchmaking. Each star is worked on individually; never before has there been a starry sky
with such a natural sparkle.
Watchmaking art that repurposes guillochage
The “Memoris 200th Anniversary” can be summed up in three points:
– A new hour dial – made in enamel for the first time in history of the piece
– A new mainplate, painted and decorated with star constellations
– A new translucent flange and counter bridge
The starry back 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, this 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. Several fixed graver sessions are required per star.
The process used is unprecedented in watchmaking – and the outstanding result gives the novel
impression that certain stars really are shining.
New, crystalline transparency
For the flange and counter bridge, Ateliers Louis Moinet have used a revolutionary translucent material. Its precise makeup, produced by combining a number of composite materials and high-temperature vacuum moulding, is a closely-guarded secret. It offers a unique advantage that has won over Ateliers Louis Moinet: it is through-coloured – and yet the same time maintains a certain degree of transparency.
Using it in translucent dark blue on the flange of the new Memoris adds an exclusive sense of depth, whereas an opaque flange would have ‘locked down’ the timepiece.
In its natural state, this material is as just as pure and translucent as crystal, but nowhere near as fragile, allowing it to be used for the counter bridge, too; and the latter’s ensuing transparency ensures the wearer can admire the night blue sky – without missing a single star.
About Louis Moinet
Ateliers Louis Moinet 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, 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.