In 2016, Ateliers Louis Moinet is celebrating the bicentenary of the chronograph invented by Louis Moinet in 1816. This exceptional jubilee marks the first proper commemoration of the creation of the Compteur de Tierces, the first chronograph in history. For this unprecedented occasion, Ateliers Louis Moinet is unveiling an anniversary version of its Memoris timepiece, created for the bicentenary of the Chronograph.
For this very special edition, Memoris will be housed in a 46 mm rose gold case, whose 52 parts are held together by six visible, functional screws on the bezel. Especially created for Memoris, the case sports alternating brushed and polished finishes, and bears the Louis Moinet signature on the side. In homage to the watchmaking skills of the brand’s forebears, it features chevé concave crystals, now made from scratch-proof sapphire.
Within the case sits the chronograph – moved to the fore, on the dial side. When the pusher is depressed, every single aspect of the chronograph’s action can be admired in its entirety. The column wheel orchestrates the graceful ballet of the mechanism of steel and gears, passing information to the hands. To ensure no part of the chronograph mechanism is obscured, the counters are made from a specially-manufactured translucent material.
The innovative movement, meanwhile, is neither a skeleton nor a supplementary module: rather, it has been designed for and around the chronograph. Indeed, Louis Moinet has opted to place the time mechanism on the back of the automatic movement, beneath the plate.
The bicentennial edition also sports all-exclusive decoration, the centrepiece of which is a special shade of midnight blue for the chronograph plate, mirroring the actual colour of the sky at night. A host of individually hand-engraved stars shine forth, each crafted using a brand new fixed graver technique. 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 end 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 the process focuses 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 with different angles and depths, so that each and every one captures as much light as possible. This requires the fixed graver to be used many times – an unprecedented technique in watchmaking. The outstanding result gives the novel impression of stars actually shining,twinkling with unique splendour against the backdrop of the night-blue plate beneath them.
The Memoris Anniversaire unveiled at Baselworld 2016 comes in a limited edition of 20 pieces.