Unveiled at Baselworld 2016, Sideralis by Louis Moinet does not have any equivalent anywhere in the world of watchmaking, and is protected by two patent applications. And over and above purely technical considerations, Sideralis makes an unequivocal statement: Louis Moinet is perhaps the last fully-independent firm to be investing in new components with the sole aim of inspiring awe among lovers of fine watches.
Sideralis is structured around two especially extraordinary tourbillons. Both of these tourbillons are oversized, with cages measuring 14.9 mm – half as big again as the average. This is the largest assembly of two tourbillons ever to have existed. The two tourbillons are designed to be physically above the movement – above the dial, even. The two raised cages are large as life and wholly visible, revealing balance wheels with beautifully styled screws – and an absolutely incomparable aesthetic appearance.
The tourbillons rotate in opposite directions. The continuous coming and going, side by side, is not just for stylistic reasons; the counter-rotation provides the motive power required for the star mechanism – the Sideralis complication.
For the first time ever, a complication is driven by a double tourbillon: a time dial, situated at 12 o’clock, comprising two discs, one atop the other. The top one features a tiny hand-painted picture. This hand-crafted marvel depicts the universe and its constellations of stars and planets, painted one by one on a dark blue sidereal background. The animation completes one counter-clockwise rotation every 60 seconds.
At 12 o’clock on this upper disc there is a circular opening, through which can be glimpsed the three planets painted on the lower disc, seen to be rotating in the opposite direction at the same speed. The feature represents a wholly new conceptual and artistic approach.
Through the opening, the lower disc reveals the planet Mars, the Moon, and Mercury in succession. Each of the micro-paintings includes genuine dust from the heavenly body in question: a fragment of Mars, moon dust, and extremely rare fragments of the Rosetta Stone, whose scientific name is Sahara 99555. Fragments of meteorites from Mars, the Moon and Sahara 99555 also appear on the lower disc, positioned between the planets, floating in the cosmos, or included in a hand-painted shooting star.
The inverted double tourbillon, powering an exclusive complication, is an unprecedented innovation, with two patents pending to protect it. The Sideralis caliber is also fully exclusive to Louis Moinet, mounted on a hand-painted aventurine dial that matches the universe depicted on the time disc. Sideralis comes in a 47.4 mm grey gold case – and in a limited edition of just 28 watches.