Louis Moinet is a Swiss luxury watch brand named after the one of the most influential watchmakers of 19th century. Les Ateliers Louis Moinet is located in Auvernier, in the foothills of the Jura Mountains in Switzerland. It is an independent company run by Jean-Marie Schaller and Micaela Bartolucci, two individuals with a passion for craftsmanship and watchmaking culture. They are dedicated to manufacturing personalised watches in limited editions and in one-of a-kind models distinguished by their unique design.
Louis Moinet explores creative avenues connected with “Mechanical Art”, which has been the foundation stone since 1806. The four values contained in “Mechanical Art in Limited Edition” are :
• The uniqueness of Louis Moinet
• Creative Watchmaking
• Art & Design
The uniqueness of Louis Moinet
Embodying perfect fusion of heritage and innovation, Louis Moinet is truly unique and different Louis Moinet was both a talented artist and a master-watchmaker. Each watch is a perfect fusion between design & watchmaking, thus producing a unique and different spirit of creation.
– “Variograph” is a vision of traditional watchmaking revisited by Louis Moinet.For the first time, a watch indicates the “full moon” to its wearer.
– “Twintech” is an innovative Manufacture-made movement inspired by Louis Moinet drawings of a double-barrel pocket-watch, made in 1848.
Each Louis Moinet creation features rare and distinctive mechanical movements as well as innovative component solutions.TEMPOGRAPH, an exceptional new case composed of 48 different elements.
– “Apollon” Twin Tourbillon is a Manufacture-made movement of the highest complexity, used exclusively in one-of-a-kind creations.
– “Chronovintage” is an extremely rare vintage movement. It produces an extraordinary chronograph, enabling the wearer to count off the minutes in an elegant and highly visible manner by means of a central hand displaying them around the outer minute track. This legendary mechanical movement dates back to the early 1970s and is virtually impossible to find these days. It is entirely reconditioned and assembled in Louis Moinet workshops.
Unique “TEMPOGRAPH” technology: The technology of the TEMPOGRAPH, the first and only retrograde watch with open-heart mechanism, is protected by a pending patent.
“Crown guard”: The crown guard consists of an independent stem integrated within a watertight system and held with a plate secured by four screws. It represents a major advantage compared to the traditionally soldered stem, facilitating its replacement if required.
“JULES VERNE” chronograph: In its JULES VERNE line, Louis Moinet introduces a new way to use your chronograph. This advanced technical solution to “start” and “stop” the chronograph has the advantage of fully securing the handling of the functions
Art & Design
Each Louis Moinet watch carries a unique artistic spirit, embodied by creative design. Design is highlighted by a newly invented decoration, the “Côtes du Jura” based on an exclusive proprietary manufacturing process.Four different case designs have been registered.Louis Moinet is the first and only brand to manufacture watches with an authentic piece of the moon (lunar meteorite).The first one in the world is MAGISTRALIS. Used to craft the moon-phase display, this rare material is even more expensive than gold, diamond and platinum combined. Of all meteorites found on the earth, the lunar meteorite (moon rock) is the rarest.
– The French balance-cock, invented in the 17th century to protect the movement from dust, is now used on the dial-side of “Twintech”, delicately pierced to reveal its balance-wheel.
– The tonneau and rectangular watch cases are genuine design creations, unmistakable and protected by international patents. They have been inspired by the rich world of Louis Moinet.
Louis Moinet timepieces are rare and exclusive. Annual production does not exceed 1,000 watches. That is why each Louis Moinet watch bears the symbols of exclusivity on its caseback. A star indicates that the watch is part of a Limited Edition. The moon indicates that the watch is unique, and no other similar watch will be produced.
BIOGRAPHY OF LOUIS MOINET
Louis Moinet was born in Bourges in 1768 into a well-to-do family of farmers. During his studies, he quickly distinguished himself for his mastery of classical subjects, and he regularly took first place in academic competitions. While still a student, he was introduced to the world of watch making, and he spent almost all of his free time by the side of a master watchmaker. He was also privately tutored in drawing by an Italian painter.
At the age of twenty, Louis Moinet dreamed only of Italy, that classical land of fine arts. So, he soon left France for Rome where he lived for five years studying architecture, sculpting and painting. There he came into regular contact with members of the French Academy which brought together the most illustrious artists of the time. From Rome, he went on to Florence to perfect the artistic skills he had acquired. As a painter, his legacy includes a number of fine works.
Watch making soon engrossed all of Moinet’s time and its tools brought him frequently to Switzerland where he spent extended periods of time. He became President of the Chronometry Society of Paris, and a member of a number of learned and artistic societies. Among his many technical accomplishments, he invented a counter that, even today, is unequalled. The same can be said for another regulator and an astronomical watch. In terms of watch making techniques, Moinet was a genius and he improved upon many existing methods.
According to records from an exposition of industry products, a Mr. Francoeur “recognised the usefulness of a new balance-cock which helped with rewinding. The idea belonged to Mr. Moinet”. When Moinet met Abraham-Louis Breguet, the latter was already quite famous. Breguet recognised Moinet’s worth at once, and the two men worked closely together. From 1811 on, Moinet became Breguet’s personal advisor, and from that moment on, science and genius began to work hand in hand in the interest of time and art. When Breguet passed away in 1823, Moinet left the house on the Quai de l’Horloge to live elsewhere.
Louis Moinet undertook to share his extensive knowledge of watch making and, in 1848, he published the Traité d’Horlogerie. Indispensable for anyone in the field, this volume is the most complete and most well written book on watch making in existence. It is also an everlasting monument to Moinet, establishing for all time his talent and reputation. He sacrificed everything to art: his time, his fortune and his health. He spent most of his life creating, imbuing materials with a life of their own.Louis Moinet died in Paris on 21 May 1853.
The works of Louis Moinet
Louis Moinet worked closely with the great Abraham-Louis Breguet, over a period of many years, acting in the capacity of close friend, confidant and intimate advisor. The two men shared the same passion for the art of horology.
In the course of his career, Louis Moinet created some extraordinary clocks for such eminent figures of his era as Napoleon Bonaparte; American presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe; King George IV of England; Ernest Augustus, Prince of Hanover; Maria Amalia, Queen of the French; Joachim Murat, King of Naples; Marshal Ney, along with many crowned heads the length and breadth of Europe.
There are some extraordinary stories behind these clocks, crafted in cooperation with the famous bronzier, Thomire. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, United States ambassador in Paris and third US president, asked Louis Moinet to make him a clock based on his three criteria for a work of art: beauty, durability and utility. One can well imagine that he really loved his clock, since it accompanied him during his two White House terms of office and indeed until his last breath.
The one belonging to James Monroe is one of the original objects adorning the White House as it now stands. It was purchased in Paris in 1817, along with other decorative objects, in order to adorn the White House that had been burned down by the English in 1814, and then rebuilt by architect James Hoban. A large proportion of this original furniture has been lost over the years, and only a handful of these witnesses to the past remain, including the famous “Minerva” clock by Moinet and Thomire.
As for the Napoleon clock, it was made in 1806. Equipped with an eight-day movement, it displays the hours, minutes and date. Its grand originality stems from an exceptional mechanism displaying the moon phases inside the day hand, by means of a tiny ivory ball. Moreover, Napoleon and Josephine are crowned Emperor and Empress as soon as the music box is started. To achieve this, an ingenious mechanism physically places the imperial crown on their heads.
Today, these masterpieces are preserved in major European museums such as the Louvre in Paris, the Château de Versailles or the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, as well as in the United States in Jefferson’s Monticello museum and even in the White House.
As a maker of precision instruments, Louis Moinet was involved in maritime, astronomical and civilian horology. This ingenious craftsman perfected various techniques in these fields and developed several important new improvements. His major achievement is of course the compteur de tierces of 1816, which makes him the inventor of what became known as the chronograph. This instrument could time events to the sixtieth of a second (known then as a “third”), had a balance frequency of 216,000 vibrations an hour and could be reset to zero. Louis Moinet is thus the father of high-frequency time measurement, although it was not until exactly a century later that a watch was made to beat his record.
The work of Louis Moinet also includes alarm watches, regulators and astronomical watches. As the inventor of unprecedented concepts, he devised some truly astonishing mechanisms. For example, several of his pocket-watch calibres boasted unusual arrangements of the components (such as with the whole set of gears built around the same pinion). Moreover, it invented a toothed mainspring that improved the rating of the watch – a spring he poetically described as being a “half-ripe cherry red” colour when fired in the kiln. He also developed a new balance-cock that facilitated winding. After tireless efforts, he created a mobile balance-spring stud so as to poise the balance correctly without needing to dismantle anything. Finally, he slotted, rounded and hand-finished the gear trains of his marine chronometers in order to ensure their precision, according to the principles he laid out in his learned Traité d’Horlogerie or watchmaking treatise.
Dedicated to excellence and extremely modest by nature, Louis Moinet was driven by the ambition to advance his Art rather than a desire for commercial profit – which is why he freely shared his ingenious ideas with his fellow watchmakers.
The famous Traité d’Horlogerie
Louis Moinet is in particularly renowned for his famous Traité d’Horlogerie, published in 1848 and widely reputed to be the finest book on horology of the century. Comprising descriptions of the finest watchmaking techniques, it was appreciated by the great watchmakers of his era such as Frodsham, Perrelet, Saunier and Winnerl, as well as by several other scholars and connoisseurs such as HRH Prince Alexander of Orange – all of whom appear on the list of the numerous subscribers to a book that was reprinted three times and circulated as far afield as Russia.
Louis Moinet devoted twenty years of his life to writing this two-volume treatise, which remains highly sought after to this day. It contains in particular a practical and universal method for gears that follow scientific principles duly modified by their application.
The Louis Moinet workshops
The Ateliers Louis Moinet are at Saint-Blaise near Neuchâtel in the heart of Switzerland’s watchmaking area. This independent company was established about 15 years ago by Jean-Marie Schaller with the aim of producing watches in the spirit of Louis Moinet: a blend of art and technology.
Although Louis Moinet was an eminent horologist of the 19th century, his work has been largely forgotten. However, recent research has brought to light some of the masterpieces of the past, which are kept in the museum section at Saint-Blaise. These treasures include decorative clocks, complicated pocket-watches, a timer and original documents of the period as well as different editions of Moinet’s 1848 Traité d’Horlogerie.
The company aims to “restore Louis Moinet to his rightful place at the top of the watchmaking pantheon.” The Ateliers Louis Moinet specialise in limited editions and unique pieces of distinctive design.
The Ateliers Louis Moinet seek innovation. Here are some examples:-
ASTRALIS is an innovative watch unlike any other. Its extremely high level of technical sophistication is highlighted by a legendary mechanism. ASTRALIS features an exclusive and unprecedented alliance of complications: a Tourbillon, a split-second column-wheel Chronograph, as well as a 24-hour Planetarium displaying meteorites boasting unique rarity.
The Jiddat al Harasis 479 Martian meteorite covered a distance of more than 55 million kilometres before Louis Moinet invited it to embark upon a new journey through space and time.
Louis Moinet is the first and only watch brand to present an authentic meteorite originating from the planet Mars. This is doubtless because of its extreme rarity. To date, less than 70 Martian meteorites have been authenticated as such by scientific institutes worldwide. The price per gram of a Martian meteorite is far higher than that of gold, platinum and diamond combined!
The most ancient known rock in the entire solar system
The world’s most precious meteorite is certainly Sahara 99555. This is indeed the most ancient known rock in the entire solar system! Its age is estimated at 4 billion 566 million years, with a 100,000-year precision margin. Since it is “the original stone”, scientists have christened it the “Rosetta stone”. This meteorite may well have come from the planet Mercury, although this cannot be asserted for certain, since there is as yet no means of geological analysis available for Mercury.
Louis Moinet has played a pioneering role as the only watch brand to use a lunar meteorite (Dhofar 459). To date, less than 100 lunar meteorites have been identified worldwide. Most are exhibited in museums, which means only a very few are available to the public at large. These meteorites are thus extremely rare and are intended for the most discerning collectors.
This chronograph won the “Best of the Best” Red Dot Design Award, for the world’s most innovative designs. The two chronograph counters are made from genuine petrified palm wood. This emblematic tree believed to be 70 million years old comes from the tropical forests of South-East Asia. Its origins and its venerable age make it the ideal ambassador for the “Rainforest” project. Each watch sold will enable a substantial contribution to the “PULAU BANDING Foundation”, which aims to preserve the Malaysian tropical forest of Belum-Temengor, one of the oldest in the world.
Another rare material, red stromalite is the world’s oldest known fossil, dating back 3.5 billion years. It comes from Australia and has been fashioned into the dial of a tourbillon watch in the TREASURES OF THE WORLD collection. This collection’s purpose is to showcase some of the rarest and least known hardstones such as labradorite, petrified sequoia, hawk’s eye or green aventurine.
Several patents have been filed, notably for the unique 10-second retrograde mechanism in the TEMPOGRAPH model.
A patent has also been sought for the lever-activated chronograph featured in the JULES VERNE Instrument I. A second patent covers the crown protecting device, particularly useful for simplifying after-sales service.
The MECANOGRAPH is fitted with a self-winding chronometer-certified movement with a rotor pivoting on ceramic ball bearings to improve winding efficiency.
JULES VERNE Instrument III is a single-button chronograph that displays its functions with an original indicator.
The Louis Moinet style
Through its rich heritage, Louis Moinet expresses a unique brand identity: the time is indicated by “Gouttes de Rosée” (dewdrop) hands, on a dial adorned with “Côtes du Jura”®.
The signature features of the Louis Moinet case consist in its upper bezel secured with screws; its unique interchangeable crown tube system for which a patent has been filed; and the “champagne-cork” style chronograph pushers.
To ensure a novel and distinctive chronograph read-off in the GEOGRAPH model, its two counters are set with genuine watch jewels made using the Verneuil process, polished on both sides and featuring a special split-level construction.
Mechanical Art in Limited Editions
Each watch tells its own story… which explains why the mechanical art of Louis Moinet can only be expressed in limited editions.
Louis Moinet has manufactured works of art for kings, heads of state and other dignitaries. The message conveyed today has not changed over the years: Louis Moinet watches are designed for the important people of our time. A Louis Moinet watch remains a rare object: annual production does not exceed 1,000 watches.
Official website : http://www.louismoinet.com