With its Moon Race series, Louis Moinet presents four spectacular wristwatches that pay tribute to four key episodes in the conquest of the Moon. This collection combines the finest craftsmanship with lunar meteorite and the most spectacular natural stones. These four creations all feature an authentic fragment of the spacecraft that shaped history. Each of them has travelled more than a million kilometres in interplanetary space before being presented in the Louis Moinet travel trunk.
(1) First on the Moon – 1966
Luna 9 was the Soviet space probe that made the first successful lunar soft landing. It was a real feat at the time, following a long series of failures. Soviet astronautics lost 26 space probes between 1962 and 1965 without a single success. Launched on January 31st1966 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Luna 9 landed in the Ocean of Storms (Oceanus Procellarum) on February 3rd 1966, giving the world the first panoramic images of the lunar surface.
The dial of Louis Moinet Moon Race ‘First on the Moon’ watch depicts the soft landing of Luna 9. The spacecraft is hand-engraved and then entirely painted. It includes an original piece of woven fibre from Luna 24. This piece made the journey from the Earth to the Moon and back – over a million kilometres through interplanetary space – aboard Luna 24.
The Moon is entirely hand-engraved, then blackened in the old-fashioned way to give it an enigmatic appearance. The sky is made of black astralite, also known as aventurine glass. This material has been preserved for more than 50 years to be used for a major artistic work. The countless sparkles of its particles resemble gold spangles, stars shining against the pure backdrop of the sky. The Earth is depicted in a highly detailed artistic miniature painting, standing out against the sky thanks to the volume of its applique.
Hand engravings on the bezel represent Luna 9, as well as the lunar landing capsule. Ejected just before the lunar impact, it then separated from the rest of the spacecraft. The 100-kilogram capsule hit the lunar surface at a speed of 4 to 7 metres per second, protected by an airbag. The first images of the Moon were taken by this capsule and sent back to Earth via its antennae.
(2) Man on the Moon – 1969
While the Russians were attempting to send a crew to the Moon, the U.S. orchestrated a succession of Apollo space missions, drawing ever closer to this goal. It was Apollo 11 that enabled humankind to set foot on the Moon for the first time. The giant Saturn V rocket left the Kennedy Space Center on July 16th1969, and the crew landed on the night star on July 21st 1969. The first steps on the Moon were filmed by a video camera and broadcast live, an event watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The dial of Louis Moinet Moon Race “Man on the Moon” watch represents the first man to walk on the Moon. His astronaut’s suit is hand engraved and coloured using a miniature painting technique. His visor is an authentic fragment of the polyimide film that protected his spacecraft across a wide temperature range (-250°C to 400°C). This material was used to travel from the Earth to the Moon and back – more than a million kilometres in interplanetary space – on Apollo 11.
The miniature painting on this visor represents the reflection of the lunar module. In order to achieve the finest details, the painter trims the hairs of their brush one by one, using only the last one to create the finest decorations. The Moon is represented by a real lunar meteorite, named Dar Al Gani 400.
This lunar anorthosite is a rock found on Earth in 1998 and ejected from the Moon following the impact of a celestial object. The curved Earth is embodied by that “azure stone” used for 7,000 years by the greatest civilisations: lapis lazuli. It floats in a sky of exceptional quality crafted from black aventurine.
Hand engravings on the bezel represent the Saturn V rocket, the famous space launcher developed in the 1960s for the Apollo moon programme. This huge rocket was over 100 metres high, weighed 3,000 tonnes, had 11 engines and could launch a 45-tonne payload to the Moon. The engravings in the centre depict man’s first step on the Moon, while those at the bottom show the foot pads of the Apollo lunar module as it lands.
(3) Around the Moon – 1970
Apollo 13 is the third mission in the space programme to take a crew to the Moon. When landing at the Fra Mauro crater, a site heavily impacted by asteroids, a serious accident damaged the spacecraft. The mission was abandoned, and the return journey required going around the Moon before returning to Earth. The objective was of course not achieved, yet this highly dangerous mission can be considered as one of the most spectacular rescues ever carried out. The return to Earth was due to the unfailing will and tenacity of human beings, from the crew to the control centre in Houston.
The dial of “Around the Moon” watch depicts the spectacular rescue of Apollo 13, which managed to reach Earth with a badly damaged spacecraft. The spacecraft is hand-engraved and then enhanced with a fragment of the polyimide film that protected it on its return journey, particularly during its atmospheric re-entry.
This material travelled from the Earth to the orbit of the Moon and then back to Earth. In total, it travelled more than a million kilometres through interplanetary space aboard Apollo 13. The spacecraft can be seen heading towards Earth, having circled the Moon. Onyx, a variety of agate used since antiquity for its deep black colour, embodies the mysterious face of the night star. It is set against granite from the Bernese Oberland, found by Daniel Haas at an altitude of over 2,000 metres.
The blue Pietersite from Namibia was chosen to evoke the beauty of the Earth. Its shimmering effect is due to the many multicoloured fibre inclusions that give it bluish tones with an incomparable silky appearance.
Black astralite completes the picture. This material has a history, since its origins date back to Murano at the beginning of the 17th century. It is the result of a lucky mistake – when a glassmaker dropped copper filings into molten glass that was slowly cooled – and its name comes from the Italian word “all’ avventura”. That is why astralite is also known as aventurine, or even river gold. The astralite adorning the Moon Race watch was acquired and carefully preserved by the father of Daniel Haas, the brand’s partner in the field of exceptional stones. The Haas family has been a pioneer in the sourcing and cutting of natural stone dials for two generations.
Hand engravings on the bezel represent the Odyssey service and command module, the only one capable of returning the crew to Earth with its heat shield. In the centre, a view of the Moon shows a distant Earth, the ultimate quest of the imperilled mission. Finally, we see the command module that landed in the Pacific Ocean.
(4) Last on the Moon – 1976
Luna 24 is the last probe of the Luna programme to land on the Moon, in the unexplored region of Mare Crisium. It brought back 170 grams of lunar soil samples (regolith). The analysis of these samples proved to be valuable, proving the existence of water on the lunar regolith.
After landing on the Moon on August 18th1976, Luna 24 returned to Earth (Siberia) on August 22nd1976, thus concluding the Luna programme, which began with Luna 1 in 1959, as well as the Moon Race launched in 1961. It was not until 32 years later that a new probe landed on the Moon (Moon Impact Probe, India). China also landed a probe (Chang’e 3), but in a controlled manner (soft landing) in 2013, subsequently bringing back samples from the Moon in 2020 (Chang’e 5).
The “Last on the Moon” watch is the final episode of the “Moon Race”. One of the results of Luna 24 was the proof of the existence of water on the Moon.
Luna 24 is depicted on its journey back to Earth. Its prodigious design is hand-engraved, and a real piece of Luna 24 (resin-coated braided fibre) adorns its side. This material has travelled over a million kilometres through interplanetary space from the Earth to the Moon and back, aboard Luna 24.
The Moon is shown here in high contrast, with copper etching to highlight its craters. Another of Nature’s mysteries, azurite has been transformed into malachite by a phenomenon known as pseudomorphosis. This metamorphosis allows it to retain part of its appearance while morphing into malachite. The result is a very special mineral: azurite-malachite, which perfectly embodies the Earth. It is complemented by a yellow Pietersite sun, which fully deserves its nickname of “storm stone”. It lights up the sky with black aventurine of exceptional quality.
Hand engravings on the bezel represent the Proton rocket, a Russian heavy launcher capable of placing a 22-tonne payload into low earth orbit. It was used on many Soviet space missions, including Luna 24. Developed in the early 1960s, this rocket remains Russia’s main launcher, with over 400 Protons launched to date. The centre is decorated with lunar engravings, while the base of the bezel features the incredible design of the Luna 24 space probe.
Crafted from 18 carat gold, each Moon Race watch houses the Calibre LM 35, the gold medal winner of at the last International Chronometry Competition. This manual-winding movement features a 60 seconds tourbillon at 6 o’ clock., and displays hour, minute and seconds. This exceptional caliber can be admired through the sapphire crystal case back.
Louis Moinet travel trunk
The trunk evokes the journey through space. It houses the four one-of-a-kind “Moon Race” creations. It is made of natural elm burr wood and adorned with a black-lacquered Fleur de Lys pattern.
The domed lid is topped by two cognac-coloured leather straps. Its interior is made of black leather, and the inside of the cover features an 18th century treasure: the drawings of the Sphere of Copernicus & Sphere of Ptolemy, by Buy de Mornas. The printing is enhanced with water colours, making this creation truly one of a kind.
Provenance of the space-travelling materials
Louis Moinet is presenting exclusive creations incorporating fragments from Moon Race spaceships. These materials (polyimide film or braided fibre) have travelled more than a million kilometres through space. They are sourced from an expert who has personally acquired them from astronauts themselves, their families or their entourage, as well as from reputable auctions – thereby ensuring the best possible guarantees of authenticity.
Calibre LM 35
60-second tourbillon movement, awarded the Gold Medal at the last International Chronometry Competition.
Power reserve: 72 Hours
Frequency: 21’600 vph
Hour, minute and seconds
Water resistance: 30 meters
Alligator strap with folding clasp
Strap width: 24mm