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Louis Moinet - A Forgotten History, Revisited
As a young boy, Jean-Marie Schaller was fascinated by the precise work of watchmakers. Born in Delémont, a small city nestled in the Swiss Jura Mountains, Jean-Marie Schaller grew up surrounded by watchmakers and watched how their passion created magnificent timepieces. Eventually, Jean-Marie Schaller started working as a distributor and marketer for several watch companies. Schaller would meet with independent watchmakers and work on his own projects to learn more about the watch industry. As almost a chance encounter, he came across a forgotten name in the horological history - Louis Moinet.
Moinet is regarded as a pioneer who crafted several innovative mechanisms like pocket-watch calibres, balance-cock for winding, and many more precise devices. His watches were used by the highest royalty and elites of the time, including the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte and Thomas Jefferson.
However, the most pathbreaking invention of Moinet was the chronograph.
Inspired by the eight-page biography of Loius Moinet, Jean-Marie Schaller tried to preserve the history of this watchmaker by developing a chronograph watch. The later watches came with the same hallmark. In 2012, an antique purchase became a turning point in Jean-Marie Schaller’s life. He bought a Louis Moinet piece which turned out to be the first chronograph. Even the Guinness World Record gave Loius Moinet the title of ‘World’s First Chronograph’.
The discovery began rewriting the history of watches, and Jean-Marie Schaller stood in the middle of this intersection. The story of Les Ateliers Louis Moinet lies at this intersection with a simple philosophy - reviving the name of Louis Moinet and restoring his supremacy in the watchmaking world.
A Blend Of Art And Technology
Headquartered in Saint-Blaise, Louis Moinet is an independent watch brand specializing in the creation of exclusive, limited edition, high-end watches made with exotic materials and state-of-the-art technology. While the roots of the brand’s foundation lie in preserving the historical heritage of Louis Moinet, the brand is not completely dictated by the historical figure. Many of the collections are inspired by the ideas of Jean-Marie Schaller, exploring themes of space, contemporary mechanical timepieces, and historical charm.
Ateliers Louis Moinet manufactures limited Swiss watches, and they are dedicated to precision, creativity, and exclusivity. They believe in going the extra mile to perfect the highest form of mechanical craftsmanship. Each timepiece is a limited edition work-of-art. Louis Moinet is also a part of Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and helps promote excellence in watchmaking.
The brand believes in collaborating with independent artisans from around the world who often have unique expertise in watch design and mechanisms. Along with the watches, their luxury cases are also inspired by Moinet’s treatise - Traité d’Horlogerie (1848). They are meticulously handcrafted in Geneva. In fact, each element of Louis Moinet watches - the dials, the straps, and even the hands - are designed and created with unique precision.
Because of their use of rare material, exclusive design, and curatorial value of the watches, the company’s annual production does not cross a few hundred watches. Segmented into two collections, the Cosmic Art and Mechanical Wonders, Louis Moinet assembles watches with great intricacy.
A Symbol Of Excellence
Much like Moinet, Ateliers Louis Moinet’s watches are also dedicated to some of the most influential people of our time. Their oeuvre of celebrity clients includes the likes of Nelson Piquet, the famous Formula One racer, and His Majesty, The Sultan of Malaysia.
The watches often feature cosmic and nature themes, which are in tandem with Schaller’s philosophy that the principles of a watch are in harmony with the primal principles and values that exist within us humans. The Cosmic Art collection is a revolutionary series featuring famous space expeditions or crafted using cosmic materials like mar meteorite (Mars watch) or lunar meteorite (Moon watch).
The Mechanical Wonder collection blends unique mechanisms with powerful design to deliver a one-of-a-kind watch series. The series focuses on a visible mechanism, showcasing highly-engineered tourbillons. The Mechanical Wonder is all about displaying the inner workings of a watch - a visual delight for true horological enthusiasts. Another watch defining excellence is the limited edition Acasta. The dial of the Acasta is crafted from an ancient rock (Acasta gneiss) that dates back to the earliest years of the Earth’s existence. The watch features two firsts in watchmaking innovation - it houses the largest double tourbillons that rotate in opposite directions.
In 2020, as a tribute to Louis Moinet’s chronograph, the Memoris collection was launched. Transforming the chronograph of Louis Moinet, the Memoris collection features a traditional mechanism blended with an ingenious modern design, placing the chronograph system on the front.
To say that the Louis Moinet experience represents the grandest taste of luxury might be an understatement. Not only has the brand stayed true to the legacy of the master inventor but it has also carved its distinct niche in the horological world.