It’s The Little Details That Count: Louis Moinet Memoris 200th Anniversary Edition
by Amr Sindi
In 2013, Louis Moinet took the watch world by surprise when the brand revealed that its historical namesake was in fact the inventor of the chronograph.
The Compteur de Tierces pocket watch by Louis Moinet dating back to 1816 was proof positive. For the full story on that please see Discovery, Firsts, And The Louis Moinet Compteur De Tierces and History Rebooted: The Chronograph’s Inventor Is…Louis Moinet!
Then in 2015, the brand celebrated the monumental find with the advent of the Memoris, a chronograph with the entire chronograph mechanism visible dial side. Please see Memoris By Louis Moinet: Paying Homage To Historical Chronographic Ingenuity for more.
I don’t really buy into Louis Moinet’s slogan for this piece as being “the first chronograph-watch,” but I do get the point the brand is trying to make: the Memoris is all about putting the chronograph functionality, including the gears and levers that make it tick, on center stage, relegating time-telling to second place.
And now, on the 200th anniversary
And now in 2016, Louis Moinet commemorates the bicentennial of the first chronograph with a series of commemorative pieces. This Memoris 200th Anniversary edition being the first.
For a chronograph, the Louis Moinet Memoris has a lot going for it, and not just mechanically. Here’s a look at some of the finer decorative elements that make the new Memoris 200th Anniversary a singular offering among specialty chronographs.
While the design is based by and large on classical watchmaking codes, Louis Moinet pieces stand apart for their whimsical, ornate, and slightly quirky accents that bring modernity and originality together in a unique package.
The 200th Anniversary edition of the Memoris takes this playfulness to new heights in its fine details.
Fanciful case work. Comprising no less than 52 components, there’s more to the Memoris case than a quick glimpse reveals. Aside from the tapered profile and the multi-part bezel fastened by screws, it’s the screwed chatons on the lugs and the clous de Paris (hobnail) finish on the chronograph’s single pusher that give the case that extra oomph.
Blue matter. Slightly domed, semi-translucent and absolutely vibrant, the small subdial displaying the hours and minutes at 6 o’clock is in blue enamel with contrasting white markings and even Super-LuminNova tips on the tiny hands.
What really strikes me is the use of enamel here instead of lacquer, which you would normally find in other watches (including the other versions of the Memoris) with small dials.
The use of enamel not only ensures extra-vibrant color, but also that the color will remain the same vibrant hue for practically an eternity.
Clearly, Louis Moinet took no shortcuts with this commemorative piece.
Dark translucency. I’m not talking about the chronograph registers, which are clearly made of transparent sapphire crystal, but rather the flange ring. If you look closely, you’ll notice it’s actually a semi-translucent dark blue produced by a unique process combining a number of composite materials by means of high-temperature vacuum molding.
This detail is really quite interesting.
A celestial base plate. Perhaps the single greatest feature of this special Memoris is its uniquely decorated base plate peeking out from underneath the chronograph assembly, which evokes the night sky.
The brass plate is first painted translucent blue with varying levels of depth and intensity. But what’s really interesting are the metallic stars, created by one of Louis Moinet’s craftsmen using a new and exclusive fixed engraving process.
A specially created lathe is attached to a traditional rose engine normally used for guillochage. Each star requires several engraving sessions and is done in a way that ensures that all of the stars have different angles and depths, making them scintillate rather than just shine.
Regal rotor. While the automatic movement is finely decorated and features an efficient pawl winding mechanism, what really catches the eye is the oscillating rotor with a golden concentric clous de Paris (hobnail) pattern emblazoned with a fleur de lys, which is a central figure in the coat-of-arms of Bourges, the French city where Louis Moinet was born.
For more information, please visit www.louismoinet.com/collection-memoris.
Case: 46 mm, white gold
Movement: automatic Caliber LM54 with dial-side visible chronograph assembly, 48 hours power reserve
Dial: blue enamel
Functions: off-centered hours and minutes, monopusher chronograph
Limitation: 20 examples
Price: 69,000 Swiss francs