Louis Moinet Creates 8 Breathtaking Wristwatches In Marvels Of The World Collection Of Unique Pieces
by Martin Green
Writing about Louis Moinet is simultaneously a pleasure and a challenge because the brand is unconventional. Louis Moinet walks to its own beat. As a result, the boutique brand’s creations are hard to compare, making it a joy to write about them and somewhat hard to determine the angle to take.
While all of Louis Moinet’s timepieces tell the time, they also tell a story in vivid details, often combining different crafts in a single creation. While every Louis Moinet is a testimony to this, the 8 Marvels of the World do this perhaps even more intensely. These eight watches each pay tribute to a unique historical structure, highlighting the heights of human civilization. Louis Moinet worked with a large team of artists to capture these feats of human engineering in most artistic and engaging ways.
Among eight different watches, anyone is bound to have favorites, which would however not stop anyone from appreciating those we may perhaps feel slightly less affectionate about. Their refinement is seductive, allowing us to enjoy each of them in their own right for what they are.
The one thing all of the 8 Marvels of the World have in common is Caliber LM35, a beautifully finished movement featuring a one-minute tourbillon occupying a prominent place on each watch dial at 6 o’clock. Louis Moinet has focused on what matters in this high-precision movement, which won first prize in the International Chronometry Competition in 2015. It makes for a perfect beating heart for watches like those found in the 8 Marvels of the World collection, especially given its generous power reserve of 72 hours.
Three of the watches in this collection have a diameter of 45.4 mm, while the remaining five measure a whopping 47 mm. Normally, I would instantly disregard such watches because even for, say, a Panerai that size is a bit much. But this is Louis Moinet, so ordinary rules don’t apply. While these watches are not small, their beauty and craftsmanship make them like the super-size option of your favorite guilty-pleasure food.
Louis Moinet 8 Marvels of the World: Colosseum
Louis Moinet’s trip around the world starts in Rome with the Colosseum. This amphitheater completed under Emperor Titus in 80 A.D. could hold up to 50,000 people to enjoy a great variety of shows, from plays to the famed gladiator fights. The Colosseum could even be flooded to reenact naval battles.
Colosseum is the most abstract piece in the eight-watch collection with its symmetrical dial set on the inside with a rainbow of baguette-cut sapphires. The engraved dial pattern represents the seats, paths, and archways that give this marvel of the world its recognizable character.
The bezel is unadorned, the only one of the eight, but on the sides of the case we see the windows and the entryways of the world’s most famous arena. This adds a great deal of depth and brings the design of this watch together.
Louis Moinet 8 Marvels of the World: Blue Mosque
Creating a miniature version of the famed Blue Mosque in Istanbul isn’t easy. An important starting point for the pilgrimage to Mecca, the mosque is known for being the last example of classic Ottoman architecture.
Officially named the Sultan Ahmet Mosque after the ruler during whose reign the building was erected, it is colloquially known as the Blue Mosque because of the building’s distinctive 20,000 blue tiles. The artisans re-created the mosque on the dial by first engraving and then painting it. Its six minarets are made out of 13 mother-of-pearl elements, each in a different shade of blue.
The case, lugs, and bezel feature an intricate, deeply carved arabesque motif, adding a dash of elegance while perfectly framing the image of this breathtaking human achievement.
Louis Moinet 8 Marvels of the World: Petra
Petra was once a thriving city on the silk road. Because it is half built and half carved, it seems to emerge from the surrounding rock. Louis Moinet recreated this effect by combining three techniques for the first time in watchmaking.
A bas-relief engraving was crafted on a slightly rounded base to add three-dimensionality and depth. Then shade was added by a grisaille pictorial technique followed by a fresco painting as the finishing touch. This last step requires great expertise as the painting needs to be finished before the plaster dries so that it becomes one with the pigments of the paint.
The result is stunning. It seems like you are standing in front of the original building. This is also the only watch in the 8 Marvels of the World collection in a white gold case, adding a pleasant contrast that makes the dial stand out even more.
Louis Moinet 8 Marvels of the World: Pyramid of Khufu
The Great Pyramid of Giza is perhaps one of the most well-known heritage sites in the world. With their complex and distinct culture, the ancient Egyptians have always attracted the attention of the rest of the world.
Here, Louis Moinet once again takes a road less traveled. Known for a passion for exotic precious and semiprecious stones, the base of this dial is Willow Creek jasper, a natural stone that recreates the sands of Egypt perfectly.
A transparency technique is used to apply barely-there hieroglyphics that add a sense of mystery. The pyramid itself is made of gold, with a capstone of electrum, a now-rare naturally occurring gold-and-silver alloy that was greatly appreciated by the Egyptians.
The pyramid’s base is formed by a gold carving on which grains of enamel represent the limestone facings that originally covered this massive tomb. The image of Khufu, also known as Cheops, the pharaoh buried in the great pyramid, is carved from black basalt decorated with gold paint.
The engraving of the case and bezel features the lotus flowers that the ancient Egyptians also cut into the tops of their columns. The lugs feature the cartouche of Pharaoh Khufu, which is represented in great detail. It gives this watch an authentic feel, almost like the old pharaoh could have worn it himself.
Louis Moinet 8 Marvels of the World: Taj Mahal
Louis Moinet could have very easily reproduced images of the famous buildings and still have had a great collection of watches. It says a lot about the brand that it considers shortcuts as cutting a corner on creativity. Instead, the brand often pursues a more creative approach as highlighted by the Taj Mahal model.
The observer takes in all the glory of this grand, romantic mausoleum through a traditional moucharabieh window, making the artistic view even more imposing. Like the building itself, the dial is made of white marble, but features a micro painting in which even the smallest detail of the monument can be recognized.
For the case, Louis Moinet opted for engravings of Indian mandala patterns and ornamental representations of the Taj Mahal, while the bezel features a Mughal motif that frames and highlights the beauty of the dial.
Louis Moinet 8 Marvels of the World: Great Wall of China
This collection would not be complete without the Great Wall of China. Visible even from the moon, the wall stretches for more than 6,200 kilometers, all the way from Beijing to the Gobi Desert.
The dial is exceptionally precious with the wall and a dragon hand-engraved in pink gold in great detail. The path on top of the wall is made of jade, while a mountain made of white gold is off in the distance.
This scene is set under a night sky consisting of 129 brilliant-cut, snow-set blue sapphires in different shades. Eleven brilliant-cut diamonds take on the role of stars. The dragon theme returns in the bezel, lugs, and sides of the case, yet with some restraint so as not to take too much attention away from the stunning dial.
Louis Moinet 8 Marvels of the World: Christ the Redeemer
The most modern creation to be displayed on the dial of one of Louis Moinet’s 8 Marvels of the World is Christ the Redeemer. This enormous statue completed in 1931 stands atop Mount Corvocado looking over the Brazilian metropolis Rio de Janeiro. With its outstretched arms spanning 28 meters, it seems to want to embrace the entire city.
On the watch, the statue is engraved in white gold and surrounded by enamel scenery. The sea was first engraved and then covered with a slightly translucent shade of azure, while the mountainous islands feature opaque grand feu enamel. The bright-colored city buildings are an enamel micro painting.
Combined these elements are nothing short of mesmerizing: the observer feels like an eagle gazing over the shoulder of the famed statue, across the city and into the distance.
Louis Moinet 8 Marvels of the World: Machu Picchu
We stay in South America now for a visit to Machu Picchu. What was once an important holy city of the Inca empire is now one of the world’s most beautiful ruins, not in the least because of its stunning location. On the edge of the Amazon rainforest at an altitude of 2,438 meters, the site sits between two peaks, Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu.
Louis Moinet used rare Yowah Nut opal to re-create these mountains on the dial, which flank the central Crazy Lace agate pointing to the sun at 12 o’clock. The ruined city is intricately carved in pink gold. Green lacquer is used to highlight the terraces, adding even more depth to the dial.
The sky is a micro painting and includes four Andean condors, the national symbol of Peru, painted in the style of the Nazca, a pre-Colombian civilization. Nazcan geoglyphs also decorate the bezel and case, further infusing this watch with character.
Louis Moinet Wonders of the World presentation case
These eight unique watches come in a travel trunk that is a piece of art in its own right. It is crafted from natural elm burr and decorated with the Louis Moinet logo, the fleur-de-lis, in silver. Leather straps both secure the case and act as carrying handles.
Inside, the owner will discover not only the eight watches but also a watercolor print by Johan Gabriel Doppelmayr (1677–1750), a German astronomer and cartographer most famous for publishing several important scientific works about mathematics and astronomy. Doppelmayr was also well known for his work on celestial maps and globes; one of the craters of the moon is named after him. It is typical for Louis Moinet to include such uncommon things with its creations, adding even more to their desirability.
For more information, please visit www.louismoinet.com/travel-trunks/8-marvels-of-the-world.
Quick Facts Louis Moinet 8 Marvels of the World Collection
Case: 47 mm or 45.4 mm, pink or white gold
Movement: manual winding Caliber LM35 with one-minute tourbillon, 21,600 vph/ 3 Hz frequency, 72-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 8 unique pieces, one for each marvel of the world
Price: on request