Baselworld 2015 - Memoris by Louis Moinet, the first chronograph-watch
Memoris is a combination of the 220 years since the invention of the chronograph and the 10 years since the re-launch of the brand that pays tribute to Louis Moinet. The piece focuses on chronograph functions.
Let’s reverse the roles for a while. Not just because it will give some creative watchmaking mind something to think about but because this brand’s name must celebrate the fact that its founding father was really the inventor of the chronograph. To be more specific, Moinet’s “Compteur de Tierces” was created before the word “chronograph” – literally “writing time “– entered watchmaking jargon. Moinet’s piece comprised all the chronographic functions that define today any watch able to measure time lapses.
The new “Memoris” will be produced in two series of 60 copies in pink and white gold respectively. It sees the idea of role reversal through since it is the first ever chronograph-watch in watchmaking history. The 46-mm piece is essentially a chronograph with a complication that indicates the time.
The third approach: open worked chronographs
Until now, there have only been two approaches to designing and producing chronographs. The first one is to add a chronograph module to an existing caliber by adapting the latter to hold the new plate that carries out the desired function. The second one is to design a caliber equipped with chronograph functions right from the start. From now on, with the creation of “Memoris”, there will be a third approach. “We started the other way round: we decided to forget about the past and made the chronograph the starting point and central element of our creation. Then, we added the hour function”, confirmed Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO at Louis Moinet. Once completed, the caliber LM54 had a 48-hour power reserve, a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour and was made of 302 components of which 60 are specifically assigned to the role reversal.
Now, the question was whether any manufacturer would be willing to take on the challenge and adopt this new perspective. Concepto, the company which accompanied Louis Moinet since its creation, understood what was at stake with this mechanical madness and decided to join the adventure.
A noble chronograph uses a column wheel of traditional coupling – traditionally a single push-piece which is complicated to produce. Here, the additional difficulty lied in the fact that Memoris opted for full visibility, which meant moving the chronograph function on the dial. The caliber LM54 has a 48-hour power reserve, a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour and is made of 302 components of which 60 are specifically assigned to the role reversal.
The piece allows us to admire the setting into motion of the chronograph and at the same time have fun playing with its functions. Amongst those functions, we find interlocking, stopping, resetting and a fascinating mechanical sight of the column wheel that engages the cams and gears. Nothing interferes with the spectacle, as Louis Moinet placed the gear trains, also known as the “hour complication”, at the back of the movement, under the plate. Indeed, the chronograph got the main position. Not only does it fill the whole dial space very confidently but it also draws attention and throws the conception that is should be an additional module right out the window.
Rubies on the lugs?
The name Louis Moinet does not only evoke the richness of its legitimate and coherent messages such as its universal watchmaking history, its creativity, its technicality and its watchmaking expertise. It also involves beauty, aesthetics and the subtle attention it pays to finishes. Hence, Memoris is equipped with a new case, dial, oscillating mass and even a new deployment buckle as well as new hands. These were all specifically developed for the piece. Almost all elements on external parts were redeveloped for this new watch, which Louis Moinet will be presenting at BaselWorld 2015.
On the case’s lugs, the brand even affixed rubies as well as the sort of mini anti-shock systems that are usually used inside calibers: “We thought that smooth and fluid pivoting was not the prerogative of gear trains only”, Jean-Marie Schaller explained. He is thrilled and proud that they have found a means to pay a special and creative tribute to the great master watchmaker Louis Moinet with the very first chronograph-watch. A tribute that is well worthy of being considered a piece of watchmaking art.