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20th Anniversary
Louis Moinet - Jean-Marie Schaller

Louis Moinet Jean-Marie Schaller


Born and bred in the Swiss Jura, Jean-Marie Schaller is a true son of this watchmaking land, which nurtured his passion for time and its measurement. After more than 60 years of adventures up hill and down dale, his passion burns as strongly as ever. While he himself is not a watchmaker, he is perhaps one of those best-qualified to talk about the craft – with his heart and soul.

At the turn of the millennium, one name kept cropping up for him: a certain ‘Louis Moinet’, a watchmaker whose reputation endured through the 18th and 19th centuries. Moinet was a watchmaker and much more besides: a scientist, astronomer, painter, sculptor, Fine Arts lecturer, and author of a treatise on watchmaking whose influence has spanned continents and stood the test of centuries. Jean-Marie Schaller had a hunch that he had stumbled on a little-known genius. In 2004, he left his job in Bienne and together with two partners, laid the foundations for Ateliers Louis Moinet. The story had begun.

Jean-Marie Schaller

Jean-Marie Schaller © Louis Moinet

It did so with a blank page. Louis Moinet may have once been an eminent expert in watchmaking, but he was a total unknown in the 21st century – an unbearable injustice that Jean-Marie Schaller set out to correct. To do so, he gathered a small team, took up residence on the outskirts of Neuchâtel, bought all of Louis Moinet’s original timepieces, set up the first museum in the world in his honour, and began designing watches that were worthy heirs to Moinet’s timepieces. And in 2013, one particular discovery put Ateliers Louis Moinet firmly on the map: the first-ever chronograph, still in perfect working order and dating back to 1816, was found – bearing Louis Moinet’s name. Jean-Marie Schaller saw Ateliers Louis Moinet move into the spotlight. Distinctions poured in, including a Guinness World Record, and scores of other prizes. A timepiece was created for the occasion: Memoris. It was a fitting way to commemorate this illustrious past.

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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Ateliers Louis Moinet was born out of the passion of one man, and this is clearly to be seen in each of its creations. The Maison takes the concept of exclusivity to its height, producing only limited editions.

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