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Watches and Wonders
Louis Moinet - Head in the Stars, Feet on the Ground

Louis Moinet Head in the Stars, Feet on the Ground

The Saint-Blaise workshop is doubling down on its artistic direction: works of art, both cosmological and horological. A clutch of new releases show that these two segments can happily coexist

Remaining faithful to the brand DNA while exploring new territories; reassuring existing clients while winning over new ones – this apparent contradiction often pits watch brand CEOs against their artistic directors. But it has never been a problem for Ateliers Louis Moinet, whose CEO and artistic director are (and always have been) one and the same: Jean-Marie Schaller.

For Watches & Wonders, the 100% independent watchmaker is continuing along two parallel paths. On one side, there are the traditional arts of watchmaking; and on the other, cosmic art and artifacts, showcased in more original creations.

Memoris remains at the heart of the more traditional side of the business. This model was unveiled in 2016 as the first “watch-chronograph”, complete with complication visible on the dial side. This magisterial, iconic creation (one that Czapek has recently attempted to follow) became Louis Moinet’s flagship product. It is in perfect congruence with a brand heritage based on the invention of the chronograph in 1816.

Memoris joins the Race

This year, the new Time to Race collection is infused with the spirit of Memoris. It’s the first iteration of the iconic chronograph to feature in a motor racing context. On the dial we see the sumptuous chronograph mechanism, visible in its entirety, which drives two subdials for hours and minutes, and the crucial large central hand.

Head in the Stars, Feet on the Ground

Collection Time to Race - Green Racing - Rosso Corsa - Bleu de France © Louis Moinet

The Time to Race collection comes with a number of new features. The most obvious is a new case, whose original 46 mm has been pared down to 40.7 m. This was quite a challenge given that the movement alone measures 30.8 mm. Consequently, Time to Race is a far sleeker, more nervy and compact creation than its older cousin. The smaller diameter also broadens its appeal to a far wider audience than the 46mm Memoris which, although appropriate to its context, is nevertheless an imposing presence on the wrist.

Another new feature for this model – as well as being a first for Louis Moinet – is the rubber strap. The sharply styled band comes in three different colours to match the first three limited series available in the Time to Race collection: Rosso Corsa, Racing Green and Bleu de France. Each of these colours is repeated on the hands, and on another rather ingenious development: a new kind of ring that is half bezel, half dial flange. This appears to be a completely new concept, and provides the ideal solution to gaining those precious millimetres Louis Moinet needed to bring the titanium case down to a diameter of 40.7 mm.

Head in the Stars, Feet on the Ground

Time to Race Rosso Corsa © Louis Moinet

Finally, the centre of the dial at 6 o’clock incorporates a completely new element: a lucky number, something no racing driver would be without! The numbers are hollowed out of the white lacquered disc and filled with black lacquer. Collectors can commission their own unique piece in one of the three colours, with the lucky number of their choice. This makes Time to Race not so much a limited series as a collection of unique pieces.

Head in the Stars, Feet on the Ground

Memoris Spirit © Louis Moinet

High Spirits

Louis Moinet has also unveiled the Memoris Spirit in its most horological segment. This watch, also in a 40.7 mm case, is available in two limited series ¬– titanium and rose gold – with a purer and more technical time display. It very clearly harks back to the company’s technical timekeeping origins. Although the new diameter is deliberately unisex, given that chronographs do not generally appeal to women, it will be interesting to see how this watch is received.

Head in the Stars, Feet on the Ground

Memoris Spirit © Louis Moinet

Eternal Tempograph

Finally, the eternal Tempograph, with its 20-second retrograde hand, is back in a Spirit version with the new 40.7 mm case. The “dewdrop” hands present in previous models have been sidelined in favour of a more modern geometry to complement the Roman numerals and applied indices on the dial. Although designed almost a decade ago, the Tempograph once again demonstrates its modernity and versatility, and its ability to adapt to a more contemporary aesthetic. Like Memoris, the Tempograph remains a signature creation of Louis Moinet, one whose uniqueness continues to fascinate.

Head in the Stars, Feet on the Ground

Collection Tempograph © Louis Moinet

In terms of cosmic art, Louis Moinet has unveiled several new creations: Super Moon, Mars Mission and Space Agency. Featuring silicon, aventurine and genuine fragments collected from space, these timepieces grant their wearers access to a piece of space exploration history, on their wrist. 

Head in the Stars, Feet on the Ground

Tempograph © Louis Moinet

 

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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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