Louis Moinet the Mecanograph
Louis Moinet reborn after 160 years
Great artists never die. Even though Louis Moinet left this world on May 21, 1853, his work will always be with us. The recent discovery of the first chronograph ever made brought his name and his work to wider public notice. This highly important horological item had been hidden in a European royal collection for more than 150 years before surfacing at auction to proclaim the genius of its creator.
It’s a fair assessment if you consider Louis Moinet’s reputation among his contemporaries. According to the vice-president of the Paris chronometry society, Monsieur Delmas, “Louis Moinet is undeniably one of the most capable horologists that has ever appeared in any country.”
Louis Moinet wrote in his treatise on watchmaking, Traité d’Horlogerie, that “the true artist should never be behind the times.” It’s a modest assertion by this accomplished artist, craftsman, and inventor, if you consider that the high frequency of his chronograph was 100 years ahead of its time.
Despite his eminent status in 19th-century watchmaking, Louis Moinet’s work has been largely forgotten. The Ateliers Louis Moinet aims to revive the name of this creative genius. Research has brought some of his masterpieces to light and an exhibition space will shortly be opened in Saint-Blaise. The treasures of the past include ornate clocks of great artistry, complicated pocket-watches, a counter and original manuscripts, period documents as well as several editions of his influential Traité d’Horlogerie (1848).
The Ateliers Louis Moinet are at Saint-Blaise in Canton Neuchâtel’s watchmaking heartland. This independent company was started by Jean-Marie Schaller 15 years ago with the aim of producing watches according to Louis Moinet’s horological approach: technology wrapped in art.
The company’s goal is “to restore Louis Moinet to his rightful place in watchmaking’s hall of fame.” The Ateliers Louis Moinet specialise in limited editions and unique pieces of distinctive design.
Louis Moinet’s new watch at Baselworld 2013 is the Mecanograph, a COSC-certified chronometer. A large opening in the dial artfully frames the escapement, train and balance, beating eight times a second, as a mechanical sculpture. Mecanograph pays tribute to Louis Moinet, a great watch and clockmaker of the 19th century and president of the Paris chronometry society, which strove to promote the science of time measurement as one of humanity’s greatest achievements.
MECANOGRAPH, the chronograph that visibly vibrates
Eight vibrations a second — the visible performance of the high-precision COSC-certified MECANOGRAPH. Treat yourself to the mesmerizing sight of the perpetually beating balance-wheel with its adjustment screws and the busy action of the escapement lever with its ruby palettes releasing the slow rotation of the train wheels. The entire left half of the dial is open to reveal the relentless minuet of this proprietary movement. Suspended above the precision machinery, the seconds hand adds to the breathtaking three-dimensional effect. The MECANOGRAPH was created in tribute to Louis Moinet, a leading watch and clockmaker of the 19th century and president of the Paris chronometrical society.
The MECANOGRAPH returns to Baselworld this year in a new 18K rose gold case (5N) with a black or silvered dial. A fine havana dial with unusual tints is also matched with a case of polished grade 5 titanium and 5N 18K rose gold.
MECANOGRAPH innovates in terms of the technology of self-winding watches, by updating an historical operating system. Within this distinctive and rare mechanism, small and large pawls work together with the automatic winding gear train. In addition to its spectacularly attractive appearance, it offers the advantages of a bidirectional winding system.
Calibre LM31 was entirely conceived and crafted by Louis Moinet and Concepto. It is composed of 182 different elements and displays chronometer-worthy precision, as is confirmed by its COSC certificate. Nonetheless, its most remarkable characteristic is the way in which it reveals the entire regulating organ, as well as the escapement and its gear train, highlighted by the anthracite coating on the mainplate and bridges.
One of the main challenges was to insert the seconds hand within this magnificent mechanical ensemble. This has been done by means of a distinctively shaped applique and a double read-off hand, thereby affording a new vision of time.
Viewed from the back, the balance with screws shows a different and original face compared with the front view. It is fitted within a set of anthracite-coloured bridges adorned with “Côtes du Jura”® and enhanced with 26 jewels made using the Verneuil process and presented through openings, as well as by blued steel screws.
To achieve its chronometer-level precision, the manufacture-made movement LM31 vibrates 8 times a second, meaning 28,800 vibrations per hour. It is endowed with a 48-hour power reserve and the rotor is mounted on a high-tech ceramic ball bearing mechanism.
This exceptional movement asserts its originality through the strong character of its exterior.
The external minute track as well as a half-dial adorned with the emblematic “Côtes du Jura”® motif contribute to forging the elegant spirit of this watch with its strong personality. The time is read off on hands designed by Louis Moinet and nicknamed “Gouttes de Rosée”® (for their dewdrop design).
The case is made from grade 5 titanium with polished and satin-brushed finishing. Two versions combine 18-carat rose gold and titanium. The design echoes the Louis Moinet signature codes, meaning an upper six-screw bezel and its unique interchangeable crown tube system for which an invention patent has been filed.
MECANOGRAPH is a unique creation issued in various 60 and 365-piece limited editions destined to be worn by devotees of creative horology.
- LM-31.20.50 - 365 watches - Grade 5 titanium, black dial
- LM-31.20.60 - 365 watches - Grade 5 titanium, silver dial
- LM-31.40.55 - 365 watches - Grade 5 titanium & 18K rose gold, black dial
- LM-31.40.65 - 365 watches - Grade 5 titanium & 18K rose gold, silver dial
- LM-31.40.95 - 365 watches - Grade 5 titanium & 18K rose gold, havana dial
- LM-31.50.55 - 60 watches - 18K rose gold, black dial
- LM-31.50.65 - 60 watches - 18K rose gold, silver dial
Features and functions
- Hours & Minutes
- Running seconds, suspended at 9 o’clock
Dial & Hands
- 12 – 6 o’clock : “Côtes du Jura”® design
- 6 – 12 o’clock : visible mechanism
- “Gouttes de Rosée”® (dewdrop) design, rhodium or gold-plated
Movement and finishing
- Mechanical self-winding composed of 182 parts
- Calibre LM31, developed and manufacture-made by Louis Moinet and Concepto
- Winding: Self-winding
- Oscillations: 28,800 vph (8 V/S, 8 vibrations per second)
- Frequency: 4 Hz
- Lines: 13 ¼
- Power reserve: 48 hours at maximum wind
- Jewels: 26
- Balance: Glucydur
- Rotor: Mounted on high-tech ceramic ball bearings featuring a “Côtes du Jura”® design
Case and strap
- Case: Original Louis Moinet® design featuring six-screw bezel
- Materials: Grade 5 titanium with polished and matt finishing
- 5N 18-carat rose gold, polished finishing
Diameter: 43.50 mm
- Thickness: 15.60 mm
- Water resistance: 50 metres
- Case-back: Equipped with 7 screws, engraved with individual number and Louis Moinet symbols
- Crystals: Two sapphire crystals with anti-glare treatment on both sides
- Crown guard: Patent pending
- Width between lugs: 24mm
- Strap: Hand-sewn Louisiana alligator leather with alligator leather lining
- Buckle: Double folding clasp in 316L stainless steel
- Louis Moinet book, hand-written guarantee