Louis Moinet SA is a luxury goods brand based in the picturesque location of Saint-Blaise, Switzerland. The company derives its name from the legendary watchmaker Louis Moinet. Amongst his many achievements he is now acknowledged as the inventor of the chronograph. In 1816 this pioneer developed a revolutionary instrument, which was capable of measuring time to a sixteenth of a second. Amazingly the balance of the movement oscillated at an unbelievable speed of 216,000 vibrations per hour. Impressively this mechanism maintained the world record for high frequency until the early Twentieth century.
Although Louis Moinet SA is not affiliated with the historical watchmaker it adheres to a lot of his standards. Presently the business is owned and operated by the charismatic Jean-Marie Schaller. From our many conversations I can see how passionate he is about watchmaking. In my opinion they manufacture some of the nicest looking timepieces on the market. This year the company unveiled three exciting new models at the world watch fair in Basel. These watches are called the Astrolabe (featured in my Baselworld Part I article ), Mecanograph City and Dragon Tourbillon.
When I last spoke to Jean-Marie Schaller he advised me that (apart from Baselworld) the company had attended shows in Mexico, Bahrain and Doha. Their proactive approach is laudable and based on recent evidence they are getting the recognition they deserve. The Dragon Tourbillon is a perfect example of all their hard work and efforts. Dimensionally the timepiece has a generous diameter of 47mm, which should appeal to masculine tastes. I also suspect the watch would feel fairly lightweight and comfortable to wear. Ultimately this is down to the stylish 59-part case and use of opulent 18-karat rose gold in production. Realistically this exclusive timepiece would be reserved for special occasions rather than everyday use.
Visually the timepiece has a fantastic three-dimensional silhouette. For this sensational artistic creation Louis Moinet have drawn inspiration from Chinese culture. The 18-karat gold and black jade dial is composed of multiple layers and includes a hand engraved illustration of a dragon. This incredible feature involved 50 hours of painstaking work from a master craftsman. Other successful design elements include delicate open worked hour/minute hands and a marvelous exposed rotating tourbillon (located at 6 o’clock). Overall the composition is refined and the attention to detail is mind blowing.
Beneath the magnificent façade lies a highly sophisticated manual winding caliber. This movement comprises 19-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. The mechanism has been meticulously decorated with the “Côtes du Jura” pattern and is visible through sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Dragon Tourbillon features hours, minutes and seconds (displayed on the rotating tourbillon). The watch also has a power reserve of 72 hours and is water resistant to a depth of 30 metres.
The Dragon Tourbillon is limited to 12 pieces and is equipped with a hand stitched Ostrich leather strap.