It was the year 1816 when Louis Monet (1768 - 1853) invented the first chronograph in history.
The maker had originally coined his creation "Compteur de Tierces" (thirds-timer in French) and the timepiece was unprecedented and exceptional as it measured events to the sixtieth of a second, known in those days as a third or "tierce".
Back in the 19th century, watchmakers had sought to increase the precision with which they could measure time by increasing the frequency of their watches. By 1820 the generally accepted limit was time measurement to the tenth of a second.
This meant Moinet's chronograph was thus by far the most precise instrument of its period, measuring time 6 times more closely than the norm. This invention was a historical achievement that places him among the great contributors to modern watchmaking.
An exceptional man of his times, Moinet was made a Professor of Fine Arts at the Louvre, served as President of the Chronometry Society of Paris and was personal adviser to famed horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet. In the course of his career, he would create some of the most extraordinary clocks for the most eminent figures of his era including Napoleon Bonaparte, Tsar Alexander Ist, American Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, King George IV of England, King of Naples Marshal Murat, Marshal Ney, along with many crowned heads spanning Europe. Source Wikipedia
This year, Ateliers Louis Moinet is unveiling an anniversary version of its MEMORIS timepiece, created for the bicentenary of the Chronograph.
Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO of Ateliers Louis Moinet explains, "Following on from the first Memoris watches, unveiled in 2015 to celebrate our tenth anniversary, this bicentennial edition opens up a whole new chapter of celebrations – and the next decade of Louis Moinet creations."
The special edition timepiece is housed in a 46 mm rose gold case featuring alternating brushed and polished finishes, and bears the Louis Moinet signature on the side.
52 parts are held together by six visible, functional screws on the bezel. Chevé concave crystals made from scratchproof sapphire, top off the dial.
Within, the chronograph has been moved to the fore. When the pusher is depressed, every single aspect of the chronograph's action can be seen in its entirety. The column wheel orchestrates the graceful ballet of the mechanism of steel and gears, passing information to the hands.
To ensure no part of the chronograph mechanism is obscured, the counters are made from a specially-manufactured translucent material.
The innovative movement has been designed for and around the chronograph, with the time mechanism on the back of the automatic movement, beneath the plate.
Sporting an all-exclusive decoration, the centrepiece of the MEMORIS is a special shade of midnight blue, a reflection of the colour of the night sky. Individually hand-engraved stars, each crafted using a brand new fixed graver technique, of different angles and depths so that each and every one captures as much light as possible, also feature on the dial. To achieve this requires attaching a specially-made lathe to a traditional rose engine (also known as a guillocheuse).
The method differs from that produced by milling or stamping: while it resembles the effect traditionally associated with a guillocheuse inasmuch as material is removed, here the process focuses on a tiny area with varying levels of depth – two characteristics that traditional engine turning seeks to avoid at all costs.
The finished result is the splendour of the night captured within a watch, with stars seemingly shining, twinkling with unique splendour against the backdrop of the blue plate beneath them.
The MEMORIS Anniversaire comes in a limited edition run of only 20 pieces.
The Carbon Collective is the exclusive distributor of Louis Moinet in Singapore.