The history of watchmaking was rewritten on May 14, 2012, at a Christie’s auction in Geneva. On that day, Jean-Marie had to fight tooth and nail to buy Louis Moinet Memoris Superlight Compteur de Tierces, despite its relatively low estimated worth of CHF 3,000-5,000. As a painstaking examination later proved, the piece turned out to be the world’s first ever chronograph, as certified by Guinness World Records.
Completed in 1816, this precision instrument was also the forerunner of high-frequency timekeeping, beating at 216,000 vibrations per hour. It measured sixtieths of a second, making it the most precise measuring instrument of any kind in its day.
The purpose of the chronograph?
Of all horological complications, the chronograph remains the most useful. In sport, it’s the final arbiter, determining which driver has done the fastest lap, which athlete has broken the 100 metres world record, and so on. There are chronograph applications virtually everywhere – measuring everything from a patient’s pulse to the speed of a moving object.
A spectacular, contemporary design
The originality of Memoris resides in the separation of the chronograph (with its 147 components) from the automatic mechanism (155 components). For the first time ever, the entire chronograph has been positioned at the top of the watch, with the automatic part located beneath the plate.
The column wheel – the heart and soul of Memoris
The Memoris column wheel takes pride of place on the front of the watch, at 12 o’clock. This component coordinates the chronograph functions with the minutes hammer, blocking lever, and clutch.
The universal monopusher
Of all complications, the chronograph offers the most opportunities for the wearer to interact with their watch.
Memoris is a visual delight, too. With a single gentle touch on the monopusher, a unique performance unfolds before your eyes. All of the components of the chronograph – yokes, clutch, hammers, column wheel, springs and wheels – are set in motion, responding to each other as they serve their ultimate purpose: measuring a specific time.
It’s worth noting that in spite of their extreme complexity, all these operations are managed by a single monopusher, controlling all three chronograph functions.
An exceptional case
Memoris offers a whole new look. Its curved 46-millimetre case features a unique waterproofing system. Emblazoned with the Louis Moinet signature, its lugs boast four black zircons and screwed settings. Another elegant and subtle detail: the two chevé concave sapphire crystals.
The case, fashioned in grade 5 titanium, has a polished, satin-effect finish. Non-corrosive titanium allows for the manufacture of slim, lightweight components; here, the case weighs less than 31 grammes, making it especially comfortable on the wrist.
Ateliers Louis Moinet Memoris Superlight was founded in Saint-Blaise, Neuchâtel, in 2004. The fully independent firm was established to honour the memory of Louis Moinet (1768-1853): master watchmaker, inventor of the chronograph in 1816 (certified by Guinness World Records), and pioneer in the use of very high frequencies (216,000 vibrations per hour). Louis Moinet was a watchmaker, scholar, painter, sculptor, and teacher at the School of Fine Arts – as well as the author of the Traité d’Horlogerie, a watchmaking treatise published in 1848 that remained a definitive work of reference for a century.
Today, Ateliers Louis Moinet Memoris Superlight is perpetuating this legacy. The firm’s mechanical timepieces are produced as one-of-a-kind models or limited editions only and comprise two categories: “Cosmic Art” and “Mechanical Wonders”. Louis Moinet creations often make use of unusual and rare components, such as extraterrestrial meteorites or prehistorical materials. The brand’s core values are creativity, exclusivity, art and design. This uniquely creative mechanical approach combined with bespoke fine watchmaking has enabled Louis Moinet to win some of the most coveted honours around the world, including a UNESCO Award of Merit, six Red Dot Design Awards (including one Best of the Best Award), a Horological Creativity Contribution Award, gold and bronze medals in the International Chronometry Competition, ten Good Design Awards, three Middle East Watch of the Year Awards, two Robb Report “Best of the Best” Awards, three German Design Awards, a Moscow Grand Prix Award, and a “Chronograph of the year” distinction from Begin Magazine, Japan.