The Louis Moinet Moon Race is a set of four, one-of-a-kind watches that depict four significant lunar conquests. The watches are enriched with various artistic crafts and each timepiece is equipped with a hand-wound tourbillon, the Calibre LM35. Once again, Louis Moinet has shown its incredible creativity, while demonstrating its continued fondness for space exploration and celestial objects.
John F. Kennedy famously said. “Some men see things as they are and ask, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?” This perfectly illustrates how some individuals view life, or the world in which we live, differently from their contemporaries.
When I look at the moon I view it as a useful means of illumination on a dark night or an attractive backdrop to a romantic beachside encounter. Jean-Marie Schaller, the CEO and Creative Director of Louis Moinet, views the moon, in fact the universe as a whole, from an alternative angle.
Schaller is fascinated with objects from space clearly admires those men and women who have courageously journeyed to the moon. If you listen to him talk about space travel, astronomy and meteorites you will discover he possesses an encyclopaedic knowledge on such subjects. His fascination for celestial objects and phenomena has led him to create several watches inspired by Mars, the Moon, space travel, Russian cosmonauts, stars and much more.
At Watches & Wonders, the esteemed Swiss brand, Louis Moinet, known for its incredible creativity unveiled a set of four, one-of-a-kind watches with each one depicting a specific lunar conquest.
The first watch in the Louis Moinet Moon Race series represents the first space probe landing on the moon (1966). Its dial features a hand-engraved depiction of the moon, aventurine glass and miniature painting, while the bezel also encompasses hand-engraving.
For the second model, Louis Moinet returns to the momentous events of 1969 when Apollo 11 ventured into space and Neil Armstrong took his first tentative steps upon the moon’s surface. This giant leap for mankind is depicted with a breathtaking lunar scene. The appearance of the astronaut’s spacesuit is portrayed with hand engraving while the helmet’s visor is made from an authentic fragment of polyimide film. This latter material protected the spacecraft from incredible heat when it re-entered the earth’s atmosphere. It is eye-wateringly expensive to buy. Once again, Louis Moinet has employed the artisanal talents of a specialist engraver to decorate the bezel by hand.
The third timepiece focuses on the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission (1970) which suffered an explosion in one of its oxygen tanks when heading for the moon, crippling the spacecraft. Its lunar landing was aborted and the seven-man crew had to circumnavigate around the moon before they could return to earth. Agate, granite, polymide film, onyx, blue Pietersite from Namibia and black astralite are combined to form a harmonious scene, while the bezel is hand-engraved enriching its surface with becoming depths and texture.
The last episode in this tetralogy is the ‘Last on the Moon’ (1976), an artistic representation of the Luna 24 probe landing on the Moon in the unexplored region of Mare Crisium. This probe collected 170 grams of lunar soil samples, used to determine the existence of water on the moon. The probe is depicted on the dial which encompasses a real piece of Luna 24 (resin-coated braided fibre), azurite-malachite, yellow Pietersite and black aventurine. Consistent with its lunar-themed siblings, the watch is endowed with a hand-engraved bezel.
Each member of the Louis Moinet Moon Race collection is housed in a 47mm gold case and is equipped with the Calibre LM35 hand-wound tourbillon movement. This movement was awarded ‘first prize in the International Chronometry Competition’. Furthermore, the four watches are supplied in an impressive trunk made of elm burr wood, adorned with the brand’s logo and fitted with two cognac-coloured straps.
There are some brands that play it safe, conforming to watchmaking’s accepted norms, and there are others that don’t. Clearly, Louis Moinet embraces the latter philosophy and with these latest timepieces, Jean-Marie Schaller has, once again, looked to the heavens and asked, ‘Why not?’