The intriguing Universe of Louis Moinet

Petrified dinosaur bones, watches that contain the origins of time, the discovery of the first chronograph — Louis Moinet has fashioned an intriguing brand universe inhabited by a small population of highly sophisticated timepieces. Louis Moinet, professor of arts, was also the most modest but not the least talented of the elite horologists who worked in early 19th-century Paris and invented the ingenious mechanical devices that still delight us today. Highly respected by his peers, Louis Berthoud, Abraham-Louis Breguet, Antide Janvier, Joseph Winnerl among them, he went on to write a treatise on horology that became the watchmaker’s bible in the 19th century. The brand that claims his legacy follows Moinet’s precept that a timepiece, more than any other instrument, must be conceived and made as a work of art. The results are undoubtedly watches of the finest workmanship, expressed in the most challenging mechanisms — tourbillons, split-seconds chronographs and even an orrery representing the entire solar system. Such mechanical art can only be made in limited editions or as unique pieces and Louis Moinet’s annual production is in the low hundreds.

The chronograph

The brand has recently sprung another surprise — the discovery of the earliest true chronograph, an instrument made by Louis Moinet in 1816 that incorporates all the functions of the modern chronograph: start, stop and return to zero. The revelation that Louis Moinet was the father of the chronograph is a major step towards fulfilling Jean-Marie Schaller’s ambition of restoring Louis Moinet and the eponymous brand to their deserved position in watchmaking’s hall of fame.