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Baselworld 2015 – Louis Moinet Memoris

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A watch complication can often be seen as secondary to the main event. That of course being the telling of time. Louis Moinet sees it differently.

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With the advent of the Chronograph nearly 200 years ago by one Louis Moinet, (the name the brand is named after) and 10 years since its’ re-introduction as an atelier. This year saw the reveal of a new piece from the brand. A piece that makes the chronograph the main event of the watch.

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Interestingly enough Jean-Marie Schaller, the CEO of the modern Louis Moinet brand refers to the Memoris as watch-chronograph, and not a chronograph watch. So here the Chronograph takes centre stage. This is taken literally as the apparently open worked dial is indeed open worked but does not reveal anything about the timekeeping.

It puts prominently in the centre of the dial, just under the 12 o’clock marker the column wheel. Yes you read that right, the column wheel, normally found only on the back through a display caseback. The full poetry in motion is visible for all to see, especially the owner! So make sure you use that beautiful oversized chronograph pusher. Funnily enough the pusher reminded me of a plunger on a track stopwatch.

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What you will find very interesting is that Louis Moinet has taken all the time to ensure that all the watch components that are visible are finished impeccably. Bevelled and polished to within an inch of its life.

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Talking about finishing, there are always parts which escape the gaze of the casual enthusiast, like myself, there is an intriguing mechanical system to wind the mainspring when the rotor spins in both directions. This is an amazing feat of ingenuity from such a small independent brand. I doff my hat to you.

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At 6 o’clock is a small ‘sub’ dial that actually shows the time. In enamel, a porcelain bright white makes this watch (if you can call it that) very polished, it acts as a counter to the mechanical and raw feel of the chronograph movement.

This is definitely a chronograph first and foremost, the timekeeping aspect is almost secondary.

Whilst I was there the ability to have a conversation with Jean-Marie was really insightful. He made a point of showing me many many pages of design schematics. It detailed hundreds of parts that went into the movement of this piece. More importantly what shone through the most was the sheer enthusiasm and passion for the watch from Jean-Marie.

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The trademark Louis Moinet details are evident on the casework and the rotor visible through the display caseback. In typical Louis Moinet fashion there are lots of touches and details around the case, such as the Louis Moinet signature on the side. If you look closely, though my photos do not do it justice, you can see the LM logo on the main chronograph hand.

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To conclude I really like this watch, the attention to detail and the design flourishes are a testament to Jean-Marie’s vision. A star of this year’s Baselworld because it is a different take on the usual chronograph. The showcasing of the column wheel and the chronograph movement make this unique.

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Available in rose gold and 2 versions of white gold. They differ by the colour of their mainplate, 1 version has a rhodium plated option and the second has a blued mainplate. Only 60 examples will be available of each.

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