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Louis Moinet Memoris Superlight
The Louis Moinet Memoris Superlight is the latest creation from the high-end watch brand from Saint-Blaise, Switzerland. Louis Moinet invented the world’s first chronograph in 1816 and the complication has since become a speciality of the brand. This model is unusual in that it features the chronograph mechanism dial-side to the exclusion of everything else, indulging onlookers with a captivating visual spectacle of various components at play.
Louis Moinet was born in Bourges, France in 1768. He was a master watchmaker and he invented the world’s first chronograph in 1816, a fact certified by Guinness World Records. This was a remarkable achievement. Most notably, this timepiece, the ‘Compteur de Tierces’, was created for timing astronomical events and was able to record 1/60th of second intervals. At the heart of this super-precise time measurement device is a balance that has a frequency of 216,000 vph (30 Hz). To place this latter figure in context, a modern-day movement often has a frequency of 3Hz or 4Hz. In fact, even today, some 200 years after the Compteur de Tierces was invented, few watches possess a balance able to oscillate with such dizzying alacrity.
Almost 200 years after the Compteur de Tierces was unveiled, the eponymous brand, Louis Moinet, released the Memoris (2015). While most brands refer to a chronograph as a complication, a function over and above imparting the time, the Swiss watch brand applied a very different description to the Memoris.
Louis Moinet marketed the Memoris as a chronograph featuring a complication, the indication of time. As a former marketing professional, I initially viewed the description with a note of cynicism, however, on seeing the Memoris for the first time, the description suddenly made perfect sense.
The dial showcases the chronograph mechanism at the exclusion of those components responsible for imparting the prevailing time. Louis Moinet cleverly divides both groups of parts using the mainplate as a means of delineation. The chronograph mechanism sits atop the mainplate with the timekeeping elements positioned below. The beauty of the design is that the wearer is invited to repeatedly actuate the chronograph and observe numerous components engaging in conversation without any superfluous detail cluttering the horological vista.
Initially, the Louis Moinet Memoris was offered in two case options, 18-carat white gold or 18-carat rose gold, and three dial options. However, no doubt spurred on by the popularity of the model, Louis Moinet has since released additional dial animations. Recently, the company unveiled the Louis Moinet Memoris Superlight. This model is housed in a case made of Grade 5 Titanium, a strong, light, corrosion-resistant alloy that is also hypo-allergenic. Moreover, the low mass of the case, enhances wearer comfort.
If you enjoy pressing a pushpiece, incidentally, the Memoris is a monopusher, and viewing numerous parts at play, then the Louis Moinet Memoris Superlight is definitely a watch worthy of consideration.
The brand’s press release
Origins – an encounter with history
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’s 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.
In 1816, Louis Moinet invented the chronograph to help with his astronomical observations.
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.