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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

Louis Moinet and Manufacture Royale set the atmosphere with some foosball at the presentation of their novelties in the Beau Rivage Hotel. The Crownology Lab moved to a saloon on the ground floor of the prestigious hotel, the huge windows of which offered perfect lighting for an impromptu game and for the watch muster, of course.

 
Louis Moinet timepieces have a very strong visual appearance: recognizable aesthetic codes, characteristic and robust case design and sumptuous dials. In fact, the company has developed a specialty for applying rare materials on dials. Meteorites from the Mars or the Moon, fossils of palm wood, red stromalite, or Jurassic-era dinosaur bone – although rare, they are frequent visitors on Louis Moinet watch faces. I am sure that it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but being a niche brand this is not really the point anyway.

Funnily enough, my favourite Louis Moinet piece so far, which emerged in Geneva this January conquered me with no special materials, but by its ethereal design. Built on the basis of the Sideralis, the new Mobilis wears the very markers of Louis Moinet, yet poses a different style.

Mobilis

This timepiece is lighter, “simpler” and more delicate than any other designs the company has imagined before. Air is a ruling resident in the space framed by the case and the front and back sapphire crystals. The solid metallic inner rim has a larger Clous de Paris pattern, which reflects the light in all four directions of its facets. This ring and the screwed-in bezel build up the severe profile of the timepiece, which is emphasized, but at the same time eased, by the airy interior.

Louis Moinet Mobilis
Louis Moinet Mobilis

The two large flying tourbillons (omitting any upper bridges) and the smaller, off-centred dial form the moving content of the timepiece. Their equilateral triangle is a pleasure to look at. Stare at, in reality, since their rotation leaves little chance to lay one’s eyes on anything else. The effect on the dial, caused by two overlapping discs, is clearly hypnotic and I associated it immediately with a kaleidoscope. Or the rabbit hole at the entrance of Wonderland – while sitting in the Salon of Beau Rivage I heard the calling closer and closer just like Alice did. Similarly to the Sideralis, the tourbillons rotate in the opposite directions.

The LM53 calibre was developed in collaboration with Tec Ebauches SA having patents waiting for approval. The model is limited to 12 pieces only, but I’m pretty sure that the number of potent admirers will generously overgrow this number.

 

Metropolis

“When modern architecture meets Haute Horlogerie” – this piece is thus described by the manufacture. The inspiration came from modern buildings, roads and bridges, which lend cities a new face, a new functionality and a new “structure”.

Coming in steel and rose gold, each version is limited to 60 pieces. It is far from the visual lightness of the Mobilis, but the Metropolis also lost noteworthy weight as the lugs and the dial are pierced. The 43.2mm diameter Metropolis case and its technical solution are described by Louis Moinet as “Neo”; everything is built around two vertical bridges running through the timepiece, securing the strap at each end of their lugs.

The inevitable “Fleur de Lys” blooms on the dial, the case-back, the rotor and the crown.

The bridge-like lengthened Roman numerals are diamond-cut and satin-finished and coated with lacquer. They are white on the rose gold model and blue on the steel, and their definite arc levitates above the black cut-out sand-blasted dial.

Segments of the LM45 calibre are visible below and around the seconds sub-dial.

Louis Moinet Metropolis
Louis Moinet Metropolis, steel

 

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