Hiren Kumar Bose on the limited edition chronograph watch which besides being beautiful is playful
As the pusher is activated the column wheel orchestrates the graceful ballet of the gears, passing information to the hands. The chronograph on Louis Moinet’s Memoris sits proudly alone on the dial side.
The 20-piece limited edition Memoris is a recipient of the international Good Design Awards, one of the most highly-renowned competitions in the world. For 67 years now, the Good Design Awards have assessed the extent to which creative designs enrich the contemporary world. Some 1,000 applications were submitted by companies and independent designers in 2016, from 46 different countries. The award has led the Maison to claim: “Switzerland wins a Good Design Award for the first chronograph-watch in history.”
Along with Memoris Apple’s iPad also received an award. Not merely utilitarian both are the stuff of dreams, adding a touch of soul, and offering a coherent aesthetic vision of what beauty is – even when the object in question is intended to serve a useful purpose.
The starry base of Memoris consists of a brass plate coated with a translucent blue makes the chronograph watch beautiful. The stars themselves have been created using an entirely new fixed graver process. This involves attaching a specially-made lathe to a traditional rose engine (also known as a guillocheuse).
Individual stars are all fashioned to feature different angles and depths, so that each and every one captures as much light as possible giving the novel impression that they are really shining, twinkling with unique splendour against the backdrop of the night-blue plate beneath them. This requires the fixed graver to be used many times – an unprecedented technique in watchmaking.
The synthetic gemstones have been used very exclusively. Usually destined to serve as good pivots and provide proper lubrication of the movement components, gemstones have found a new purpose elsewhere: black zircon, in a screwed setting, takes on a decorative function here – on the Memoris case horns.
For the flange and counter bridge, Ateliers Louis Moinet has used a revolutionary translucent material. Its precise makeup, produced by combining a number of composite materials and using high-temperature vacuum moulding, is a closely-guarded secret. It offers a unique advantage: it is through-coloured – and yet the same time maintains a certain degree of transparency.
Using it in translucent dark blue on the flange of the Memoris adds an exclusive sense of depth, whereas an opaque flange would have ‘locked down’ the timepiece. Thanks to this material, the counter bridge is transparent ensuring the wearer to admire the night blue sky – without missing a single star
Memoris is housed in a 46 mm rose gold case, whose 52 parts are held together by six visible, functional screws on the bezel. Specially created for Memoris, the case sports alternating brushed and polished finishes and bears the Louis Moinet signature on the side. In homage to the watchmaking skills of its forebears, it features chevé concave crystals, now made from scratchproof sapphire.
The innovative movement, meanwhile, is neither a skeleton nor a supplementary module: rather, it has been designed for and around the chronograph. Indeed, Louis Moinet has opted to place the time machine on the back of the automatic movement, beneath the plate.