How a meteorite hunter helped Louis Moinet create its latest space-inspired watches

Pieces of the heavens come down to earth.

By Victoria Gomelsky 13/02/2019

In addition to being a master watchmaker, the 18th-century scholar, painter, sculptor and teacher Louis Moinet was an astronomer whose fascination with the cosmos inspired his most famous invention, the chronograph. That explains why the contemporary Swiss watch brand that borrows his name is equally devoted to the heavens.

Exhibit A: The brand’s two newest timepieces, Moon and Mars, take Louis Moinet’s obsession with the night sky to stellar new heights. Twin versions of the same basic model, both limited editions, incorporate fragments of their respective heavenly bodies on their dials and in special presentation boxes.

“To do so, we’re working with Luc Labenne, the most famous meteorite hunter in the world,” says Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO and creative director of Ateliers Louis Moinet, which was founded in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel in 2004. “Cutting these fragments is a very delicate task, and mistakes are unthinkable: They’re extremely rare finds on the Earth’s surface. Seeing and holding these tiny slivers of Mars or the Moon is like having your very own piece of eternity on your wrist—a quirky ticket to an interstellar journey.”

The Moon watch, a release of 12 pieces in rose gold and 60 in steel, takes its inspiration from Around the Moon, Jules Verne’s fictional journey to Earth’s satellite. A capsule containing a fragment of a lunar meteorite sits at the 3 o’clock position against a brass dial designed to mimic the surface of the moon with its signature craters, Gassendi, Tycho and Cassini.

The timepiece offers a fine example of openwork, thanks to cutouts on the dial that reveal the movement, including the escapement and offset hands, all enshrined in a 43.2 mm Neo case distinguished by two vertical bridges.

The Mars watch, also to be released as 12 pieces in rose gold and 60 in steel (priced at around $63,500 and $23,300 respectively), takes its cues from the work of American astronomer and mathematician Percival Lowell, whose (ultimately disproven) conviction that Mars was crisscrossed by canals fuelled public interest in the Red Planet.

At 3 o’clock, a capsule of a genuine Martian meteorite fragment sits upon a brass dial that reproduces the surface of Mars, complete with its iconic volcanoes, Olympus Mons, Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons and Arsia Mons. Like its Moon counterpart, the watch features an openworked dial that offers an unobstructed view of the movement.

Both pieces, available in mid-March, come in exclusive presentation cases designed in the style of a leather-bound first-edition book from the 19th century—and each one contains a shard of lunar or Martian meteorite.

ADVERTISE WITH US

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Richard Mille’s New Tourbillon Designed For Golfer Bubba Watson

The bubble-gum pink colour is a reference to the golfer’s signature drivers.

By Demetrius Simms

12/05/2022

Patek Philippe Just Created A One-Of-A-Kind Titanium Chronograph

And it’s heading to auction for charity.

By Rachel Cormack

11/05/2022

Phillips Just Sold $88.84 Million In Watches

The auction house’s two big-ticket weekend sales took home lots of cash—and set a few records in the process.

By Demetrius Simms

10/05/2022

Richard Mille’s Latest Dive Watch Receives Seal Of Approval

World record diver Arnaud Jerald has plunged 117-metres and now sports its new limited-edition model.

By Paige Reddinger

09/05/2022

Explorer Bertrand Piccard Is On A Mission To Make Sustainability Profitable

The Breitling ambassador set out to find 1000 ways to make money while benefitting the environment. He’s at 1400 so far.

By Carol Besler

05/05/2022

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected