Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The Unusual Louis Moinet 20-Second Tempograph

| By Xavier Markl | 3 min read |
Louis Moinet 20-Second Tempograph

Presented in 2014, the Louis Moinet 20-Second Tempograph isn’t a new watch. With its playful retrograde seconds hand, contrasting materials and colours, MONOCHROME takes a closer look at a watch that is unusual, technically complex, visually daring and unique in its display.

Telling stories and finding novel ways to display time and complications have become have become a specialty of Louis Moinet. The 20-Seconds Tempograph is no exception. Offering its intricacies on full display, the watch stages the dance of seconds via a large retrograde hand.

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The exclusive calibre LM39 of the 20-Seconds Tempograph was developed and manufactured with Concepto, in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The hours and minutes are off-centred at 5 o’clock and shown by “Gouttes de Rosée” (dewdrop) hands on a domed dial with elongated Roman numerals and markers. The large central retrograde seconds hand performs an original ballet in cycles of 20 seconds providing a captivating and playful spectacle on the dial.

Meanwhile, the second wheel at 9 o’clock bears a disc with 3 segments allowing to measure each minute. The mechanism is all the more captivating because the balance wheel, the gears, and the retrograde mechanism are on full display. A ratchet gear rests on this spiral shaped cam (at 8 o’clock) held in place with a ruby, and the system is tensed with a coiled spring. The mechanism, therefore, allows for the small seconds hand to advance 20 seconds and then jump back to its starting point.

Composed of no fewer than 261 parts, the 20-Second Tempograph has a lot of visual depth and is richly decorated with alternating sanded and polished finishes. It operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has a power reserve of 48 hours.

The 43.5mm case is crafted in pink gold and features a slightly domed sapphire crystal framed by the brand’s distinctive screwed-down bezel. The flange circling the movement is adorned with a “clous de Paris” motif and features a cartouche bearing the name of the brand. The fluted crown is adorned with a heraldic lily, a symbol of royalty and the logo of Louis Moinet and is framed with a plate secured with 4 screws. Turn the watch over and the exhibition case back allows a view of the nicely finished movement with circular Geneva stripes, diamond-cut sinks for jewels and circular satin-finished wheels. Its rotor is richly decorated and bears the brand’s lily logo.

The Louis Moinet 20-Second Tempograph is presented on an alligator strap and secured with a 18K gold folding buckle – also adorned with the brand’s lily logo. On the wrist, it has a commanding presence but sits comfortably despite its generous proportions. It is released in a 60-piece limited edition in pink gold. Titanium limited editions are also available: 365 pieces with a black or white dial and 60 pieces with a blue dial. For more information, please visit

Technical specifications – Louis Moinet 20-Second Tempograph

  • Case: 43.5mm x 15.60mm– 18k pink gold – sapphire crystal on the front and on the case back – water-resistant to 50m
  • Movement: Calibre LM39 (manufactured with Concepto) – mechanical with automatic winding –- 48h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – 36 jewels – off-centred hours and minutes, 20-second retrograde indicator, small seconds
  • Strap: alligator leather with alligator lining on 18k gold folding buckle
  • Limited editions of 60 pieces in pink gold.
  • Price: CHF 46,000 in pink gold, CHF 22,000 in titanium

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