What makes the beauty of an object? Its design… Right, that was an easy answer. But if look closely, what is hidden behind the word “design”? Like in architecture, watchmaking uses shapes, proportions, perspectives, empty and full parts, layers and steps, in order to create a three dimensional object. This is what Louis Moinet tends to do with their new watch, the Metropolis. More contemporary, more sculptural, still with a proprietary movement of great quality but with a more aggressive price policy. The industry evolves and micro-brands, even the high-end ones, have to take the train on time. And that Metropolis is an interesting move.
When you look at the Louis Moinet offerings, you immediately spot two important characteristics. First, their watches are bold, highly designed, very unique in terms of style and very strong. We all know that provocation and differentiation are salvation for micro-brands, yet, if they want to develop, brands have to talk to wider audiences. Secondly, their watches are (most of them) very complex pieces – not surprising when you know that Louis Moinet invented the chronograph… The catalogues comprises a double-tourbillon with animated dial, some complex chronographs or automaton pieces. Then again, good for hardcore watchlovers, but not what can be called accessible. With the Louis Moinet Metropolis, the brands want to open new horizons, without losing its DNA.
The Louis Moinet Metropolis is slightly more modest than the rest of the collection, not just in terms of price, but also in terms of mechanical content and style. It is more modern too, with a contemporary approach, slightly less heavy than before. “Metropolis is a city watch,” explains Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO of Ateliers Louis Moinet. “It combines ergonomics with design, and function with style. We’ve broken free of neoclassical conventions and adopted a committed, contemporary approach that’s unlike anything we’ve done before.” Yet, if there is a fresh wind going over this collection, the basics of the brand are still here, and don’t get this wrong, Metropolis is still bold, still strong, still mechanically desirable.
The design of the Louis Moinet Metropolis plays on three levels of skeletonization: on the hour markers, on the dial, and on the lugs and vertical bridges. As said, this watch does plays a lot with proportions, shapes, voids and structures. First its case. A 43.2mm steel or 18k pink gold case, with a brand new style for the brand, dubbed Neo. Everything is built around two vertical bridges running through the timepiece, securing the strap at each end of their lugs – the latter incorporating the third and final openwork finish on the watch. The bridges hold the movement’s housing, topped by the bezel and its six screws – another of Louis Moinet’s hallmarks. Clearly not mild, clearly not deja-vu, clearly not understated (but if you want that, go somewhere else than such brands)… Yet, the case, even if large, remains well proportioned (short and curved lugs) and perfectly wearable on a daily basis. It comprises no fewer than 55 parts.
Then comes the dial. Again, the wish of Louis Moinet has been to create a sensation of light and lightness, even in a bold design. The brand uses for the first time Roman numerals, but not in a simple, stamped way. To bring depth, these hour markers are suspended mid-air. Each marker is linked to a central ring and a dark grey flange made from neoralithe, an innovative material chosen by Louis Moinet for its transparency and purity. Each marker is also highly decorated, with a diamond-cut, satin-finish section that reflects light. Into these markers is a contrasting lacquer – in white for watches with a rose gold case, and in blue for watches with a steel case. Underneath this complex aerial structure is a partially opened black plate, which, between 8 and 10 brings a view on the balance, the escapement and the bridges that hold them in place. Not too much skeletonized, just enough to enliven the dial…
What about the movement? If this watch wants to be more accessible, it has to make concessions on the mechanical side. Well, in fact, it does only few. Of course, don’t expect here to find a complex chronograph or a double-tourbillon. The Louis Moinet Metropolis is a three-hander (hours and minutes on the central axis, small second at 9). Yet, its movement is very pleasant. Unique to the brand (proprietary movement), developed and manufactured by Concepto, the LM45 caliber is a modern automatic movement, with 4Hz frequency and 48-hour power reserve. Classical specs-wise, but the beauty comes from the decoration. Côtes de Genève, diamond-cut angles, engravings, circular-grained wheels, and pearling. The rotor, also beveled on the angles, shows a nice concentric version of the Clou de Paris pattern. The movement measures 30.4mm, meaning that it fills rather well the large case.
The Louis Moinet Metropolis is secured to the wrist by a qualitative hand-sewn Louisiana alligator leather strap with alligator lining, with a folding clasp decorated with Louis Moinet symbol, the Fleur de Lys.
The Louis Moinet Metropolis will be available in spring 2017, in two initial limited editions of 60 pieces, in steel and 18k rose gold, with prices starting at CHF 10,500 for the steel version, and CHF 29,500 for the gold version. An interesting offer for those who are looking for something different, strong and with pleasant mechanical content and background. www.louismoinet.com.
Specifications of the Louis Moinet Metropolis
- Case: 43.2mm diameter x 14.8mm height – 55 parts case in steel of 18k pink gold – sapphire crystal on both faces – 50m water resistant
- Movement: LM45 caliber, proprietary – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 48h power reserve – hours, minutes, small second
- Strap: hand-sewn Louisiana alligator leather strap with alligator lining, with a folding clasp
- Retail Price: CHF 10,500 (steel) – CHF 29,500 (Gold)