The unique way Louis Moinet stages complications has become something of a brand signature. Its double tourbillon with kaleidoscope (Mobilis), oversized tourbillon poised with a planet in orbit (Space Mystery), dial side chronograph (Memoris), original retrograde seconds (Tempograph) are all examples of Jean-Marie Schaller’s (the brand CEO and creative director) taste for the spectacular. And the new Louis Moinet Ultravox that was unveiled today is no exception.
The brand’s latest creation, the Louis Moinet Ultravox, features a rare complication: the hour strike ‘au passage’, displaying its striking mechanism up front, on the dial. An unusual choice, the complication can be admired in its entirety without being hidden beneath a dial or on the back side of the watch. This allows for a clear view of the mesmerising ballet of its hammer, rack, fly-wheel, levers and other mechanical processes taking place dial-side. The depth of the watch’s face, with each part contrasting against a ‘Moinet blue’ plate is eye-catching, to say the least. The hammer and whip are also blued with the same CVD finish.
The Louis Moinet Ultravox strikes every hour with the appropriate number of chimes. A pusher at 8 o’clock allows the wearer to choose the silent mode, disengaging the chime. Another pusher at 10 o’clock allows striking the hours on demand. The fly-wheel is another distinctive and eye-catching feature. It uses air resistance to regulate the chiming rhythm and speed. The air resistance on the wheel’s blade increases with the fast rotation of the fan.
The Hour Strike Complication
Hour strike watches are a rare complication, but are in fact among the very first chiming watches to have appeared. Some fifteenth-century watches already featured a passing (au passage) strike mechanism that, like a church bell, sounded every hour.
The simplest ones sound a strike every hour. More sophisticated mechanisms can count out the hours striking multiple times. Finally, some can play a melody at each passing hour. For more information about striking and musical watches, read our technical perspective “the sound of time” here.
A development with Eric Coudray & co. to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Louis Moinet
The Ultravox movement is presented as the brand celebrates the 250th anniversary of the birth of Louis Moinet in Bourges, France. From a technical perspective, it was developed with Master watchmaker Eric Coudray and his team. Known among other creations for the cult Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon, Coudray worked some 20 years at JLC before joining Cabestan in 2008. In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Gaia prize in the craftsmanship creation category. In 2016, he left Cabestan to join TEC Ebauches.
The 46mm case is made of 18k pink gold. It features the brand’s signature 6-screw bezel. The knurled crown is adorned with a heraldic lily, a symbol of royalty and the logo of the brand. Even though most of the action takes place up front with the striking mechanism, the reverse side of the watch is really worth a look. The sapphire crystal provides a superb view on the movement that features two micro-rotors, each of which winds a barrel: one to power the time indication (with a 38-hour power reserve), one to power the striking mechanism (with a 90-hour power reserve). These can also be wound manually: position 0 for the time indication, position 1 for the striking mechanism and position 2 for time setting. The movement decoration includes Geneva stripes radiating from its centre, bevelling and perlage. The twin micro-rotors feature a black finish with gold engraving.
The Louis Moinet Ultravox is worn on an alligator strap fit with an 18K gold folding buckle in the shape of the brand’s lily logo. It will be released in a limited edition of 28 pieces in pink gold, priced at CHF 130,000. For more information, you can visit the Louis Moinet website at www.louismoinet.com.