I had the pleasure to meet Jean-Marie Schaller in Las Vegas several years ago, and I was immediately impressed by his passion for his watches bearing the name Louis Moinet. He has done a very good job unearthing the amazing history of Moinet, including establishing him as the inventor of the chronograph in 1816 (!!!) and other notable watchmaking-related achievements.
Join along now with our friends at Montredo in the latest episode of Meet The Manufacturer as we take a deeper look into the world of Louis Moinet. CEO & Creative Director Jean-Marie Schaller leads the conversation:
More About Louis Moinet
Louis Moinet, eponym of today’s brand, was born in 1768 in France. From his early days on, he spent his leisure time with a master watchmaker and therefore got into touch with Haute Horlogerie, making it just a matter of time until the student ultimately became the master. Louis Moinet, eponym of today’s brand, was born in 1768 in France. From his early days on, he spent his leisure time with a master watchmaker and therefore got into touch with Haute Horlogerie, making it just a matter of time until the student ultimately became the master. At the age of 20, the young Moinet started to travel around Europe to follow his passion of aesthetics and sophisticated arts. During his journey, where he studied in Italy and met various important watchmakers in Switzerland, he further deepened his watchmaking knowledge before eventually returning to his home country again. Upon his return in France, he became friends in 1811 with another exceptionally gifted expert in his field, namely Abraham Louis Breguet. The two watchmakers would spend more than a decade together and it was also during this common creative period, when Moinet achieved something truly astonishing: In 1816, he developed the world’s first chronograph, as approved by the Guinness World Records, making him without a doubt one of the greatest watchmakers ever. His creation went by the name “compteur de tierces” (thirds timer) and yielded some game-changing features, such as the measurement of a sixtieth second and an unprecedented beat rate of 216,000 vibrations per hour.
To put this into perspective, most modern wristwatches these days usually beat at 28,8000 v/h. Moinet, who initially designed this first chronograph to time the passage of stars and planets, is therefore rightly thought of as the father of high-frequency time measurement. Moinet’s stellar watchmaking skills were by not means a well-kept secret and quickly got around. His customer base eventually included some of the most notable persons of the 18th and 19th Century, boasting names like King George IV of England, Napoleon and Thomas Jefferson. Thanks to Jean-Marie Schiller, Moinet’s spirit can fortunately live on, since he decided in 2008 to revive his legacy in the form of “Les Ateliers Louis Moinet”. These days, the brand is not only known for its use of exotic materials and highly innovative technologies, but also for its vast exclusivity, as all timepieces are either launched in strictly limited editions or are completely unique pieces.