Independent watchmaker Louis Moinet certainly has demonstrated a fair dosage of creativity over the year, with impressively complex and playful watches, but discretion and compactness were not the first words to come to mind when looking at these watches. Most Louis Moinet models were polarizing, to say the least. Well, until recently, as the brand has decided to take a new direction, with sharper, more compact, easier design with modernity and sleekness in mind. First exposed with the Memoris Spirit, this new design language is now transposed to the other signature watch of the watchmaker, resulting in the new Louis Moinet Tempograph Spirit.
Presented in 2014 under the name Louis Moinet 20-Second Tempograph, the watch we’re looking at today is not entirely new. All the habillage and the decoration, design of the movement have been deeply revised, but the original concept, as well as the surprising display, are carried over from existing models. For 8 years, the Tempograph has been an integral part of the brand’s collection, being of its most successful and most distinctive models. It is a watch that is typical of Louis Moinet’s production; complex, displaying the time in a different way, showing much of its mechanics on the dial side, it’s more than just a timepiece, it somehow tells a story. In this watch, “the fact that the 20 seconds are displayed on a sector and not a circle highlights the importance of each passing second and awakens the senses,” explains Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO & Creative Director of the brand.
For the past 8 years, the Tempograph has been a large, highly designed watch with a lot of decorum, textures and a complex case architecture. Rather polarizing, with a very personal expression of watchmaking. Surely, no one can blame the brand for its lack of personality. It had loads of it on offer. But the other side of the coin is clear, it generates strong reactions. This is the reason why this year Louis Moinet has been hard at work, renewing two of its most emblematic watches – the Tempograph and the Memoris – to create the so-called Spirit models. Simpler, smaller, sleeker, more modern, less adorned, with less decorum.
Without falsifying the original concept of this watch, the new Louis Moinet Tempograph Spirit keeps things easier to the eye and to the wrist. The basics of this watch, understand here its original display, are still present, but now housed in a brand new case. Instead of a 43.5mm case originally, the new Spirit model is housed in a more rounded, sleeker case of 40.7mm. It gets rid of the bezel and displays its movement under a box-shaped sapphire crystal, offering an unimpeded view on all the mechanics, but also bringing a more modern, more aerial feeling. Don’t think we’re talking about an impersonal, consensual design either. The Louis Moinet Tempograph Spirit is still characterful. But much cleaner than before. For instance, the case still features a distinctive crown and also hollowed lugs.
The new Tempograph Spirit retains the specific architecture of its predecessor on the dial side. The right-hand side is devoted to time indications, with its twenty-second retrograde hand and hours & minutes subdial. The left-hand side displays the mechanism required to drive this creation. In particular, the spectacular interaction between the cam and the jewel-tipped rack is clearly visible. To highlight all of these elements even more, the raised, rhodium-plated, chamfered and snailed bridges have been coated in matte black in the centre. The screwed balance wheel and the small second indicator are also clearly visible on the left side. The star of the show is, of course, the ballet of the 20-second retrograde hand.
The Louis Moinet Tempograph Spirit is available in several editions, such as the 18k rose gold with silver dial and titanium with black dial editions we’ve featured here. There’s also a titanium version with an electric blue dial available, for a sportier and bolder look. All are worn on preformed alligator straps with alligator lining, closed by a folding clasp in the shape of the brand’s logo, the Fleur de Lys.
Under the sapphire caseback is the calibre LM85, made with Concepto. This automatic movement runs at 4Hz and stores up to 48h of power reserve when fully wound. It is nicely decorated with diamond-cut chamfers and perlage, and the bi-metallic rotor is adorned with a concentric “Clous de Paris” hobnail pattern.
The Louis Moinet Tempograph Spirit will be released as a limited edition of 60 pieces in titanium and 28 pieces in rose gold. Prices range from EUR 27,200 in titanium to EUR 45,650 in gold. For more details, please visit www.louismoinet.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.