Mechanical Art

Louis Moinet is an independent watch brand based in Saint-Blaise, Switzerland, that has been able to woo the Middle East customer with its exclusive creation of high-end timepieces, often featuring exotic materials and innovative techniques, underpinned by the philosophy of limited edition mechanical art.

Uniqueness, creative horology, art and design, and exclusivity are at the heart of Louis Moinet creations. CEO and Creative Director, Jean-Marie Schaller, bears the responsibility of reviving the Louis Moinet name and of leading the brand to success. Schaller states watchmaking has always been in his blood. Coming from the Jura Mountains, the world surrounding him revolved around one thing: Horology.

He grew up knowing that a watch is no ordinary object: It is a cultural testimony, a legacy inherited from a generation of craftsmen. In a watch, you see the brain of the engineer, the heart of the designer, the eye of the artist and the hand of the watchmaker, according to Schaller.

A signature feature of Louis Moinet timepieces is the use of extremely rare materials, such as tropical fossilized palm wood and dinosaur bone, or wondrous meteorites hailing from the Moon and Mars.

Louis Moinet was one of the greatest watchmakers ever – his inventiveness, passion and willingness to pass on his wisdom mean his contribution to horology is immeasurable. Born into a prosperous farming family in Bourges, France in 1768, the young Moinet quickly distinguished himself as an excellent student. While he was busy with his studies, he was introduced to the art of fine watch making and spent a lot of time learning the craft at the side of a master watch maker. Over time he was to distinguish himself as a horological inventor and innovative extraordinaire, thanks to the invention of the first-ever chronograph.

Moinet’s inventive genius and innovative spirit lives on as the essence of the brand, thanks to Jean-Marie Schaller who, as founder and creative director of the Louis Moinet brand, revived the prestigious name of the inspirational master watchmaker.

Louis Moinet timepieces are distinguished by a strong identity, with ‘Côtes du Jura’ guilloche dials, ‘Gouttes de rosée’ hands, and distinctive cases with screwed bezels. Another signature feature of Louis Moinet is the use of extremely rare materials, such as tropical fossilised palm wood and dinosaur bone, or wondrous meteorites hailing from the Moon or Mars. The most extraordinary of the meteorites used in Louis Moinet timepieces – the Sahara 955, a fragment of which can be found in the dial of Astralis, for example – has been estimated as 4.6 billion years old, making it the oldest known rock in our Solar System.

Continuing and preserving Louis Moinet’s historical heritage, Louis Moinet is proud to count a number of today’s celebrities among their prestigious clientele, such as the King of Malaysia, among others.

Louis Moinet timepieces are the subject of numerous patent applications to protect technical innovations which have won several international accolades. Tempograph and Jules Verne Instrument have each won a prestigious Red Dot Award for design while the Jules Verne Instrument also claimed the prize for ‘Most Innovative Design Watch’ at the Journey Through Time awards organized by Malaysia’s renowned Starhill Gallery. In an exclusive interview with Luxury Arabia’s Contributing Editor, Eldrich Ferns, Jean-Marie Schaller talks about his passion for watches.

What is your favorite watch from the novelties launched at Baselworld 2016 and why?

I love all Louis Moinet watches, but I have a soft spot for Memoris 200th Anniversary edition. On one side, it is a tribute to the chronograph, invented by Louis Moinet 200 years ago. On the other side, it is a testimony to today’s creativity in watchmaking. We are extremely proud to be the heirs of Louis Moinet and write new chapters of his marvelous story.

What are the current trends in the watch business in your opinion?

There are a few trends in watchmaking today and products that clearly show their differentiation and stand out from the competition i.e. timepieces that carry a historical heritage and emphasize mechanical movements are in trend. Also watches that provide a good quality/price ratio are growing in prominence.

What are your business projections for 2016 and beyond?

As artists and craftsmen, we want to share our unique creations with our customers and friends. We are currently working on very special projects. It means that we intend to surprise the watch world, and hopefully continue to grow harmoniously. Business projections are useful, reality is even more important. Therefore, our goals are not written in stone we only like to grow in a healthy manner. And as a company offering cultural products, we can do so even if the market becomes smaller and shrinks in size.

How important is the Middle East market for your brand? Please provide figures if possible or at least a percentage in terms of market share would be welcome?

The Middle East market is very important. I have many friends in the Middle East, and love its fascinating culture. It is difficult to provide a percentage, but it is for us one of the three top markets along with Russia and America. I really hope that we will develop ourselves in the Middle East, as many customers have a very refined taste. This provides us with the opportunity to create unique items of special artistic work for them.

What in your opinion is the significance of the smart watch industry and the Apple watch in particular and do you think it will have a long-term effect on the Swiss watch industry?

Automakers now have serious concerns that Silicon Valley will grab a big share of their market in future. In a world dominated by new technologies, the Apple watch seems to be a winner. However, we should keep in mind that the human being is emotional as much as rational. He needs emotions and to be connected to its origins, to its culture as well. Therefore, I am very optimistic for the future of the mechanical watch. The mechanical watch speaks to a man’s senses and his soul. In my opinion, there is definitely a market for smart watches, but concurrently, there is also a market for classical watches.