“This event marks another step forward in the recognition of Louis Moinet. We worked for years to identify the exact location of his historical home. Thanks to the painstaking work of historians, this has now been achieved – and the Town of Bourges has paid a fitting tribute by naming the adjacent street after him.” It’s a rare occurrence when a thoroughfare gets named after a watchmaker to mark the very place they worked.
While many streets in Switzerland are named after great watchmakers, in the vast majority of cases there is no direct link with the personal geography of the watchmaker in question – simply a link with the town or canton. Once again, Louis Moinet has proved to be an exception to the rule. Having rediscovered its unique heritage, the Town of Bourges decided to give the name “Impasse Louis Moinet” to the street right next to the house where the famous watchmaker lived for many years – and invented the first chronograph in history.
The renaming is being timed to mark the 250th anniversary of Louis Moinet’s birth in Bourges in 1768. In a symbolic gesture, the inauguration of the street will take place on June 21, the summer solstice. It’s a historic reminder of Louis Moinet’s observational astronomy, much of which was derived from his watchmaking art – not least the invention of the chronograph in 1816. Impasse Louis Moinet runs perpendicular to Rue Moyenne, which is itself one of the historic streets in Bourges, leading to its famous Cathedral, with Impasse Louis Moinet less than 100 metres down the road.
Louis Moinet spent his youth in Rue de la Monnaie. From there, he went to study in Italy – a trip that forged his style and talent for painting and sculpture. He later returned to Bourges as a teacher at its School of Fine Arts. The Town has already installed a plaque bearing his name on the building that still houses the School of Fine Arts, two centuries on. “Our mission is to honour the memory of Louis Moinet, retracing the remarkable steps of a remarkable watchmaker from place to place and from one year to the next,” explains Jean-Marie Schaller. “Following on from the plaque at the School of Fine Arts, naming the street next to the place where he was born after him is a very special way of restoring Louis Moinet and his native town of Bourges to their rightful place – at the heart of outstanding watchmaking heritage.”