‘Only Mexico’ is a unique piece that pays tribute to roots of Mexican culture. Ateliers Louis Moinet painstakingly gathered information and sought out the most typical materials of the country and then blended them together in this spectacular, original creation. One key highlight is the presence of the oldest-known material in the world, Allende meteorite, found in the State of Chihuahua.
‘Only Mexico’ is fitted with Louis Moinet’s mechanical tourbillon. This won the gold medal at the most recent International Chronometry Competition – and beats at a rhythm of 21’600 vibrations per hour.
Louis Moinet’s legendary NEO case, cut from polished, satin-effect 5N rose gold, accentuates the imposing character of the piece. It owes its distinctive silhouette to the application of a large number of brand-new technologies. Everything is constructed around two horizontal bridges, spanning the piece and securing the strap in place at each end of their lugs.
Each component of the design reflects Mexico’s very special culture and history:
Dial: the Sun Stone, a legendary Aztec artefact
At the centre, the dial depicts the Sun Stone, one of the best-known and most iconic works in Aztec art. It was sculpted during the reign of the Aztec Emperor Axayacatl (1469-1481) to commemorate the New Fire ceremony in 1479. The enormous disc, 3.6 metres in diameter and weighing 24 tonnes, was cut from a single block of olivine basalt lava. Today, the Sun Stone is on display at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico city.
The Sun Stone comprises eight concentric circles, each with a whole host of references to Aztec cosmogony, describing how the World was formed. The second circle is especially noteworthy, displaying the symbols of the deities Ehecatl, Tezcatlipoca, Tlaloc, and Chalchiuhtlicue, and evoking the legend of the suns, a cosmogonic myth based on the creation and destruction of several successive worlds.
Dial edge: the Allende meteorite – the origin of time
Beneath the engraving of the Sun Stone lies is a dark-coloured meteorite – Allende.
The Allende meteorite is the oldest known material in existence, estimated to be 4.567 billion years old – making it 30 million years older than the Earth itself. When it fell at Allende in the State of Chihuahua on February 8, 1969, it weighed almost two tonnes, also making it the largest chondrite meteorite ever to have been found. It is considered to be the most-studied meteorite in history, yielding so much information about the formation of the solar system that cosmochemists view it as their ‘Rosetta Stone’.
Dial centre: the Toluca meteorite
Located beneath the second concentric circles of the Sun Stone, the Toluca iron meteorite has been given a blue treatment, making it truly resplendent.
The Conquistadors revealed its presence to the wider world in 1776, but it probably fell to earth over 10,000 years earlier – and for several centuries, it was used by the local populations to make a wide variety of tools.
Case: Pre-Columbian geometric friezes
The engravings draw inspiration from the typical architecture of the geometric friezes found on buildings in the Pre-Columbian city of Mitla, occupied by the Zapotecs. Some believe these bas-relief friezes form a mosaic symbolising the image of the Feathered Serpent.
Case lugs: the Maya deity Chaahk
These depict the Maya deity Chaahk, as observed on the monument at Kabah known as Codz Poop, the Palace of the Masks, in Yucatán. Chaahk is the rain god and protector of the harvests, striking the clouds with his thunder axe to produce rain and thunder.
A unique chronograph-watch for the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy
“To create the first chronograph-watch, we invented a new concept. This involved putting the chronograph before the watch. That was something fundamentally different, making MEMORIS a truly unique, original work. Over 300 components were required for the movement, and more than 50 for the case alone” – Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO & Creative Director.
MEMORIS is the first chronograph in the history of watchmaking to be both fun and educational. It moves the entire chronograph function onto the dial side, following three guiding principles: putting the chronograph in the central position on the dial; fitting it with a column wheel featuring a conventional clutch; and adding a monopusher, just like on Louis Moinet’s Compteur de Tierces, the first chronograph in history (1816).
For its second consecutive appearance at the Only Watch charity event, Louis Moinet has created MEMORIS ONLY WATCH, a unique piece designed to support the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy.
MEMORIS ONLY WATCH features a spectacular, contemporary design, requiring 147 components for the chronograph and 155 components for the automatic movement. The originality of the piece resides in the separation of these two functions, thus allowing the chronograph to become a primary function, with its mechanism fully visible on the dial.
The column wheel is the heart and soul of this exceptional timepiece. It comprises two parts, indexed to one another: six columns on the top section, and a cog base on the lower section. This bottom cog ensures the perfect positioning of the column wheel and controls its rotation, interacting with the control hook spring and jumper. Between them, the six columns orchestrate the functions required for the chronograph to work, together with the minutes hammer, blocking lever, and clutch. With a single touch on the monopusher, a unique performance unfolds before your eyes.
The plate is made from aventurine, a deep blue material dotted with a host of inclusions to form an amazingly lifelike depiction of a star-studded sky. The hours and minutes are read off a blue lacquered guilloché dial, positioned at 6 o’clock.
The counters and flange are made from a translucent material, specially designed to make both the chronograph mechanism and the aventurine plate fully visible.
The case is made from polished titanium and bears the authentic Louis Moinet signature on the caseband. The entire back of the movement can be seen through a sapphire caseback, with “N°01/01” engraved around it. The watch is wound using an oscillating weight, decorated with a lacquered blue concentric Clou de Paris pattern and engraved with the words “ONLY WATCH”.
The Louisiana alligator strap and alligator lining are hand-sewn; the strap is fitted with a clasp bearing Louis Moinet’s fleur de lys emblem.
Jean-Marie has been working in the Swiss watchmaking industry for more than a few decades. He has worked for companies like Daniel Roth, Perrelet and Lacoste Watches.
In 2003, Jean-Marie Schaller founded “Les Ateliers Louis Moinet SA” with the goal to bring back the creations and craftsmanship of a long lost watchmaker, “Louis Moinet.”
Louis Moinet inventor of the chronograph and watchmaker to Napoleon; Tsar Alexander I; King George IV of England; Marshal Murat, King of Naples; and American presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe just to name a few iconic figures of history.
We discussed, on location, at their booth in Baselworld 2018, the brand’s heritage, the watchmaker, this year’s novelties and more.
If you always wanted to know what it takes to make history, click play now and listen to this exclusive interview.
Interviewed by Alberic Virchaux