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Independent watchmaker Louis Moinet recently launched an immersive new journey into the heart of the brand with a novel experience the Swiss luxury company has called “Louis Moinet Discovery Days.” The entirely online experience consists of a bold new approach to storytelling and an exploration of the ability of a timepiece to serve as a welcome distraction for its owner — especially during our current time, given public health considerations and the accompanying restriction of movement, which we, as individuals, so rely upon. Below is an exclusive interview with Louis Moinet’s Jean-Marie Schaller about the initiative. First, a brief explanation of why timepiece aficionados will want to check it out.
Begin by taking a virtual journey with Louis Moinet as Discovery Days kicks off with the launch of the new Louis Moinet website. An improved navigational experience to help novices understand the many modern and historic facets of the brand, as well as inspect the many limited-edition and pièce unique timepiece creations imagined by today’s Louis Moinet team. A major draw of the new site will be the “Digital Museum,” which serves as an archive to inspect not only the no-longer-available products Louis Moinet has delivered but to also better understand the creative journey the modern company and its artists have taken.
Historically, Louis Moinet was among the most influential watchmakers of the horological golden age toward the end of the 18th century and into the early 19th century. Louis Moinet is best remembered for his artistic, architectural approach to designing mechanical timepieces and the cases that housed their movements, as well as being an inventor of the chronograph time-measuring mechanism in 1816.
As a company, Louis Moinet was revived in 2004 and, since then, has created a bounty of beautiful and whimsical mechanical wonders earning the marque a number of design and product awards, including “Red Dot Design” awards and a UNESCO Award of Merit. Today, the entire Louis Moinet production is dedicated to small numbers of limited-edition watches, as well as select “pièce unique” items exclusively for VIP clients. Discovery Days, considered a first of its type activity in the watch industry, allows people to discover the quintessence of Louis Moinet watchmaking creations within a mysterious and enigmatic universe. To do this, Louis Moinet has devised a trilogy: three films that constitute both an epic saga across the galaxies and the starting point of our watchmaking creativity. This journey to the heart of the universe will be accompanied by commentary from Hollywood star Robert Davi.
Louis Moinet Discovery Days also marks the debut of the “Black Book,” a 100-page discussion of the brand’s historic roots, major technical achievements, and the stories behind many of the brand’s most interesting unique timepiece creations that fit into one of two categories — Louis Moinet Cosmic Art timepieces that are inspired by the skies (and often contain space rocks), and the Mechanical Wonders collection, which celebrates the emotion, engineering, and mastery required to create the complex, tiny machines that power mechanical timepieces.
Louis Moinet Discovery Days will also have visitors greet James — an astronaut who goes on an intergalactic journey to return a special meteorite rock to Earth, as featured in a three-part mini-film known as James’ Odyssey. Made especially for Louis Moinet and voiced by American actor Robert Davi, James’ Odyssey is meant to be a poetic and inspired look at where watchmaking originated centuries ago and what keeps collectors engaged with traditional mechanical timepieces, today — all in an original science-fiction style complete with all the drama and nuance that Louis Moinet suggests are at the heart of why its clients have a passion for their horological creations.
Now let’s hear directly from Louis Moinet’s own Jean-Marie Schaller about Discovery Days:
When you learned that 2020 would not offer any trade show opportunities to present new products and meet with clients, what were some of the first things that went through your mind? What were your feelings about offering some type of alternative media experience, and where did you find inspiration?
Jean-Marie Schaller (JMS): As an independent watchmaker, adaptability must remain our biggest strength. We are used to a quickly changing world and need to find an adequate response as fast as we can.
In past years, we all have seen the emergence of a digital world becoming stronger and stronger. Today, this world is our sole universe, for some weeks or months, at least! The rules have changed so quickly that it was a daily interrogation about what to do best…
The inspiration? That was the easy part. Our watches tell a story. We decided to produce three artistic films — James’ odyssey — and the result is rewarding. I am very happy about this way of introducing our creations; it reflects their souls.
The art of presenting many of today’s most interesting high-end luxury watches is challenging to replicate in a purely digital form. The discovery of small, hidden secrets, the reveal of a mechanism as it plays with the light, the raptured storytelling of the pieces path to creation: These are all stories that are more readily conveyed in person. Being a master at this craft, how did you conceive to best replicate this experience online?
JMS: A picture is worth a thousand words. We tried our best to produce an intergalactic trilogy, and the three films explain our creations. Also, our 100-page new black book is now available. It depicts the history of Louis Moinet, from its origins to the present day. Finally, our new website is not only more modern but will also enable our friends and customers to be closer to us and travel in the future with Louis Moinet.
Having said that, digital will never replace the human touch. I believe the best is a combination of both. We can’t wait to see the members of our Louis Moinet family soon, and in good health.
Louis Moinet watches today combine art, mechanical intrigue, and rarity of both production numbers and construction materials. Since you know the Louis Moinet fan base best, help describe to the aBlogtoWatch audience which of its members would find Louis Moinet products the most rewarding.
JMS: Our creations can be divided in two groups: cosmic art and mechanical wonders.
Cosmic art: As an example, Skylink has been created to celebrate the Apollo-Soyuz mission, meeting for the first time in space! Skylink is equipped with a small container in which there is a kapton foil, protecting Apollo on its return to earth, as well as fibers from the Russian Sokol cosmonaut glove.
Mechanical wonders: Derrick is a wholly new type of mechanical automaton. It represents the oil pump on the face of the dial, digging for the precious extraction.
Our key values are a unique story (Louis Moinet being one of the major watchmakers and the inventor of the chronograph), exclusivity (only one-of-a-kind creations or small limited editions), art and design, and creative watchmaking.
What are your personal favorite elements of Louis Moinet Discovery Days 2020? What should anyone who visits the new website not want to miss?
JMS: Definitely James’ Odyssey. I don’t think such an approach has existed in watchmaking before.
I take this occasion to mention that Discovery Days is an artistic platform, not a commercial one. We want to show horology under its true light: creativity.
Watch-lovers and spectators of all kinds may experience Louis Moinet Discovery Days at the new Louis Moinet website here.
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