In 2021, Louis Moinet unveiled the Astronef collection, featuring twin satellite tourbillons that revolve around the dial in captivating circular choreography. For 2024, the brand has expanded the highly technical collection with the release of the Louis Moinet Astronef Techno, which uses a silicon wafer engraved with microelectronic circuits as its dial to create a visually striking pièce unique.

The Louis Moinet company, which takes its name after the watchmaker who invented the chronograph in 1816, produces highly limited watches generally categorized as Cosmic Art or Mechanical Wonders. One look at the new Astronef Techno watch and it’s safe to say that it occupies both spaces.

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Wafers are ubiquitous in modern-day electronics; they’re thin slices of semiconductor material, such as silicon, used in manufacturing integrated circuits. While silicon wafers are an essential component of the insides of smartwatches, Louis Moinet opted to use one on the exterior of the Astronef Techno mechanical watch for visual impact. The dial of the watch is a silicon wafer engraved with a microelectronic circuit pattern, resulting in a plate of punchy prismatic colors that change depending on how the light hits the surface. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this dial from Louis Moinet; the Louis Moinet Art-Tech watch created for the now-postponed Only Watch 2023 auction featured the same silicon wafer face.

However, that model only had one tourbillon while the Astronef Techno has, as mentioned, two of them swiveling above the technicolored dial. Each satellite arm that holds a tourbillon cage not only rotates in a different direction but also at different speeds. One travels counterclockwise and completes a revolution around the dial in ten minutes while the other moves clockwise and finishes a lap in five minutes. As a result, the twin satellites cross paths every three minutes and twenty seconds. This is in addition to the one-minute revolution each tourbillon, weighing 0.25 grams apiece, completes on its axis. Between the kaleidoscope background, whirling tourbillons, and revolving arms with dramatic counterweights, seeing the Astronef Techno in action is quite the spectacle.

At the center of the dial and stacked on top of all the other components are the hour and minute hands, rendered in a bright yellow so as not to get lost among all the other details. Plus. the hands are coated in luminescence for easy nighttime reading.

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Commenting on the release, Owner and Creative Director Jean-Marie Schaller said, “Watchmaking of the future is all about defying conventions, exploring startling horizons and making emotional connections a key part of the concept. The Astronef Techno is my own vision for the future. It is the perfect fusion of ancient watchmaking traditions with the inventiveness of our time. Altogether, this timepiece represents a continuous quest for innovation.”

Powering the watch is Caliber LM 105, a hand-wound movement with two spring barrels (one assigned to each tourbillon) for a 48-hour power reserve. The position of the crown no longer determines whether it’s in time-setting or winding mode; instead, there’s a selector integrated into the caseback next to the sapphire crystal window that displays the movement. The movement operates at 21,600 vibrations per hour and includes 16 ceramic ball bearings and 54 rubies. According to Louis Moinet, it took three years to develop the Caliber LM 105.

The case construction includes an enormous sapphire crystal cylinder that sits inside a grade 5 titanium frame. The base of the frame measures 43.5mm in diameter and tapers to 41.6mm at the top of the sapphire crystal. The flange is also fashioned from titanium while the lugs are open-worked. The architecture of the case permits an expansive view of the dial from all sides of the case. With a black alligator strap and a 10-meter water-resistance rating, this is not a timepiece that should be anywhere near water.

The Louis Moinet Astronef Techno watch is a one-of-one piece and whoever decides to buy it will have to pay CHF 330,000 for the honor of owning it. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.


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