Jean-Marie Schaller, the owner of Louis Moinet is known as an innovator who brings history to life on your wrist via unique dials made from meteors to prehistoric fossils. Louis Moinet who lived from 1768 to 1853 is credited with inventing the chronograph. What this means is whenever one meets the current proprietor, they will be in for a treat of unique new offerings combining haute horlogery with a special flair.
Here in Las Vegas Schaller presented Dragon Tourbillon, a limited edition of 12 pieces, during Swiss Watch by JCK.
As Schaller puts it, “Slender and airy, powerful and revered, the Dragon has the body of a snake, the scales and tail of a fish, the face of a qilin, a fabulous hybrid animal with the antlers of a stag and the appearance of a horse or a stag. He also has the talons of an eagle and the eyes of a demon.”
Engraving the Dragon requires more than 50 hours of work, and is done by hand using a piece of 18K white gold. A technique – rarely applied to watchmaking – enables the alternation from charcoal-grey to polished gold, and brings the Dragon’s body to life. This is structured in a figure of eight, a number considered to be very lucky in Chinese culture. Through its ruby eyes, the Dragon watches the pearl of fire, represented in black jade in the centre of the watch.
Of course there is the Schaller twist: The body of the dragon has been cut out so as to reveal the fossilised dinosaur bone believed to be around 150 million years old. The rest of the dial is made out of black jade, which highlights the Dragon’s body in its figure of eight.
The Dragon is presented in an 18K rose gold case composed of 59 different components and equipped with the Louis Moinet signature crown guard. Price is $290,000.
Of course Schaller’s global perspective was on display as he also introduced the New York watch, with its dial made from a meteor found by Eskimos in Alaska, but named because it was first traded in New York City. Two versions limited to 60 pieces each are available in gold and titanium.
A third debut this year is the Russian Eagle, a double-headed eagle featuring a tourbillon in 18K white gold. Engraving of the eagle takes over 60 hours and only 28 pieces are being offered.