Louis Moinet is officially the inventor of the Chronograph.

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After the best part of six months of procedures and thorough investigations, Louis Moinet has become the official holder of the title of “First Chronograph”, awarded by the official Guinness World Records organisation.
In bestowing its Guinness World Records award, the worldwide authority brings further recognition of a fact already widely acknowledged in the world of watchmaking: the chronograph was first invented by Mr Louis Moinet in 1816, with his “Compteur de Tierces”.

Chronometer versus Chronograph: What is the difference?

According to Thesaurus, a watch is an apparatus fo measuring and recording the progress of time. Obviously in the past 300 years watches have become more than just timekeeper objects. Several watchmaking complications joined the field of possibilities.
Chronometer: A name that is given to only watches with the highest precision standards. These watches have passed rigorous testing of the Swiss Official Chronometer Control which consists of 15 days under various conditions like exposure to different temperatures, positions or water levels. Obviously only watches made in Switzerland are controlled in terms of the Chronometer usage. All watches that have been produced abroad cannot be controlled.
Chronograph: A watch that has a stopwatch capability. It is a watch complication. Timepiece capable of measuring extremely brief intervals of time accurately, as a stopwatch able to record fractions of a second as well as elapsed time. Its counter can measure elapsed time in seconds, minutes and hours. The term, Chronograph comes from the Greek word for time, “chronos”, combined with the Greek word for writing, “graph”. It was Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec who developed the first marketed chronograph at the behest of King Louis XVIII in 1821. The King greatly enjoyed watching horse races, but wanted to know exactly how long each race lasted, so Rieussec was commissioned to invent a contraption that would do the job: as a result he developed the first ever commercialized chronograph. Rieussec was considered the inventor of the chronograph until the Louis Moinet pocket chronograph discovery in 2013 when history was rewritten.
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Louis Moinet, father of the first Chronograph

Louis Moinet’s profile is an outstanding one. Son of a French prosper family of farmers, Louis Moinet decided to do studies in Arts and Architecture. After living a couple of years in Italy, he got back to Paris and became a teacher in Fine Arts at Le Louvre. In parallel, he also began his theoretical and practical studies of watch making, an art which he already loved most passionately. He reestablished contact with his former master watchmaker and, within less than ten years, the master was to find himself in the position of student to Moinet. Watch making soon engrossed all of Moinet’s time and its tools brought him frequently to Switzerland where he spent extended periods of time.

Quite fast, Louis Moinet became the President of Chronometry Society of Paris which allowed him to meet several influent people at that time. One of them was Abraham-Louis Breguet. Breguet recognized that Moinet had a lot of talent and decided to work closely with him and in 1811 he became Breguet’s personal advisor. Among his many technical accomplishments, Moinet re-made a Ferdinand Berthoud regulator almost in its entirety. He also invented a counter that, even today, is unequalled. The same can be said for another regulator and an astronomical watch. In terms of watch making techniques, Moinet was a genius and he improved upon many existing methods. He was so inventive that he wrote a new treated about watchmaking – Nouveau Traité Général d’Horlogerie.
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Louis Moinet is in particularly renowned for his famous Traité d’Horlogerie, published in 1848 and widely reputed to be the finest book on horology of the century. Comprising descriptions of the finest watchmaking techniques, it was appreciated by the great watchmakers of his era such as Frodsham, Perrelet, Saunier and Winnerl, as well as by several other scholars and connoisseurs such as HRH Prince Alexander of Orange – all of whom appear on the list of the numerous subscribers to a book that was reprinted three times and circulated as far afield as Russia.
In the 19th century, watchmakers sought to increase the precision with which they could measure time by increasing the frequency of their watches. By 1820 the generally accepted limit was time measurement to the tenth of a second. Moinet’s compteur de tierces (“thirds timer”) was thus by far the most precise instrument of its period, measuring time six times more closely than the norm. Moinet’s division of time into sixtieths of a second is another historical achievement that places him among the great contributors to modern watchmaking. The chronograph’s balance beats at 216,000 vibrations an hour or at the then unimaginable frequency of 30Hz. To put that into perspective, the usual balance frequency in a modern wristwatch is 28,800 v/h or 4Hz. Louis Moinet is thus the father of high-frequency time measurement, although it was not until exactly a century later that a watch was made to beat his record.
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Technical specifications:

  • Full plates between four pillars, barrel and fusee
  • Ruby and steel cylinder escapement
  • Foliot balance with platinum adjustment weights
  • 30-tooth escape-wheel
  • Flat balance spring with seven coils
  • Six pierced ruby bearings with endstones making a total of 13 jewels with the ruby cylinder
  • Made in gilt and frosted brass
  • 216,000 vibrations an hour, 30Hz
  • Diameter 57.7mm
  • Height: 9mm
  • Signed on the upper plate: Louis Moinet
  • Power reserve: More than 30 hours
    State of wind indicator visible through an aperture in the dust cover
  • Silver Case with a rim around the bezel and caseback
  • Bezel with a bayonet fixture
  • Hinged dust cover, locked by a threaded stud
  • Four-part semi-bassine case with flat caseband
  • Silvered and frosted metal dial, signed Louis Moinet
    Three subdials on the face:
    Top left: 60-minute counter
    Top right: 60-second counter
    Bottom centre: 24-hour counter
  • Hands: Slender, counterpoised centre hand for the 60ths of a second
    Two identical hands for the seconds and minutes counters
    An open-tip hand for the hours
    All the hands are in blued steel
  • Four hallmarks on the dust cover: 1. Association des Orfèvres de Paris (goldsmith’s guild); 2. Master’s mark; 3. Second rooster (Ag 900); 4. Guarantee No 815.
  • Controls: At 12 o’clock: button to start and stop the chronograph
    At 11 o’clock: button to return the 1/60 seconds hand to zero.

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Louis Moinet, the heritage of Chronograph into the modern world

Louis Moinet pursuits its path of greatness and loyal to the spirit of the founder, the Swiss brand perpetuates the legacy of exceptional timepieces. Here are 2 best picks from our editor that will show you how amazing this watchmaker is.

Louis Moinet Memoris Chronograph

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Memoris, the first chronograph-watch, lights up the stars. This limited edition marks the start of a series of commemorative pieces dedicated to the bicentenary of the invention of the chronograph. Here the 147 different pieces of the chronograph function is displayed in the dial. It is an amazing celebration of the chronograph by Louis Moinet.

  • Monopusher chronograph with column wheel
  • Chronograph mechanism visible on dial
  • Hours and Minutes (at 6 o’clock)
  • Seconds (at 9 o’clock)
  • 60-second chronograph (central hand)
  • 30-minute chronograph counter (at 3 o’clock)
  • Chronograph hand
  • Hour & Minute “Gouttes de Rosée”® dew-drop hands, blue-tinted with luminous coating
  • Rounded lacquered dial, diamond cut bead
  • Enamel dial (200th Anniversary collection)
  • Automatic click movement with chronograph function on dial; hours and minutes off-centre at 6 o’clock.
  • 302-component LM54 caliber, designed and manufactured by Louis Moinet
  • Winding: Automatic, bi-directional
  • Oscillations: 28,800 vibrations per hour
  • Frequency: 4Hz
  • Balance wheel: Glucydur, chronometer quality
  • 5 position settings
  • Lines: 13 ¼
  • Power reserve: 48 hours
  • Jewels: 34
  • Diameter: 30.40 mm
  • Height: 8.90 mm
  • Decoration: Côtes de Genève, diamond-polished facets, diamond-cut chamfers and circular gears with 5N colour finish and straight-line steel.
  • Pawl winding mechanism
  • Pawl winding system: comprises a baseplate and two jewelled pawls
  • ‘Crab claw’ spring mechanism
  • Gearing: automatic wolf-teeth gear
  • Ball bearing: 7 Myrox balls (ceramic), diameter: 0.397 mm
  • Oscillating weight: Dual material, with concentric “Clous de Paris” and “Fleur-de-lis” pattern
  • Case: Original Louis Moinet®, composed of 52 pieces, design with two-part bezel and 6 screws, assembled at a 17° angle
  • Monopusher: “Clous de Paris” pattern
  • Material: 18K gold
  • Diameter: 46 mm
  • Thickness: 15.75 mm
  • Water resistance: 50 meters
  • Case back: Fitted with 7 screws, engraved with individual number and Louis Moinet symbols
  • Lugs: Screwed settings (1 black zircon jewel and 3 screws per lug)
  • Crystals: Two convex sapphire crystals with non-reflective coating on both faces
  • Crown protection: Patent pending
  • Distance between lugs: 24 mm
  • Strap: Hand-sewn Louisiana alligator leather with alligator lining
  • Buckle: 18K gold folding clasp with “Fleur-de-lis” motif, two-strand, black DLC-treated steel

Louis Moinet 20 Second Tempograph

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Technical, architectural, fun, and above all unprecedented: the 20 Second Tempograph breaks down the barriers between traditional and contemporary watchmaking, and offers a vibrant tribute to the genius of Louis Moinet. The Tempograph’s expansive dial showcases a twenty-second retrograde mechanism, developed by Ateliers Louis Moinet in collaboration with Concepto. This is much more than just another three-hand watch. The timepiece features a large central retrograde second hand. With a continuous twenty-second sweep, it brings the dial to life in a unique manner – a direct nod to the automatons from the Enlightenment era of watchmaking, when Louis Moinet himself was creating his finest timepieces and grandest clocks.

  • Hours & Minutes
  • 20-second retrograde mechanism
  • “Gouttes de Rosée”® (dewdrop) hands, blued steel
  • Mechanical self-winding
  • Calibre LM39 developed and manufacture-made by Louis Moinet and Concepto
  • Winding: Self-winding
  • Oscillations: 28,800 vph (8 V/S, 8 vibrations per second)
  • Frequency: 4 Hz
  • Lines: 14 ½
  • Power reserve: 48 hours at maximum wind
  • Jewels: 36
  • Decoration: Circular Côtes de Genève pattern, jewels with diamond-cut chamfers, and circular satin-finish gears with 5N gold-toned finish
  • Case: Original Louis Moinet® design featuring six-screw bezel
  • Materials: Grade 5 titanium with polished and matt finishing
  • 18K rose gold
  • Diameter: 43.50 mm (titanium) ; 44 mm (18K gold)
  • Thickness: 15.60 mm (titanium) ; 16.10 mm (18K gold)
  • Water resistance: 50 metres
  • Case-back: Equipped with 7 screws, engraved with individual number and Louis Moinet symbols
  • Crystals: Two sapphire crystals with anti-glare treatment on both sides
  • Crown guard: Patent pending
  • Width between lugs: 24mm
  • Strap: Hand-sewn Louisiana alligator leather with alligator leather lining
  • Buckle: Double folding clasp in 316L stainless steel
  • Pin buckle in 18K gold

As you can see, Louis Moinet excels in the art of watchmaking. We are happy that the Guinness Book of records have certified the fact that Louis Moinet has invented the Chronograph. You can see more about this amazing brand by connecting to the official website here:http://www.louismoinet.com

Tic Tac Tic Tac, the chronograph is counting…

Arsene Wargas

Info sourced by the author for LuxuryActivist.com. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are for illustration purposes only.

Arsene Wargas

Arsène is a young yet very passionate Parisian author. He is passionate about luxury watches and joined Luxury Activist team since 2015. While working in PR and marketing he loves to share his passion for luxury Swiss watch-making. He contributes in a regular base with articles around watch brands, history and new launches. Follow Arsène on his social networks.