Louis Moinet’s story begins nearly 250 years ago in the city of Bourges, France. In 1768 he was born to a prosperous family of farmers and excelled in a broad range of subjects.
These included architecture, painting, sculpting and watchmaking. From 1806 he manufactured incredibly complicated clocks for dignitaries like Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte and King George IV of England. He is now acknowledged as the inventor of the modern Chronograph in 1816. His device was called the “compteur de tierces” and used primarily with astronomical equipment
Back in June I wrote an in depth review (on my own website) featuring the fantastic Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph Open Home time. This editorial credited Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec as the original creator of the chronograph. When I recently spoke to the present day owner and founder (of Louis Moinet Watches) Jean-Marie Schaller he was very quick to highlight what I had previously written. To use the correct terminology he commercialized and marketed the chronograph at the bequest of Louis XVIII of France. Nevertheless both of these amazing men will be fondly remembered for their great contribution to the world of horology.
The modern day independent company Louis Moinet has no connection to the original watchmaker but still honours his spirit. All of their exclusive timepieces are handcrafted using the finest traditional techniques. The phenomenal Derrick Tourbillon is a great example of this fine craftsmanship and in my opinion absolutely stunning. This formidable watch derives the name Derrick from a lifting device often used in the oil industry.
With a diameter of 47mm the watch is generously proportioned and is certainly designed to make a statement. These measurements are larger than average and should appeal to a broad masculine audience. I have personally worn many watches of this size and generally found them to be comfortable. Due to the choice of luxurious 18-Karat white gold for the case material it should also feel fairly lightweight to wear. Realistically a timepiece of this quality and price would only be reserved for very special occasions.
Visually the Derrick Tourbillon is high accomplished and utterly mesmerising. The dial features a brushed aluminium working derrick, which completes its cycle every 15 seconds. This unique industrial element perfectly contrasts with the more classical “Côtes du Jura” decorated petroleum blue dial. I love the exposed mechanical characteristics of the design especially the imposing tourbillon located at 6 o’clock. Other features include the bespoke 59-part case, engraved Louis Moinet crest and delicate hour minute hands. Overall the composition is well considered and skillfully executed.
Beneath the magnificent façade lies a very sophisticated mechanical hand-winding tourbillon movement. The Calibre comprises 19-jewels and oscillates at frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). It is also hand assembled and engraved with a beautiful “Côtes du Jura” pattern. This artistry can be viewed through the watch’s sapphire crystal case back. Functionally the watch features hours, minutes and a respectable power reserve of 72 hours. The Derrick Tourbillon is also water resistant to a depth of 30 metres.
The Derrick Tourbillon is limited to only 12 pieces and has a hand sewn Louisiana alligator strap with matching 18-karat gold folding clasp. Priced for the connoisseur at: CHF 280,000 (approximately $314,020).
By Steve Huyton
You can read more of Steve’s watch reviews on his own website: www.totalwatchreviews.com