Metropolis, a neo-Classical twist on the Louis Moinet tradition
The Ateliers Louis Moinet are renowned for injecting unique design and innovation into their traditional watchmaking pieces. Their latest newborn, Metropolis, adds a little modern futurism into the mix for 2017 in a play on classic codes.
When I think of Metropolis, I am reminded of the surreal atmosphere of the 1927 film by Fritz Lang. Imagine my joy and surprise when I learned that I would have the pleasure of wearing the new Metropolis model by Louis Moinet for the whole of the Easter weekend.
Art Deco architecture and modernity
As soon as it was on my wrist, the huge personality of this Metropolis was obvious. With a diameter of 43.2 mm it is a demonstrative piece, and yet it is suffused with genuine refinement. The dial exerts a certain ethereality. The openwork Roman numerals, putting in an appearance for the first time at Louis Moinet, and the occasional nod to Art Deco architecture, have a lot to do with it. And the reference to Fritz Lang suddenly becomes very tangible indeed.
The Roman numeral markers sporting an elegant Royal Blue are chamfered and bevelled to reflect the light on every facet, echoing the blue lacquer seconds circle and creating a harmony interplay of light and dark on the dial face. From the shiny blue lacquer finish, the polished steel parts that seemingly hover as if suspended in mid-air over the sand-blasted matt black base, through to the black "Neo" rim, the brand's latest innovative material accentuating a shimmering railtrack minute circle... every care has been taken to lift and lighten the entire creation. The onlooker's eye wanders from detail to detail, like an explorer of Fritz Lang's futuristic urban world.
Hypnotic movements and a touch of poetry
The openwork dial between 7.30 and 12 o'clock reveals the heart of the timepiece and, in what is a world first for Louis Moinet, a series of decorative touches incorporating the brand's symbols: the regulating organ of the exclusive LM45 calibre and the small seconds wheel. The balance spring at 11 o'clock beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations an hour, mimicking the hypnotic movement of one of the escapement jewels beneath the skeletonised small seconds dial at 9 o'clock. Metropolis springs to life beneath our gaze. The iconic Louis Moinet double-lined 'Gouttes de Rosée' dewdrop hands tipped with turquoise Superluminova lend a touch of poetry and tenderness.
The magical Neo watchcase
Blinded by the beauty of the Neo case, specially designed for this new ultra-modern model, you'd be forgiven for overlooking the third instance of openwork on the timepiece, next to the markers and the dial, attached to the lugs. The extreme finesse of workmanship enchances the illusion of weightlessness in the timekeeper. A closer look reveals the fact that together they form two vertical bridges supporting the entire case! This is a genuine architectural achievement in the purest Art Deco tradition, which is crowned by the brand's typical six-screw bezel. Fine art and design come together, underscored by the Louis Moinet signature engraved into one side of the case and the Fleur de Lys incised into the crown on the other.
Louis Moinet finishings
Last but not least, the sapphire crystal caseback leaves open to view the traditional haute horlogerie finishing touches typical of Louis Moinet. These include Côtes de Genève decor, pearled bottom-plates, circular-grained wheels, and polished chamfers. But it's above all the delicate, tantalisingly smooth movement of the oscillating weight mounted on ball bearing and concentric version of the Clous de Paris pattern that make a striking impression.
One final point for consideration: the caseback bezel carries not only the name of the model and brand signature, but also the famous symbols so beloved of Louis Moinet: the Fleur de Lys, lion, keys, star and the individual number of the piece, as is customary in fine watchmaking, for, lest we need reminding, this watch is part of a limited edition: 60 pieces crafted in steel, 60 in rose gold. These are innovative, modern, poetical timepieces. The deployant buckle, decorated with the brand's emblematic Fleur de Lys on a fine-scaled crocodile skin strap, confirms this model's place in the world of haute horlogerie.
The steel version, selling for CHF 10,500.- ex. VAT, is an affordable way to become the proud owner of a piece of independence watchmaking excellence. It is also a wonderful introduction to the universe of Louis Moinet, who once again delivers impressive proof of its master craftsmanship. Never before have so many unique examples of concepts, new techniques, exclusivity, art and design (the characteristic features of this historical brand) been concentrated into one model.