Louis Moinet watches showcase rare rocky extremes
Louis Moinet has taken the use of extravagant materials to extremes of space and time with its two latest creations. One is the Dhofar, which incorporates bits of a lunar meteorite that crashed in the Sultanate of Oman, while the other, called the Acasta, contains pieces of the Acasta gneiss rock one of the oldest known surviving pieces of the Earth's crust.
Meteors rain down on the Earth all the time, and thousands weighing a pound or more reach the ground each year. Most of these are fragments left over from the formation of the Solar System billions of years ago, but some or the rarest are lunar meteorites, or lunaites, of which there are only about a hundred known. These meteorites were originally part of the Moon, but were blasted from its surface by asteroid impacts that hurled them into orbit.
One such is Dhofar 457, which was ejected from the Moon about 3,000 years ago before landing in Oman where it was discovered in 2001 by meteorite hunter Luc Labenne. A fragment of this cosmic wanderer has been formed into the dial of the Dhofar, where it acts as a backing to contrast the hour and minute hands.
The Acasta is a variation on the same theme, in this case using a piece of the Acasta gneiss for its dial. This metamorphic rock from the Slave craton in the wilds of Canada is estimated to be around four billion years old, making it one of the oldest rocks on Earth.
Both the Dhofar and the Acasta are built around the manual, 47.4 mm, 36-jewel LM52 calibre with a frequency of 21,6000 VPH (3Hz) and a 52-hour power reserve. But the party piece of this movement is the double tourbillon cages, which weigh only 0.4 g and have a diameter of 14.9 mm – making them the world's largest double tourbillons. These are the first to rotate in opposite directions as they power a rotating disc and can be seen clearly through the movement's blue-tinted titanium and gold bridges, as they sit 1.75 mm atop the mechanism.
This is all enclosed in an 18k rose or white gold case water resistant to 30 m (100 ft), which is secured with an alligator strap in blue or black with a folding clasp.
The Dhofar and Acasta sell for CHF 320,000 (US$337,000) and are each limited to a run of three units.
Source: Louis Moinet