Mechanical watches may seem like yesterday's technology, but upmarket watchmakers still take their craft very seriously as they push the horological envelope. An example of this is the Louis Moinet Vertalor tourbillon wristwatch, which has just won the Tourbilloncategory of this year's International Chronometry Competition – an event described by the organizers as "the equivalent of five Formula 1 Grand Prix races – without a single pit stop."

Designed to promote excellence in watchmaking, the International Chronometry Competition uses a series of objective tests to select the world's best watches in the Tourbillon, Chronograph, Classic, and Young Watchmaker categories. The timepieces are tested for four months during which they are subjected three times to chronometric certification tests in collaboration with the Swiss Chronometry Inspectorate (COSC), Besançon Observatory and Arc Advanced Engineering college (HE-Arc) as defined by international standard ISO 3159. In between these tests, they are put through torture trials that include 150 impacts and intense magnetic fields.

The results of the tests are then submitted to the judges in the form of anonymous, random tables and run through a formula that produces a score running from 0 to 1,000 with 1,000 being a perfect score. The Vertalor was the 2015 first prize winner in the Tourbillon class with 682 points.

The Vertalor is available in a choice of 18K white or red gold. The case, which is comprised of 59 parts, is an original design by Louis Moinet measuring 47 mm in diameter, it's water resistant to (30 m) 100 ft and boasts two anti-reflective sapphire crystals front and back. These reveal the manual 19-jewel movement with an octopus spring and a side-lever escapement capable of 21,600 vph at 3 Hz.

With a choice of black or blue dial decorated with "Côtes du Jura" engraving and blue-steel screws, the Vertalor has a tourbillon cage at 6 o'clock doing a full rotation every minute and is held in an 18K gold three-armed bridge, which Louis Moinet says is a first. A similar suspension holds the cover of the movement's 72-hour power reserve barrel at 12 o'clock.

The hours on the dial are marked by diamond-cut markers and the Fleur-de-lis emblem of Louis Moinet sits at 9 o’clock. Meanwhile, there is a meteorite fragment in the center of the dial and "Gouttes de Rosée" hands mark off hours and minutes. The luminous star-shaped second hand is based on the Julius Caesar clock made by Louis Moinet in 1825. It's all held on with the hand-sewn Louisiana alligator leather strap with 18K gold folding clasp sporting the Louis Moinet symbol.

"We wanted a timepiece that would pay tribute to Louis Moinet’s style, particularly that of the School of Fine Arts, where he taught on his return from Italy," says Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO and Creative Director of the Ateliers. "The Vertalor brings together the very essence of our present-day identity: it’s a radiant watch that highlights both technical achievement and the quest for aesthetic balance, complete with its Dew Drop hands, Côtes du Jura dial and many applique features. With such a wealth of details, producing this timepiece was especially exacting."

The Louis Moinet Vertalor is available in a limited run of two series with 28 in pink gold and 28 in white gold for €209,956 (US$232,715).

Tissot took out first prize in both the Chronograph and Classic categories, while no prize was given in the Young watchmakers section, as none of the submitted watches passed the rigorous tests.

View gallery - 2 images