One of the most beautiful and uniquely exclusive editions by this wonderful independently owned Maison, the Eight Marvels of the World is a one of a kind boxed set of eight examples of exceptional art horlogerie from the ateliers of Louis Moinet, released to mark the occasion of the marque’s première in the Watches and Wonders exposition in 2021, and presented in a magnificent elm wood travel trunk.
A prize collection for the most discerning of horologic connoisseurs, the Eight Marvels of the World depict eight monuments of historic cultural relevance from around the world and chosen by Jean-Marie Schaller, under whose sympathetic direction, this more than two hundred year old name was revived and today enjoys a reputation for its uncompromising standards of traditional haute horlogerie,
From Europe to the Middle East, through India, China and onwards to South America, the collection celebrates architectural icons of human achievement, from ancient civilisations to the twentieth century, capturing historical and cultural symbols of each of the eight nations represented in exquisite hand executed craftsmanship, using techniques, materials and gemstones to create a magnificent suite of eight unique timepieces of the most lavish luxury.
Of the eight watches, seven are manufactured in 18ct rose gold, with the exception in white gold. The cases are generously sized at 47mm across, and each features intricate hand engraved decoration in keeping with the artistic theme of each piece. As no two are the same, the only constant throughout is the in house designed and developed LM35, manual winding movement, which boasts an impressive 72 hours of power reserve, while beating at 21’600vib/h. Time is displayed in hours and minutes, with the captivating spectacle of a tourbillon indicating the seconds as it rotates within its circular aperture at the six o’clock position/
Taking the city of Rome as a starting point of this extraordinary tour of the globe, the theme of the Colosseum is instantly recognisable. All around the case and bezel, 202 arches are engraved into the rose gold, and the hollow lugs allow for an uninterrupted view of this stunning craftsmanship. Beneath the gently domed sapphire crystal, a three dimensional bird’s eye view looks down on rows of banked seating engraved into the gold dial, while the centre is an oval of black onyx, surrounded by a ring of baguette sapphires, in all the colours of the rainbow.
The Blue Mosque of Istanbul is the topic for the next piece, and using thirteen different shades of blue mother of pearl, this magnificent sixteenth century house of worship is depicted, with the building itself hand engraved in astonishing detail onto the surface of the fragile natural medium of the dial. The theme of traditional arabesque art adorns the surfaces of the bezel and lugs which extend around the flat-sided waist of the rose gold case.
One of Jordan’s most famous landmarks is the temple of Al-Khazneh, which is part of the ancient city of Petra. Carved into the sandstone rock face this monumental construction is replicated in miniature on the dial of the Petra piece. Using a combination of techniques, including bas-relief engraving, grisaille monochrome shading and fresco painting, the façade of the temple is depicted in its original condition, complete with its statues, which have been lost to the ravishes of pillage and conflict over the past one hundred and fifty years. The rich bronze tones contrast with the white gold case, which is engraved with intricate motifs, inspired by examples discovered in the city, and which stands out among the eight pieces as being the only one not created in rose gold.
Fascinating and mystifying mankind for over 4,500 years, the pyramids of Giza are surely the defining symbols of ancient Egyptian culture. In the Pyramid of Khufu the dial is crafted from a slice of Willow Creek Jasper stone, partially decorated with faint hieroglyphics and over which the Great Pyramid and statue of the pharaoh Khufu have been imposed. The tip of the pyramid is brilliant in mirror polished gold, while the sides are meticulously coloured with individual grains of white enamel. The artistic attention to detail is remarkable, right down to the use of basalt and gold leaf painting for the statue, similar to what would have been used so many thousands of years ago. The case is decorated with engraved lotus flowers and the upper surfaces of the lugs with Khufu’s cartouche.
The epic journey moves on to Asia, and celebrates the diversity of another continent and another culture. India’s most recognisable building, the Taj Mahal is depicted as seen through a mouchearabieh window which impresses the sensation of depth and distance as the lavish sixteenth century mausoleum fills the view. Against a background of white marble, the miniature painting is complemented by the engravings of mandala patterns around the side of the case, and the Mughal motif decoration on the bezel.
Long claimed to be the only man made structure to be visible from space, at least from low orbit, the Great Wall of China is still an incredible feat of human endeavour, spanning some 6,200 kilometres and taking an estimated 1,400 years to complete. In an elaborate masterpiece of artistic expression, the Great Wall features a hand engraved rose gold appliqué which weaves a winding path from distant heights, over an underlying sliver of green jade, to eventually form the gaping jaws of a dragon’s head in the foreground, while behind, another appliqué in white gold imposes a mountain which is set against a night sky of 122 sapphire stones, and eleven diamonds. The dragon motif is carried over to the engravings which complete the decorative artistry of this breathtaking piece.
The final leg of this horological odyssey makes landfall in South America, and the penultimate stopover is to celebrate the statue of Christ The Redeemer, which towers over the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. The most modern of the Eight Marvels, the statue is the ultimate statement of art deco design, and is depicted as a white gold engraving which dominates a colourful scene of land, sea and city, which have all been crafted using varying styles of enamelling, including opaque Grand Feu for the sea and the green islands, and enamel painting for the buildings whose colours encapsulate the vibrancy of Brazilian art and culture. A motif of engraved coffee and tobacco leaves adorn the surfaces of the rose gold case.
The journey comes to its conclusion in Peru, to the sacred city of Machu Picchu, the imperial seat of power and religious sanctuary of the lost Inca civilisation, constructed almost 2,500m high in the Andes mountains. Dominated by a golden sun set against a hand painted blue sky, and flanked with a pair of condors on either side, the dial of the Machu Picchu captures the vista of the long abandoned terraced citadel, its buildings engraved in gold with green lacquer fields, at the foot of mountains crafted from Yowah Nut opal, with the centrepiece in Crazy Lace agate stone. The case is decorated with an Inca glyph motif featuring hummingbirds and condors, with the sun engraved into the end lobes of each of the four hollowed lugs.
In keeping with the theme of travel and exploration, the breathtaking Eight Marvels of The World collection is presented in a special Louis Moinet travel chest of varnished elm burr, complete with leather straps and inside, a drawing of a globe by seventeenth century cartographer Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr.
A collection which not only explores and celebrates eight of mankind’s finest and most astonishing architectural accomplishments, but also of the beauty of artisanal hand crafted detailing and decoration, complemented by a masterpiece of traditional haute horlogerie, the set will take its lucky owner on a uniquely exclusive whistle-stop tour of the globe.