With a total production run limited to just 365 numbered pieces, the new Louis Moinet Nelson Piquet Chronograph (ref. LM-33.10.20) offers you a nice blend of easily recognizable, classic design with such high-tech elements as carbon fiber. Although the latter’s use is limited to just a few small parts of the timekeeper’s body and won’t make it noticeably lighter, they still give the watch that familiar sporty feel that Formula One enthusiasts seem to love so much.
If you take a couple minutes to compare this new beast with their earlier Louis Moinet Geograph Rainforest Limited Edition (Ref. LM-24.30.56) model that was released just over two years ago, you will immediately notices the signature styling cues of the Swiss-based brand.
The design of the body with its prominent lugs and a two-part bezel seems to absolutely identical, although in this particular, um, case, the rose gold lower part is replaced in favor of an even more impressive black carbon fiber, which is matched with chequered inserts in the crown and chronograph push-pieces that are fashioned from the same ultra-lightweight material.
Although watches that try to combine classic decoration techniques with more modern styling often fail miserably, looking stupid and pretentious, this watch looks as elegant, expensive and sporty as Bugatti Veyron.
In its press release, Louis Moinet didn’t name the movement that powers this beautiful gadget. If you’d allow me to make an educated guess, I would wager that this mechanism is based on an ETA 7750 chronograph caliber that was equipped with a nicely open-worked, custom-made oscillating weight. As usual for brands of such pedigree, the movement is beautifully re-decorated and is really a pleasure to look at via the smoked-grey sapphire crystal: an element of embellishment that has recently become a new fad among Swiss watchmakers dealing in premium-grade timekeepers.
If my guesstimate is correct, then you have a chance to get a watch powered by a caliber that not only has a reputation of a highly reliable and robust mechanism, but is also quite good at keeping time, especially if correctly adjusted by a qualified professional (and mechanism that are destined to be installed into expensive timekeepers usually do.) Also, compared to a proprietary caliber of similar design, it would be lot less expensive to keep in good working order with all those spare parts readily available at basically any authorized service station.
As usual, my only complain about this timekeeper is its size. Measuring almost 46 millimeters in diameter (and also quite thick at more than 17 millimeters), the watch will probably be too bulky for a majority of population. Of course, you can wear one even if your wrist is thin, but the watch -or, rather, the way you look wearing one of these otherwise absolutely beautiful gadgets- will probably draw too much attention to itself, which will be fine at the beginning, but may become quite tiresome when the initial euphoria wears out and the buyer’s remorse kicks in.
Photos: Louis Moinet
Louis Moinet Nelson Piquet Chronograph Limited Edition (ref. LM-33.10.20) watch specification
Price: $9900 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 44 hours
Movement decoration: Geneva stripes, polished and blued screw heads, open-worked oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, tachymeter
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Stainless steel with Carbon fiber
Crown material: Matches bezel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 45.60 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Hour markers: None
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Blue rubber or leather strap with stainless steel double folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides
Case back: Sapphire, tinted