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Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Louis Moinet Astronef Techno and its Sci-Fi Silicon Wafer Dial


Since 2013, Louis Moinet has made sure to captivate enthusiasts with each new release. Known for its audacious design and technical prowess, the Louis Moinet never fails to intrigue. In 2021, the unveiling of the Astronef, born from a collaboration between Louis Moinet, Concepto (a movement maker specializing in tourbillons), and designer Fabrice Gonet, showcased twin tourbillons rotating in opposite directions. The Astronef was presented in versions crafted from gold and titanium, each limited to just eight pieces. A recent addition to the Louis Moinet Astronef series is the Astronef Techno, a unique piece that shares its predecessors’ twin satellite tourbillon movement. However, what sets the Astronef Techno apart is its futuristic dial crafted from the silicon wafer, adding a distinctive touch to this exceptional timepiece.

The construction of the Astronef case commands immediate attention with its refined architectural design that showcases the three-dimensional movement within. The case is ingeniously crafted – a sapphire container sits on a titanium base, featuring openwork lugs and a case middle. Its dimensions span 43.5mm for the titanium base and 41.6mm for the sapphire top. Many of the complex, 471-component Astronef’s mechanism is hidden in the 3.75mm thick base, creating space for the ballet of the two tourbillons.

An interesting aspect is the illusion of a conventional bezel created by the sapphire dome and inner bezel ring when viewed from the side. However, a change in perspective reveals the absence of a bezel, allowing for uninterrupted admiration of the mechanical marvel – the movement in motion.

The central hour and minute hands of the Astronef Techno gleam vividly in any lighting; their yellow hue is complemented by luminescent material. Departing from conventional design, the Astronef Techno does not feature customary hour and minute markers. Instead, four dots are positioned along the inner bezel ring at cardinal points, with the Louis Moinet engraving beside the 12 o’clock position.

Presented in earlier Astronef versions with plenty of gold elements dial-side, here the movement adopts a more or less monochromatic appearance as a way to avoid optical cacophony since the movement’s captivating spectacle unfolds against the backdrop of a unique Astronef Techno silicon wafer adorned with intricately engraved microelectronic circuits. The backdrop undergoes constant colour variations, while multiple reflections transform the dial’s surface into an art object in its own right, experience much enhanced by the movement of satellite tourbillons, their two cages and their counterweights.

The two flying satellite tourbillons, positioned on different levels, rotate on their axes and circumnavigate the inner perimeter of the dial, intersecting 18 times per hour, equivalent to every 3 minutes and 20 seconds. The tourbillons, distinguished by the original counterweights positioned at the ends, are connected in the centre through a differential mechanism designed to harmonize their rates to enhance the watch’s accuracy. Each tourbillon draws energy from its dedicated mainspring barrel; both are prominently visible through the display caseback. Additionally, the case back reveals a function selector for crown operations – power for winding and time set for the hands adjustment. This innovative design eliminates pulling the crown; it is simply turned to perform operations.

The Astronef Techno is driven by the hand-wound calibre LM 105, boasting a power reserve of 48 hours and operating at 21,600 vibrations/hour. This impressive movement comprises 56 jewels and incorporates five ball-bearing mechanisms with seven ceramic bearings alongside one ball-bearing mechanism featuring nine ceramic bearings.

The Louis Moinet Astronef Techno is accompanied by an alligator strap adorned with an alligator lining, fastened securely with a folding clasp shaped like a Fleur de Lys. This timepiece is unique, denoted by the “01/01” engraving on its caseback, and is priced at CHF 330,000. For further details, please visit louismoinet.com.

https://monochrome-watches.com/louis-moinet-astronef-techno-silicon-wafer-dial-double-tourbillon-review-specs-price/



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