A couple of years ago I created a very unusual watch with the assistance of Konstantin Chaykin. The timepiece called the ‘Edge’ was highly experimental and design to provoke attention. For the case, I commissioned a UK craftsman called George Slaughter to make a huge case fabricated from concrete. Essentially I wanted to create a raw aesthetic that pays homage to brutalist architecture. Fortunately, the concept appealed to Giorgia Mondani who very kindly let me write a detailed review for her highly successful Mondani Magazine. Around 100,000 copies were scheduled and distributed at Baselworld and Watch & Wonders. However, due to COVID, both shows were cancelled and it never got the coverage I’d hoped for. If I felt frustrated by this experience just imagine the level of disappointment many luxury brands.
Even though COVID Is still active and present companies are now trying to adapt to the situation. That’s why I was delighted to hear about Dubai Watch Week. Director Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi states “our goal is to create an educational, experiential, and networking event like no other”. For that reason, it seemed only natural that a brand of Louis Moinet’s calibre would be attending the event. Recently I completed my 10th book about modern dress watches and got to include their fantastic ‘Space Revolution’. Personally, I was really disappointed this timepiece didn’t receive the recognition It deserved at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2021 awards.
On a positive note, Jean-Marie Schaller and the Louis Moinet team have bounced back pretty quickly with the release of the ASTRONEF. This amazing watch is definitely one of my highlights from Dubai Watch Week. What makes the timepiece so unusual is the technical construction of the case. Effectively Louis Moinet has created a sapphire container mounted on an 18-karat gold frame. This gives the watch a refined architectural appearance that should appeal to connoisseurs. It also perfectly frames the three-dimensional multi-layered skeletonised dial.
Powering the watch is a sophisticated Flying Satellite Double Tourbillon 56-jewel hand-winding movement. The Caliber LM105 is composed of 471 individual parts and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. This mechanical masterpiece is perfectly showcased via the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the ASTRONEF features hours and minutes. The watch also has a power reserve of 48-hours and is water-resistant to a depth of 10-metres. To complete the picture the timepiece is presented on a high-quality alligator strap with matching 18-karat gold folding clasp.