Louis Moinet: The CEO who puts meteorites in watchesApril 21, 2014
I am from the Jura mountains in Switzerland, which for centuries has been a very important place for the Swiss watch industry. I grew up knowing two things: be a valued member of society; and watches are important.
My first watch was a Ramona. I didn’t come from a rich family, and it was a gift from my family for my age de raison – the age when you are deemed responsible to make decisions for yourself. I remember when I was 18, I went to London and I was wearing a new digital watch and a small girl saw it and said: “You have lost your hands on your watch!” – what a wonderful thing to say.
Louis Moinet was one of the most famous watchmakers in the 19th century, who made clocks for some of the most important people of the time. In fact, Moinet made clocks for two American Presidents – Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. One of those clocks was one of the ten objects that originally furbished the White House 197 years ago.
He also made clocks for Napoleon, the Queen of France and the Tsar of Russia. But none of this was common knowledge when I bought the company in 2003, in fact we spent a lot of time researching and discovering these stories that had been lost. Every two months we would uncover something new. It was almost like finding a black box without knowing what was behind it with every revelation better than the last!
We only produce 500 watches per year – each one a limited edition – because we aim for the extraordinary. We are the only watch brand that incorporates meteorites from the Moon and Mars.
Some of the rocks we’ve used date back to 4 billion years old! You cannot find anything older in the whole universe.
There are less than 100 Moon meteorites and only 50 Mars ones registered in the world, which means that the price per single gram costs more than gold, platinum and diamond combined! It is the most expensive material on earth. We create a sense of exclusiveness so you will likely never see someone wearing the same watch.
The reason that everything we do is limited is because the value of the materials means that we cannot keep making more of them. The materials are in limited supply and so we have to be very creative in order to use them. Some of the rocks we’ve used date back to 4 billion years old! You cannot find anything older in the whole universe.
Cheese, Egg and Onion
I am not a man of routine. In fact, my main strength is that I am always looking to discover and pioneer things. When I started at Louis Moinet, I didn’t feel a great sense of responsibility towards the brand, but after having discovered his history, I now see my role as ensuring that we preserve the heritage of the name.
I could have sold the company and be living a life of luxury by now, but that doesn’t interest me. I want to make sure that the Louis Moinet is restored to the top level of watch making.
My business card says that I am the CEO, but my daughter tells me it stands for: Cheese, Egg and Onion.