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Louis Moinet Unveils Ultravox, an Hour Striker

Louis Moinet today unveils Ultravox, the independent watchmaker’s first pure hour-strike watch, a timepiece with a mechanism that chimes each passing hour on the hour with the appropriate number of chimes.

Debuted to coincide with the 250th birthday of company namesake Louis Moinet, the Louis Moinet Ultravox shows off its complex chiming mechanism by placing it in plain sight directly on the dial.

The result is a 46.5mm rose-gold-cased watch that allows the wearer to enjoy the chiming mechanism’s hourly dance. The wearer can watch as the central independent seconds hand (the flirt, in watchmaking parlance) triggers a system arming the hammer at twelve o’clock to then strike out the hours on a gong circling the movement. A silencer mechanism allows the wearer to disengage the chime if desired.

Sketch of hammer striking the gong

Louis Moinet enlisted the talents of the Gaïa Prize-winning watchmaker Eric Coudray to design the Ultravox. Coudray’s team had to design a special plate with more than fifty jewels to engage the chime mechanism’s various components, many of which are finished in “Moinet blue” to showcase the acoustic mechanism. The rear of the Ultravox reveals a system with darkened, parallel double rotors. One serves to generate force for the hours and minutes mechanism, while the second rotor is fully employed to power the chime.

A sketch of the Ultravox chiming mechanism

Louis Moinet says it chose the Latin name Ultravox (strong voice) as a nod both to the sound of the strike mechanism and to the neoclassical influences on Louis Moinet. Only twenty or so pieces will be made a year with its first limited edition made as twenty-eight rose gold timepieces.

“Louis Moinet was a scientist, a man of precision motivated by fine workmanship,“ says Louis Moinet CEO Jean-Marie Schaller, who unveiled the Ultravox today in Geneva and will again unveil the watch on June 21 in Bourges, Louis Moinet’s birthplace.

“In a world first we decided to lay bare all of the mechanics of this grand complication. It’s a natural extension of the watchmaking style that we originally implemented for Memoris, our chronograph watch that, for the first time, revealed all the workings of the chronograph on the dial side,” he adds. “Ultravox goes much further, unveiling its entire mechanism. It embodies the Louis Moinet style more than any other timepiece.”

iW will have more imagery and technical details of the watch in the coming weeks. Price: 130,000 CHF, approximately $130,700.

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