Remember the theory that the Martians built canals on Mars as a means of irrigating their planet? These days, it’s an idea that’s looked back on with fond amusement, but Percival Lowell – born in 1855 and thus a contemporary of Louis Moinet – took the idea very seriously. He carried on the work begun by Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who thought that the dark marks he had observed on Mars were a series of lakes and canals. This romantic vision of astronomy is the first thing that draws the gaze on the case of the new “Mars” limited edition piece created by Ateliers Louis Moinet.
This unique creation by Louis Moinet enshrines an extraordinary spaceborne adventure. The collection (comprising 12 pieces in rose gold and 60 in steel) features a genuine Mars meteorite fragment in a capsule at the three o’clock position, amid a dial that faithfully reproduces the surface of Mars, complete with its legendary volcanoes. Collectors who are also astronomy buffs will have no difficulty in recognising Olympus Mons in the centre, Ascraeus Mons between 1 and 2 o’clock, Pavonis Mons between 4 and 5 o’clock, and Arsia Mons between 5 and 6 o’clock. To create this Martian landscape, the brass dial has undergone expert craftsmanship, with each crater reproduced individually. On the rear side, the oscillating weight is in the same shade as the dial, with a copper-coloured, concentric Clous de Paris stud finish.
150 years of Around the Moon
Around the Moon is a landmark work by Jules Verne that revolutionised the genre of speculative fiction. Exactly one hundred years before Apollo XI accomplished the real thing, Jules Verne anticipated a journey to the Moon. A visionary in every detail, he imagined a launch site on the coast of Florida – and a rocket splashing down in the sea after having completed its lunar orbit. Ateliers Louis Moinet feel that the 150th anniversary of Around the Moon deserves to be celebrated befittingly. History does not record whether Jules Verne and Louis Moinet ever met, but it’s well within the bounds of probability: both were men of science with very advanced astronomical knowledge (Moinet to conduct his scientific research, Verne for the purposes of researching his written works); both lived in the same place during the same period (1848-1853), probably moving in the same circles, including the French Academy of Sciences, and frequenting the same people, such as the famous astronomer Lalande.
Ateliers Louis Moinet are celebrating this close encounter at the highest levels of astronomy with a limited edition comprising just 12 rose gold pieces and 60 steel pieces: “Moon”. At three o’clock, the “Moon” piece features a capsule containing a genuine lunar meteorite fragment. The capsule is positioned amid a dial that faithfully reproduces the surface of the Moon, complete with its familiar craters. Indeed, expert craftsmanship has been exercised on the brass dial to produce accurate depictions of Gassendi, Tycho, and Cassini, the best-known craters on the visible face of our closest neighbour.