Although Nicolas Rieussec is known as the pioneer of modern chronographs, Adolphe Nicole’s patent for a pocket watch, obtained in 1862, is the first stopwatch equipped with the basic functions necessary for modern chronographs.
Perhaps this statement is outdated today, and Louis Moinet presents an amazing discovery that confirms that the French watchmaker is the true inventor of the chronograph. Rieussec’s invention is more of a ‘time recorder’. When the time is measured at the beginning and end, ink is dripped on the faceplate. The original purpose was to help the horse race time. Moinet’s watch is a real timepiece. The chronograph in the case has a central seconds hand, a running time timer and a zero reset mechanism.
The LouisMoinet ‘compteur de tierces’, 1815
The imprint on the inside of the case indicates that the work began in 1815 and was completed a year later. As a result, Moinet’s chronograph, which he called ‘compteur de tierces’ (counter of thirds), is about half a century before the first chronograph previously considered. But that’s not all. The extraordinary movement of this chronograph has an astonishing frequency of 216,000 vibrations per hour (30 Hz)-it was unheard of at the time, and it will not appear in the next watchmaking industry. century. In addition, because Moinet designed this chronograph for its own use, for accurate calculations of astronomical observations, such as the evolution of stars, the mechanism can run continuously for at least 24 hours, so it has a power reserve of about 30 hours.
Components of the Louis Moinet chronograph from 1815
The movement also uses a sesame chain system, which is currently in the resurgence of an invention that ensures constant force transmission to the original balance pendulum equipped with a platinum-adjusted torso. It even has a winding indicator that shows the power reserve through a small hole in the dust cover. The only difference between this invention and modern chronographs is that the start / stop button must be fixed in the extended measurement position.
View of the LouisMoinet “compteur de tierces” movement
Undiscovered for so long, we can only speculate on the significance of this unique timepiece for the history of watchmaking. But congratulations to Louis Moinet for taking the time to fully study the background of this chronograph, which is presented in this great video: