The chronograph was invented in 1816 by Louis Moinet. He worked very closely with Abraham Louis Breguet and became his personal advisor. Louis Moinet was a painter, sculpture and inventor. Two US Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe commissioned to have clocks made by this legendary watchmaker. One of these clocks is at the Thomas Jefferson Museum and the other is still at the White House and is considered one of the ten original objects at the White House that still remains there.
The company today is headed by an amazing man who I am proud to call a friend, Jean-Marie Schaller. I met him in 2014 briefly while he was exhibiting at JCK at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. I was introduced to him by mutual friend, David Arnold who is the Executive Vice President Publishing Director at Robb Report. I was able to form a great friendship and interview Jean Marie last year at JCK 2015. You can listen to that interview, here.
I am happy to report that Jean Marie was the recipient of a Guinness Book of World Record on behalf of his company for Louis Moinet inventing the chronograph in 1816. This is a big deal and I couldn’t be happier for my friend. He deserves it!
The Guinness World Records title that has just been awarded is the result of a detailed six-month investigation conducted by the organisation, calling for the provision of technical diagrams, historical proof, the written testimony of a large number of independent experts, and a whole host of photos and video material. All of these documents were submitted to the organisation’s own independent examination panel. Extensive discussions were required in order to confirm the authenticity of all the information submitted by Ateliers Louis Moinet, both to attest to the firm’s eligibility to claim the title, and to grant exclusive rights to its use.
“The substantial file of evidence we submitted was of course watertight; back in 2014, Louis Moinet’s Compteur de Tierces had already been unanimously recognised as the first chronograph in history by a select group of experts and historians,” explains Jean-Marie Schaller. “However, the Guinness World Records organisation is geared more to the general public, and as a result we had to review the entire submission from a different perspective in order to meet their criteria.”The Ateliers have just celebrated the bicentenary of the invention of the chronograph at Neuchâtel Observatory. Memoris, the timepiece produced to honour this invention, has already found a place in the collections of many lovers of fine watches.Three strictly limited editions have been created during this very special year. The first was unveiled in Geneva in January; the second, at Baselworld; the third, Memoris Red Eclipse, was unveiled at Neuchâtel Observatory and is currently shortlisted for the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.