MÉMOIRE 1 – EMOTION IN ITS PUREST STATE
At long last the veil has been lifted – and the Mémoire 1 can be admired in all its glory. It first saw the light of day in the “Atelier de Maurice Lacroix”, the creative research and development unit which draws its inspiration from the experience, knowledge and skills of designers, engineers, constructors and watchmakers. The Mémoire 1 features several world firsts – above all, it is the first timepiece with a mechanical memory function.
A first glance at the Mémoire 1 already triggers many different emotions: its impressive presence immediately places this watch in the category of exceptional timepieces known as Grandes Complications. The strong and unique visual appearance is its first distinguishing feature. A closer look reveals the subtle harmony of the pure and elegant design with its smooth transition from mirrorpolished components to fine-brushed surfaces uniting the different levels of the case and dial. In a word, the Mémoire 1 incorporates that fantastic quality which typifies the most important creations of the watchmaking art – the fusion of elegant design and exceptional functions.
This has not come about by chance. The entire development process behind the Mémoire 1 focussed on an effort to unite eye-catching styling perfectly with simple readability and ease of use. The idea was to package up an innovative mechanism in such a way that the wearer can benefit from the technical advantages of his watch, so making its use a source of constantly renewed pleasure.
Despite its circular form which reflects the endeavour to achieve a pure and elegant impact, the white gold case of the Mémoire 1 comes in a unique and entirely new look. It is built up from several different levels and its screw-fitted bezel with a laterally mounted sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating enables the movement of the seconds hand which is linked to the minutes ring to be admired. Another innovative feature is the mode selection button which is integrated in the crown at 3 o’clock.
The dial also incorporates a number of innovations. Its different levels make the individual displays far more easily readable. A skeleton section with an aperture at 6 o’clock reveals the movement behind and the memory mechanism for the seconds. The date display is also special: with its uniquely inclined disc, this indication takes up a considerable amount of space, but does enable the date to be seen at first glance.
Another world first of the Mémoire 1 is the hours disc. This transparent disc is not made of sapphire, as might be supposed. After making detailed tests, the designers found that sapphire lacks the necessary density for this purpose and is therefore too weak for this particular application. So a different solution had to be found. Finally, a mineral-based material was chosen which is already successfully used today in pioneering industries such as the automobile branch or in mobile phones. A special treatment endows this material with great hardness and sufficient flexibility; Maurice Lacroix will therefore also be using it for other developments in future.
The hands are also particularly striking. The seconds hand is blued and mounted at its outer edge on the minutes ring, while the minutes hand has a white luminous coating with a blue radiance in the darkness. A skeleton hand at 3 o’clock shows the selected mode.
The Mémoire 1 is rounded off by the superb strap which is fully integral with the watch case by means of a hinge system. It is made of precious, matte-finished alligator leather and its buckle is in white gold.
The Mémoire 1 is the first watch to enable elapsed time to be memorized by an all-mechanical system, so elevating Maurice Lacroix to the exclusive circle of Haute Horlogerie or fine luxury watchmaking. But when the veil over its movement and appearance has now been lifted, the working principles of its complications remain part of the secret which surrounds this exceptional timepiece.
Those last secrets will be disclosed at Baselworld 2008, the International Watch and Jewellery Fair in Basel.
This message has been edited by SJX on 2007-12-01 19:04:23