Throughout horological history, automatons have drawn on the expertise of talented watchmakers, showcasing the adroit skills of their creators. The Louis Moinet Black Gold Derrick replica watch wonderfully animates the successful extraction of oil whilst indicating the hours, minutes and seconds.Quite simply, until suitable alternatives can be found to replace oil, fulfilling all of its many uses, the viscous liquid will remain much sought after.
In 2013, Louis Moinet, the high-end Swiss watch replica brand, produced an unusually designed watch replica referencing the world of oil extraction with a unique dial design, the Derrick Tourbillon. The highly creative watch replica company incorporated a fully functional miniature derrick, mechanically nodding, courtesy of its hand-wound movement. In creating this model, Louis Moinet successfully fused playful design with fine watchmaking. Moreover, at the base of the dial, a tourbillon escapement re-emphasised the technical prowess of Louis Moinet, famous for inventing the chronograph in 1816.
The Mens Louis Moinet Derrick Tourbillon replica watch has proved incredibly popular with successive, limited edition executions of the model promptly finding new owners. In 2015, Louis Moinet released the Derrick Gaz referencing the extraction of gas. This model, whilst sharing a family likeness to the Derrick Tourbillon, featured new design elements, including an eye-catching power-reserve indicator resembling a manometer.
Despite society becoming more environmentally conscious, increasingly seeking so-called ‘green energy’, oil-based fuels continue to be the most popular means of powering motor cars. Oil is not only employed to make petroleum and diesel, by-products can be found in cosmetics, detergents, plastics, electronic items, synthetic fibres and even foodstuffs.
At Baselworld 2016, I visited the Louis Moinet exhibition stand and perused the brand’s latest models. Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO of Les Ateliers Louis Moinet, together with his team have, once again, been busy conceiving some fascinating timepieces, including a new version of the Derrick Tourbillon, the Black Gold Derrick.
Around the globe, numerous companies continue to explore vast swathes of land, test drilling in the hope of discovering oil, often termed ‘black gold’. A productive derrick, or ‘nodding donkey’, extracting oil from beneath the earth’s epidermis has made many individuals, companies and countries incredibly wealthy, leading to the expression ‘striking it rich’.
The Black Gold Derrick is open-worked, showcasing its skeletonised movement and according front to back views through the watch. The movement bridges reference the hue of oil by employing black PVD.
Located between 2 and 4 o’clock is the drive shaft which in turn moves the ‘walking beam’, positioned between 10 and 2 o’clock. Concluding the anatomy of the Derrick is the oblong-shaped ‘head’ attached to the left hand side of the walking beam. This automaton continuously moves, completing one cycle every 15 seconds. The silver tone of the Derrick contrasts wonderfully against the black PVD movement bridges.
The hour and minutes are indicated with rhodium-plated Gouettes de rosée hands, found on several other Louis Moinet timepieces, gracefully imparting the time.
There are no hour markers and no chapter ring, making interpretation of the exact minutes more difficult. However, I feel this decision taken by Louis Moinet is justified, as the addition of Arabic numerals or batons would have cluttered and, therefore, marred the appearance of the dial display.
Positioned at 9 o’clock is a barrel of oil, formed from titanium, symbolising the successful extraction of black gold. The barrel is in a constant state of rotation and features a red track in combination with Arabic numerals to denote the running seconds.
A tourbillon cage sits in the lower portion of the dial area. It makes one revolution every 60 seconds, countering the negative gravitational effects on the precision of the timepiece.
The 47mm 18-carat white gold case accords substantial wrist-presence. For some would-be buyers, the scale of this watch replica may prove too large. However, I found its girth conferred a highly agreeable union with my arm.
The new white gold case of this Louis Moinet timepiece is described as ‘NEO’ by the brand, a reference to the contemporary design language used. The lugs are open-worked, bestowing a visual lightness to their appearance. Moreover, the interaction between the lugs and the caseband is very complex, providing fascinating and delightful sculpted contours which transcend the perfunctory.
Comparing the design language of the Black Gold Derrick with its forebear, the Derrick Tourbillon, there are numerous other refinements to the design. The bezel is now retained with six-screws, evenly spaced apart and features a brushed surface that contrasts with the adjacent polished white gold. The new crown design is slimmer, sitting closer to the caseband and incorporates the maison’s fleur-de-lys logo in relief on its vertical plane.
The hand-wound Caliber LM14D movement magnificently reveals many of its components, including the gear train. By freely disclosing many parts usually shielded from prying eyes, there are no places for second-rate finissage to lurk. Rest assured, the finishing of this movement is top drawer with hand-finished bridges and perlage gracing the mainplate and derrick bridge.
Appraising the movement via the exhibition case back, the crown wheel can be seen. Furthermore, the transmission wheel is adorned with sumptuous sunray-brush, while the adjacent ratchet wheel is presented with a glorious spiral-shaped motif.
Gold chatons doff their hat to fine watchmaking tradition. The movement features an unusual ‘Octopus spring’, effectively combining three springs in one and resembling the legs of the eponymous sea creature.
Evaluating the dial of the watch, agreeable symmetry is achieved with the positioning of the tourbillon escapement at 6 o’clock and the spring barrel located directly above. The spring barrel has an open-worked cover exposing the coiled mainspring within, while the power-reserve of 72 hours is proclaimed on the edge of the barrel cover.
The design of this timepiece exudes modernity with its open-worked movement and lugs. Furthermore, the new crown and bezel design, when contrasted with those fitted to the Derrick Tourbillon, prove neater and more contemporary.
I personally adore the free disclosure of the various movement components which indulges my fetish for horological voyeurism.
While the Black Gold Derrick is fun, its technical merit should not be overlooked. This watch replica is a serious exemplar of haute horlogerie and those lucky few who acquire one of the 28 limited edition pieces will be very fortunate, owning a timepiece imbued with rich, eye-catching details.
Throughout horological history, automatons have drawn on the expertise of talented watchmakers, showcasing the adroit skills of their creators. By producing the Black Gold Derrick, Louis Moinet has superbly demonstrated its mechanical virtuosity.
- Model: Louis Moinet Black Gold Derrick
- Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 47.00 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; automaton.
- Movement: Caliber LM14D, hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 27 jewels; power reserve 72 hours
- Strap: Black alligator leather strap, presented on a folding clasp.
- Price: CHF 260,000 excluding taxes (RRP as at 17.5.2016)
- Limited Edition: 28 pieces
The ingenious design language employed is fantastic, overflowing with wonderful creativity while still proving a practical ownership proposition.This Louis Moinet black gold skeleton copy timepiece playfully replicates the extraction of oil in miniature form while proffering the functionality of a highly accurate Swiss timepiece.