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Louis Moinet’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: Celebrating a visionary
March 11, 2018

Louis Moinet, one of Switzerland’s most prestigious watchmaking brands, is celebrating the Year of Zayed with a unique masterpiece: the “Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque” timepiece.

2018 commemorates the anniversary of the birth of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The founder and undisputed leader of the United Arab Emirates from the date of its creation on December 2, 1971, died on November 2, 2004, having devoted thirty years of his life to structuring the United Arab Emirates.

Three years of work were required to manufacture this exceptional watch. Part of why it took so long was because it involved seeking out a hundred-year-old movement, one that was first manufactured at the time of Sheikh Zayed’s birth. And so it is that the heart of this timepiece was designed a hundred years ago, in the Joux Valley, just a few kilometres from where Sheikh Zayed liked to spend his holidays, in Lausanne and the surrounding Canton of Vaud, in Switzerland.

This historic foundation was then revisited to produce to an accomplishment of great cultural importance, appropriately displayed in quite an extraordinary housing. The case is made from 18-carat gold, using a patented manufacturing process. To enrich the sound of the minute repeater and discreetly activate the chronograph, more than a hundred component have been crafted for this unique timepiece, most of them fully hand-finished.

The dial is a work of art. It represents the legendary Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, commissioned by the Sheikh himself. It is the largest Mosque in the United Arab Emirates, with a capacity of 40,000 in with a space of 22,000 square metres, and is the largest man-made marble structure ever to have been built. Every aspect of its dazzling beauty, from the largest to the smallest, has been distilled onto a mother-of-pearl dial, hand-painted by a miniature artist. A special and possibly unique technique has been used to add a slight relief effect to this micro-painting. Magnificence surrounds it, too, in the form of thirty baguette-cut diamonds, emphasising the fact that it truly is one of the wonders of the modern Islamic world. The case is also set with 68 baguette-cut Top Wesselton VVS diamonds.

This unique timepiece will remain the only one of its kind. Created by Louis Moinet as a tribute to Sheikh Zayed and the United Arab Emirates, it has already been acquired by a well-known Sheikh from the Sultanate of Oman, at a price of CHF 2 million.

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2015 and 2016. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at: