For somebody looking for a watch with design flair and plenty of originality that won’t break the bank, Louis Erard is a brand worth exploring. Always on the hunt for new ideas, Louis Erard has worked with many watchmakers and designers to create imaginative, original watches that also happen to be affordable. The latest project involves three Petite Seconde models from the Excellence collection with malachite, aventurine and lapis lazuli dials.
Instead of trying to dream up new models from scratch, Louis Erard reached out to renowned watchmakers and designers to give their unique interpretations of some of the brand’s classic models, like the Réglateur. And sure enough, the brand started to gain traction and visibility with big-name collaborations like Alain Silberstein, Vianney Halter and Eric Giroud. Consolidating the new direction, the brand called in industry consultant Manuel Emch, former CEO of Jaquet Droz and Romain Jerome, for an assessment. The idea, according to Emch, was “to offer what high-end watchmaking can provide at the most affordable price”. This has translated into Grand Feu enamel, hand-guilloché and even stone dials, without forgetting the super-cool pleated dial made in collaboration with atelier oï and the recent collab with Label Noir.
Stone Age Dials
Cutting stones, or for that matter glass, into fractions of a millimetre is a painstaking task and usually reserved for high-end watch brands like Piaget, Bulgari, Jaquet Droz, et al. Well, Louis Erard proves that stone dials can also be coupled with accessible prices and uses the same natural materials that appeared on the trio of Régulateur models last year. The model selected is the classic Small Seconds, recently spotted with a lovely salmon dial.
Enlivened with alluring forest green malachite, golden-speckled lapis lazuli and shimmering midnight blue aventurine glass dials, the watches feature a snailed matte opaline counter for the small seconds at 6 o’clock cut into the stone or glass. Keeping to minimalist dial elements, the silver Arabic numerals at 12, 2, 4, 8 and 10 are applied to the dial along with slim tapered indices. The hands represent the brand’s signature fir-tree shape. A discreet minute counter on the periphery (anthracite transfers) and the brand name and logo are also silver-coloured to match the case and dial elements.
Available in 39mm stainless steel cases with a height of 12.25mm, the round case with short lugs is polished, and the dial is protected by a sapphire crystal that protrudes slightly for extra charm. Beneath the transparent caseback is the automatic élabore grade Sellita SW261-1 movement with a customised openworked rotor with the LE logo. Part of the SW-200 family, the movement beats at 4Hz and delivers 38 hours of power reserve.
Each model comes with a matching-coloured grained calf leather strap with a stainless steel pin buckle: the aventurine dial comes with a deep blue calfskin strap; the lapis lazuli with a morning blue strap, and the malachite with a forest green strap. Functional quick-release levers allow for a quick change of strap.
Availability & Price
The three Louis Erard Excellence Petite Seconde models are limited editions of 99 pieces each and retail for a very attractive price of CHF 2,500. For more information, please visit louiserard.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.