Introducing the Conceptual New Le Régulateur Louis Erard × atelier oï

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2021 has been a creative year for watchmaking, especially towards the entry-level price point. With launches like the Oris Divers Sixty-Five “Cotton Candy” trio, Brew’s latest Metric Chronograph, and even Tudor’s Black 58 925 with its silver case construction, the world of watches has not been short of interesting talking pieces. 

One of the more captivating novelties of the year was undoubtedly the trio of collaborative timepieces produced by Louis Erard and Alain Silberstein, which paired the latter’s signature playful and primary-color driven aesthetics to the former’s highly creative, form-over-function horological style. 

This week we see the next collaborative launch from Louis Erard that expands its renown as a creative powerhouse at the entry-level, the Swiss maker now unveiling the Le Régulateur Louis Erard × atelier oï limited edition. The new watch comes on the heels of Louis Erard’s previous limited-edition regulator release seen last month, that release being a trio of glass and stone dial variations on their standard Excellence Régulateur design.

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To call out the elephant in the article – your eyes aren’t deceiving you, the dial really looks like that. The style derives directly from the watch’s collaborative partner in atelier oï, a small experimental design team based not far from Louis Erard’s workshop in the Jura mountains. 

The watch was completely conceptualized by atelier oï upon the charge of its partner to “break down barriers in the world and make accessible what is often reserved for specialist clientele.” The response was to design a dial that “[radiated] from the centre outwards,” reducing the details of the regulator to only minimal forms, with an almost sundial aesthetic taking form and exemplified with engraved, asymmetrical rays that echo the signatures of the design house, such as their interest in uncommon materials, colors, and light. A trio of thin blue steel hands “add the dimension of time,” to the semi-minimalist style, the regulator configuration showcasing hours and running seconds via the smaller pointers, while the elongated hands indicates each passing minute. 

While the dial the primary draw of the watch, its featured within a finely executed case in-line with previous Excellence collection designs launched by the Louis Erard, inclusive of 42mm x 12.25mm x 49.60 mm three-piece steel construction, a domed sapphire crystal topping the style, and a thoughtful use of polishing throughout that works to elevate the dressier timepiece.

 

Inside the limited edition is a Sellita caliber SW266-1, an uncommon regulator-type movement likely based upon the more standard SW200 and used in previous Louis Erard releases like 2020’s Louis Erard X Vianney Halter Regulator. The automatic mechanism beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and is capable of a 38-hour power reserve, with its accuracy rated to Sellita’s élaboré grade, meaning its accurate between +/-7 seconds up to +/-20 seconds per day. 

Frankly, the movement is the least interesting part of the design, but it ultimately allows a straightforward powering for the uncommon timepiece that makes it simple to use and easy enough to repair. Louis Erard likely could have benefited from using a solid case back rather than showcasing a minimally finished movement with its partially skeletonized, branded rotor, but ultimately if you don’t like how the movement looks but love the watch, then don’t flip it over. 

The new Le Régulateur Louis Erard × Atelier oï is available now directly through Louis Erard’s online store, with the current production run limited to 178 editions and pricing marked at 3,500 CHF (just about $3,787 USD). If the launch is anything like previous Louis Erard designs, the watches are unlikely to last very long, though on that note a collaborative sequel could be just around the corner, too. Louis Erard.

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Caleb is a freelance writer based out of New Jersey. Since entering the world of watches, he has spent much of his time exploring the neo-vintage trend covering historically inspired, modern timepieces. Today, Caleb finds his greatest interests in utilitarian designs with outsized value propositions and in the personal stories behind up-and-coming brands.
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