We’ve been covering Louis Erard’s ongoing series of limited edition regulator watches made in collaboration with many distinguished brands, watchmakers, and creators since their surprise LE with Vianney Halter back in late 2020. Looking at Louis Erard’s own website, it would appear that (depending on how you count them) at least 7 subsequent limited edition regulator collaborations have been released, and it seems that they have all sold through their entire production run. I would think that has to make this series one of the most successful ongoing limited edition campaigns in all of watchmaking, which is not something I’d have expected from Louis Erard in, say, the summer of 2020. But here we are – they have found a certain niche in a competitive watch market that really suits them, and that in and of itself is worthy of stopping to celebrate. Today, Louis Erard unveils their latest collaboration, a limited edition with Label Noir, a Geneva based brand that focuses on producing bespoke, customized watches for their clients.
Label Noir Collaborates with Louis Erard on their Latest Limited Edition Regulator
Watch customization can be a touchy subject. The idea of making a watch your own via aftermarket adjustments has been celebrated and embraced by many in this hobby, particularly in the realm of Seiko “mod” culture, where a common, mass produced dive watch can become something unique and special at the hands of a talented modder. But once you start modding higher end watches (applying black coatings to Rolex sports watches, for example, or setting a Nautilus with far too many diamonds) many enthusiasts in the peanut gallery begin clutching their pearls. I have long had a “It’s your watch – do what you want” outlook on this topic, but having seen customizations of varying levels of quality over the years, I think there’s something to be said for making sure any modification is done to a high standard, and not slapped together in a haphazard way. A custom watch that’s well thought out and executed at a level that approaches that original manufacturer’s quality standards (or exceeds them) can be quite special.
I’ll admit that I don’t have any personal familiarity with the work of Label Noir, but browsing their website it’s obvious that they at least strive to offer customization at a very high level that can stand next to the original watch. That’s something you’d want if you’re going to apply a finish inspired by the surface of the moon to the case and bracelet of your Royal Oak perpetual calendar, to cherry pick perhaps the most extreme custom job featured on their site at the moment. The new Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Label Noir isn’t nearly as in your face as that particular creation, and in fact takes what can only be described as a subdued, even tranquil, approach to the regulator format. It’s also in line with Label Noir’s house style, which is dominated by matte black finishes and surprising bursts of bright color.
This is a blacked out watch (sandblasted steel with a PVD coating) that is using texture to highlight the various stages of time telling that is inherent in any regulator design. The watch’s design is courtesy of Emmanuel Curti, the head watchmaker and founder of Label Noir, and his stated goal with this edition is to differentiate the hour, minute, and seconds scales through a progression of finishes. To that end, the hour dial stands apart with a glossy finish, while the rest of the dial is vertically brushed. The case finishing in a simple matte black adds another layer of contrast to the dial. The hour dial is also surrounded by a thin ring of mirror polished steel, and accents along the minutes and seconds tracks are neon green, matching the Label Noir wordmark.
Beyond the finer points of the dial and the PVD coated case, this is essentially your standard Louis Erard Le Régulateur with the familiar 42mm diameter and use of “fir tree” style hands. You can think of this as a bare bones version of the Louis Erard design that has been wrapped in the Label Noir aesthetic, even including a green tinted sapphire crystal on the caseback. It serves as another fascinating example of what can be done with the humble regulator when it’s treated like a blank canvas.
The Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Label Noir is a limited edition of 178 pieces. It’s on sale today via the Louis Erard website at a retail price of CHF 3,500. Louis Erard