March 1, 2024
Louis Erard: Accessible Luxury Defined – Now Available at the Windup Watch Shop
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What even is a luxury watch? What makes it “luxury”? The answer to that question is “you know it when you see it.” For some watches, it’s an attitude; for others, it’s precious materials; for others, complexity and finishing; and for others, price point and provenance. In fact, it’s so ambiguous it’s almost meaningless, yet when you really experience a luxury product, you know it.

Today, we’re excited to welcome Louis Erard to the Windup Watch Shop, a luxury brand for a new age of watch collectors.

Louis Erard is not a new player in the watch industry, but they have reemerged in the last few years as a fantastic example of accessible luxury. They have achieved this in a few different and innovative ways. The first and most public is by collaborating with well-known and highly-respected watchmakers and designers who typically make watches, products, and art at much higher price points, such as Vianney Halter, Konstantin Chaykin, and Alain Silberstein.

The second is by utilizing crafts and manufacturing techniques (often referred to as métiers d’art) that are typically found at a higher price point, like guilloché / rose engine turning, Grand Feu Enamel, and stone dials. The opportunity to experience these haute horology techniques is rare, especially in watches that are sub $5k.

The third method is far more subjective and returns to the “you know it when you see it” sentiment; their designs are highly refined. To this end, most of our inaugural offering of watches from Louis Erard are part of their 39mm Excellence Petite Secondes models. Limited in production to around 100 watches per year per color, they have a starting price of $2,490, which belies their elegant designs.

Combining clean sector layouts with sub-seconds, subtle textures, and gorgeous colors makes these watches a quick and easy way to dress up your wrist. Available in Glacier Blue, Violet, Night Blue, and Terracotta; each has a distinct and sophisticated look. Glacier Blue is bright and energetic, Violet is exotic and unexpected, Night Blue is handsome and mysterious, and Terracotta, which rides the line between “Salmon” and an earthier tone, is rich and welcoming. All versions currently available feature a 39mm polished steel case with a large dial opening and rounded sides for an attractive and modern presence.

The next model dips its toes into a more exotic territory. The Excellence Regulateur Lapis-Lazuli features a stone dial and an uncommon regulator layout. A reference to clocks used by watchmakers many moons ago, a regulator separates hours, minutes, and seconds onto different axes. The result is a fully utilized dial space with an emphasis on minutes. Louis Erard oversized the hour and second subdials, rendered them in textured silver, and then set them within a Lapis-lazuli surface.

Lapis-lazuli is a naturally occurring stone that is predominantly a deep, ultramarine blue but with a mottled texture and coloration. When cut, polished, and used for a dial, the result is akin to looking at the milkway on an exceptionally clear night away from city lights. Each dial is unique and absolutely stunning. Featuring a 42mm case that better emphasizes the stonework, the Excellence Regulateur Lapis-Lazuli is priced at $3,190 and limited to only 99 units.

Finally, we have the pièce de résistance, the Excellence Guilloché Main II, a limited edition Avante Garde take on a traditional and rare craft. While “guilloché” has become somewhat synonymous with “dial texture” through modern usage, traditionally speaking, on watch dials, it refers to textures cut on a rose engine lathe and not created with stamping. A rare machine, they are hand-operated by highly trained and skilled craftspeople. Any dial made using one takes hours to complete.

Given the labor and machines required, modern watches with “true” guilloché dials, such as those by Breguet, Kari Voutilanen, JN Shapiro, and a small handful of others, are rare and very expensive. The Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II offers access to a watch with a dial made in this time-intensive method and does so with an unexpected design and style. Rather than simply cutting textures into a dial (which admittedly understates what is occurring), they cut through black lacquer on the Erard, exposing the metal beneath.

This further exaggerates the unique geometrical motif, another interesting point. Guilloché dials typically feature small repeating patterns rather than singular layouts. The dial of the Erard features a composition of a diamond shape set within an array of concentric circles. Fine lines are cut to emphasize the forms and add to the complexity of the guilloché process. Each dial takes several hours by a single craftsperson to create.

Making of the Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II

In other words, the Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II is a singular design and a unique opportunity to own a true piece of watchmaking craftsmanship. Housed in a 42mm case that showcases the exceptional work on display, the Guilloché Main II is priced at $4,290 and limited to 99 pieces.

We’re very excited to bring Louis Erard into the Windup Watch Shop, given the quality of their watches in terms of build, finish, design, and execution. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of new releases from Louis Erard, and the other fantastic brands we carry.

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March 1, 2024