Louis Erard is an extremely niche watch brand. Specializing in regulators, which borrow a time telling format that predates the watch itself, will have a tendency to narrow a brand’s appeal. But that’s exactly what’s kind of exciting about the brand: they have a niche, and within that niche they’re free to experiment and do a lot of interesting things that feel somewhat risky. Part of that strategy over the last few years has been to collaborate with well known watchmakers and designers. Last year saw them drop a collaboration with none other than Vianney Halter, which was a smash hit last winter and immediately began trading at multiples of the original retail price.They’ve also partnered with noted designer Eric Giroud on a short run of watches, which also sold out and demand a premium on the secondary market. But for many in the community the most visible and well known collaboration Louis Erard has taken on has been the pair of regulators (one in black, the other white) that they made with Alain Silberstein. Silberstein is one of the true originals in the watch world, with an immediately identifiable design language rooted in Bauhaus but remaining completely his own thing, with bright primary colors and a playful, toy-like use of geometric shapes. Now Louis Erard and Silberstein have teamed up again, and the result is something much more than a designer’s aesthetic placed into the brand’s regulator format.
What we have here is a three watch collection of Silberstein designed timepieces that can be purchased individually or in a box set that Louis Erard is calling a triptych, a word typically used to describe a series of three artworks that are meant to be seen together, a connection that seems very intentional on the part of the brand. The three models that are part of the set are the La Semaine, Le Régulateur II, and the Le Chrono Monopoussoir. If you have a background in French, you probably have a good idea of complications and functionality already, but we’ll get to that momentarily. The unexpected start of the show here is actually the case.
According to Louis Erard, Alain Silberstein had a blank check in the design process for these watches, and has created a case that is unique and completely unexpected. The case is circular, but instead of lugs Silberstein has designed the case to be framed with brancards, or sidebars. The result is a case that appears thin, minimal, and unapologetically modern. It’s crafted from titanium and features both polished and micro blasted surface finishing. The watch is 100 meters water resistant and the case measures 40mm in diameter.
The La Semaine is the simplest of the three watches, displaying the time in a three hand format through Silberstein’s lens of color and shape. It also displays the day of the week through apertures near 6:00. The date is fairly self explanatory, but the day of the week borrows from a previous Silberstein design for a weekly planner, with each day represented by a different stylized face meant to capture the mood of that day of the week. Of course, it’s completely up to the wearer what each face represents, which makes this one of the more whimsical calendars we can recall.
Le Régulateur II is very much a sequel to Silberstein’s original regulator design for Louis Erard, but of course now the dial has been paired with a new case. The colors have been shifted from the earlier regulator, and this watch lacks the original’s power reserve indicator at 9:00. In spite of the punchiness inherent in Silberstein’s design, this dial has a clean and intuitive look.
Lastly, we have Le Chrono Monopoussoir, which as the name implies is a monopusher chronograph. The hour and minute hands are mounted from the center, as is the chrono seconds hand. The sub registrar at 12:00 is a 30 minute totalizer. This watch uses a modified version of Sellita’s SW500MPCa caliber, which is designed for monopusher applications out of the box (Louis Erard has decorated the movement and created a custom rotor).
As mentioned at the top, each of these watches can be purchased individually, though quantities are limited to 178 examples of each (including those set aside for the box set). The Le Semaine and Le Régulateur II both carry a retail price of CHF 3,500, and the chrono will sell for CHF 4,500. The box set, limited to 78, has a retail price of CHF 11,111. More information can be found at Louis Erard.