Louis Erard’s Latest Limited Edition is a Collaboration with a Swiss Abstract Artist, and their Most Challenging Work Yet

There’s a whole category of watches that I have come to genuinely love that I think can be fairly described as highly impractical art objects that also tell time. I wrote about one quite extensively here, and if you follow me on Instagram or have chatted with me in real life or in the Worn & Wound+ Slack community (which, to be fair, is technically “real life”) you know that I gravitate more and more toward the avant-garde, and love challenging designs that try to break what a watch even is. The new limited edition regulator from Louis Erard fits into this category nicely, and indeed was made in partnership with a Swiss abstract artist with a reputation for this type of challenging work. The new Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Olivier Mosset is perhaps the brand’s most purely abstract creation yet. 


Let’s start with the obvious question: how do you tell the time on this thing? This is not an unreasonable query – many who have encountered this watch on Louis Erard’s Instagram feed since its unveiling on Tuesday morning have been confused enough to send their question into the void. I won’t say it’s “simple” because even I have to admit that telling the time on this thing is probably difficult in a pinch, but the idea is straightforward. It’s a regulator, with the top hand reading the hours, the middle the minutes, and the bottom the seconds. But the task of actually reading the time is intentionally (I’m assuming) made more challenging for a few reasons. First, each hand is the same length. This flies in the face of how we expect watches to “work.” When we learn to tell the time, part of the lesson is that the short hand reads the hours, and the long hand reads the minutes. Well, these are all short hands. And they all rotate around the center of each hand, another confusing twist. If you look closely, you’ll notice that each hand has a different sized hole at the tip that is actually pointing to the correct time. One can’t help but feel Mosset may have been forced to concede these holes – the anarchic lack of legibility if they weren’t there somehow seems more in line with the goals of this collaboration, but there’s always a push and pull.

The other issue here that might make this watch tough for some eyes is the commitment to black. A lack of numerals or indices is probably to be expected on an art focused watch like this, but the black on black on black is, again, counter to what we expect from a modern watch that is meant as a time telling tool. Even so-called “murdered out” watches play with texture or have pockets of lume somewhere on the dial to make reading the time a little easier.

According to Louis Erard, Oliver Mosset’s design is inspired largely by street culture, including his interest in cars and motorcycles. The dial, then, can be thought of as a literal evocation of the street, or pavement, with a black lacquer coating that is decorated with silver glitter. You can also draw a connection between the watch as a whole and the body of a car through the use of a treatment that resembles metallic paint. The case, which measures  42mm in diameter, is sand-blasted stainless steel that has been coated with a black PVD treatment, which should present a stark contrast to the glittery dial. 

A total of 178 pieces of the Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Olivier Mosset will be produced, and each will come with a pair of straps, with one signed by Mosset. The retail price is CHF 3,750. Louis Erard 

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.