BY JOVAN KRSTEVSKI
Not so long ago, I wrote a detailed review of the Louis Erard Excellence Petite Seconde. Featuring an elegant dial with thermally blued hands, powered by a Swiss automatic movement and more than anything else priced sensibly, that watch really impressed me. So much so that I decided to dig a little deeper into the Louis Erard catalog to find more intriguing pieces that could tickle my fancy. And here I am today sharing my hands-on experience with the La Sportive Limited-Edition Titanium Blue (Reference: – 78119TS05.BVD72).
Every time I get a new watch in for review, it is the first glance at the dial that sets the general mood for the review. And I happy to say that my first face-to-face interaction with the La Sportive was sheer delight. Presented in a striking electric blue color, the dial looks striking and bold, however, what makes it special is the gradient effect. Starting from a vivid shade of blue at the center and culminating into a deep black color towards the outer periphery, this dial is quite dynamic and can look quite different in different lighting conditions. Placed on top of the dial are polished rectangular indices that reflect light quite well. Furthermore, the indices along with the baton-style hour and minute hand have been filled with luminous paint to ensure good legibility in dimply lit situations. Speaking of legibility, I never faced any difficulty in reading the time on this watch, one of the reasons for which I believe is the well-proportioned handset. The hour hand just falls just short of the hour markers whereas the minute hand reaches out to the end of the minute markings, making it a breeze to tell the time. As this is a chronograph, we have sub-registers that have been presented in black and have been positioned at 6, 9, and 12, a layout which is found on almost all Valjoux 7750 driven watches. The register at 6 keeps track of chronograph hours, the one at 9 tracks the running seconds, and the one at 12 tracks the chronograph minutes. All registers are nicely sunken and feature circular graining at the center, a small detail that I appreciate. The hands on all the registers are tapering sticks and have been painted white to provide a nice contrast to the black background. And finally, to complete the dial there is a nicely bordered day-date window at the 3 o’clock position. While the dial looks perfect, if I were asked to change anything, I would replace the Louis Erard branding with the one found on the Excellence Petite Seconde I reviewed earlier.
The case and Strap
I firmly believe that no matter how beautiful the dial on a watch is, it is not worth your money if it does not manage to sit comfortably on the wrist, as that is where it belongs. And, before I get into the details, I would like to tell you that the La Sportive did not disappoint in this regard. The case on this watch measures 44mm in diameter and has a thickness of around 15mm. Now, as the dimensions suggest this is a fairly chunky watch that is best suited for medium/large sized wrists. However, Louis Erard has made some interesting design and material decisions to make it wear comfortably. First and foremost, the case on this piece has been crafted from grade 5 Titanium, which makes it very lightweight and ultimately makes sure that you can wear this watch for prolonged time frames without any botheration. Second and more importantly the case back on this watch has been slightly curved inwards which combined with downward curving lugs enables the watch to hug the wrist snugly. As we discuss how the watch wears, it would be good to talk a little bit about the strap as well. The watch is accompanied by a vintage looking Black calf strap which is soft and supple right out of the box and does not require any breaking in. The strap features a titanium folding clasp that is well machined and locks in place firmly inspiring a lot of confidence.
Aside from its lightweight nature, the use of Titanium also brings in a few additional benefits which include being hypoallergenic and high resistance against corrosion. Another area where the case excels in my opinion is finishing. It has been finely brushed for the most part, but my favorite detail is the polished bevel on both sides of the case and how smoothly the transition happens between the brushed and polished surface. Sitting on top of the case is a fixed bezel with a black ceramic insert that features a white tachymeter scale. Now, we all know that we would seldom use a tachymeter scale, however, I like the implementation here, as it does not eat up any real estate on the dial and helps in keeping it clean and free of clutter. The case is flanked by two pushers at 2 and 4, and a nice grippy crown at 3. While the pushers are good to use, I did find the pushers to be a little loud, which is not a deal-breaker, but still worth mentioning. The front of the case is adorned by a box sapphire crystal and there is an exhibition glass on the rear as well. Water-resistance is limited to just 50-meters which I feel is good enough till the time you are staying away from the pool.
As I mentioned above this watch is powered by the Valjoux 7750 which is one of the most trustworthy integrated chronograph movements out there. The movement beats at a frequency of 4 Hz and offers a power reserve of around 48 hours. It is visible through the sapphire case back and looks quite industrial and underwhelming, except for the custom skeletonized rotor. Given the price point of this watch, Louis Erard in my opinion could have done a better job at decorating the movement. Another minor gripe I have with the movement is that the rotor gets a little too noisy at times, especially in quiet environments.
To conclude I would like to say that the Louis Erard La Sportive Limited-Edition Titanium Blue is yet another fantastic offering from Louis Erard. It looks handsome, is comfortable to wear, and is also well priced, making it a great proposition for someone on the look-out for a well-rounded sports chronograph. The watch retails for CHF 3,250 and the price includes Swiss VAT. The watch is limited to just 250 pieces, so, in case this one has your heart racing, don’t wear for long and just pull the trigger.