BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
In its bid to work with nearly every designer going, Louis Erard returns for another entry into its signature regulator model. This time, the Swiss brand has turned away from the world of horology to collaborate with the worlds of architecture, product design and scenography. Having already released a set of very successful watches with Vianney Halter and Alain Silberstein (check out our review here), Louis Erard turned to famous Swiss design firm Atelier Oï for its next watch.
Researching Atelier Oï (which comes from the Russian word troïka, meaning 3, as there are three founders of the atelier) for this article was an exciting experience. Their portfolio stretches far beyond the architecture of buildings, encompassing interior design and product design too. The only company I can think of to compare them to would be Foster + Partners, the British architectural firm responsible for most iconic modern buildings, although it seems that Atelier Oï stretches deeper into the product design side.
Speaking of, the most striking thing about the new Atelier Oï collaboration is the dial. The philosophy behind all designs at Atelier Oï is meant to bring people closer to nature and the elements, which in turn will create new emotions. They call it “po-ethic”, catchy. You can see the ideas of the atelier’s founders, Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis & Patrick Reymond, in the dial of the new Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Atelier Oï. Atelier Oï’s philosophy for this watch was simple: radiate from the centre outwards.
Engraved on the dial are beams of light that seem to emanate from the three hands of the regulator. The large central hand displays the minutes, the most important display, while the hours and minutes are relegated to small hands. The design eschews traditional hour markers. While some of you will undoubtedly call out the apparent lack of practicality, one could argue that tracking anything other than minutes is non-essential given the number of digital clocks all around us, coupled with our body clock. Either way, without seeing it in person, I can’t really make a good assessment of the watch’s legibility.
The case of the watch is 42mm in diameter and made of polished stainless steel with a total thickness of 12.25mm. It’s also water-resistant to 50m and presented on a “Covey” grey calf nubuck strap with two-tone stitching. Inside this watch is a Sellita SW266-1 movement, an élaboré-grade movement that has been adjusted to 3 positions with an accuracy of between +/- 7s per day. It’s a self-winding movement with a 4Hz beat rate and a power reserve of around 38-hours.
The current manager of Louis Erard, Manuel Emch, began his career as an intern for Atelier Oï back in the 1990s, and ever since then, there has been a warm relationship between the atelier and Louis Erard. We can only hope that this relationship will blossom and provide us with more architecturally themed wristwatches in the future. This watch is limited to 178 examples at a price of CHF 3,500.
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