Louis Erard marks a new stage in the accessible creation watch, with a fresh look at all the crafts that make up watchmaking. For this new collaboration, Louis Erard turns to architecture and design with atelier oï, a regional company that has been shining internationally for 30 years, and a radiant watch, too. Introducing the Le Régulateur Louis Erard x atelier oï.
Press Release information and photographs with commentary in italics.
It was with some excitement that Manuel Emch of Louis Erard whispered to us that he has something exciting to reveal during the pre-release press conference. And when he pulled the watch out of his drawer, and even via the low resolution Zoom connection, the new Le Régulateur Louis Erard x atelier oï looked stunning.
The design was simple. Even the Louis Erard logo is dispensed with. The dial is devoid of any words, or letters. The dial is a “Black Or” slate grey surface, matt and polished, with 60 planed lines marking the minutes. Creating a texture which is reminiscent of the folded corrugation of an origami structure. Almost excessively simplistic in its approach of asymmetrically radiating lines from the two epicentres of the Regulator pivots for the hour hand and the seconds hand. But the visual effect is spectacular. Like fans radiating from two centers, which by the effect of being off-centered gives an emotion of movement. Of course, the dial does not move, only the three hands of the watch, but staring at the watch gives the impression that the dial is stopped somewhat mid-way as it is spinning.
Amazing stuff. And yet, this is exactly the field of work that atelier oï has been involved in. A peek at their portfolio reveals this intricate relationship between folding, and unfolding, motion and lines.
No doubt, the small series of only 178 pieces at the very accessible price of CHF 3.5k, this watch (like all the other Louis Erard Collaborations – both editions with Alain Silberstein, Vianney Halter and the Guilloche Main) will be sold out in no time. So if you want one, and if you are a fan design, we suggest you will want one, get to your retailer as soon as you can.
And the fact that Patrik Reymond is a doppelganger for Manuel Emch is perhaps a curiosity…when I first saw the photographs of the three founders (see below), I though the gentleman at the far right was Manuel.
New: Le Régulateur Louis Erard x atelier oï
Retail price of the Le Régulateur Louis Erard x atelier oï is CHF 3,500. Limited edition of 178 pieces.
How to materialise space and time? How to materialise the contemporary spirit of the watch when connected technology has disconnected watchmaking from its primary necessity: telling the time?
Louis Erard invited atelier oï to look into the question and the answer is a new original dial, the third part of the series of collaborations already co-signed by Alain Silberstein and Vianney Halter. Once more based on the emblematic model of the Maison: the regulator. Once again with the desire to bring together key players in traditional watchmaking culture. And again with the desire to bring together key players in Swiss know-how: atelier oï and Louis Erard are both regional companies of international stature.
Breaking new ground, the collaboration leaves the strict field of watchmaking, since atelier oï works in the fields of architecture and design. The invitation did not come about by accident, however. The workshop, based in La Neuveville, a satellite town of Neuchâtel, has been close to the watchmaking industry since its creation precisely thirty years ago and the watchmaking world has played a major part in the development of the company. Going back as far as the 1990s, there has also been a warm relationship between atelier oï and Louis Erard, as illustrated by the current manager Manuel Emch, who began his career with an internship at atelier oï and who has collaborated with it ever since.
In three decades, atelier oï has become a brand in itself, reputed around the world, rewarded with more than thirty distinctions which illustrate its uniqueness. Moreover, the name, oï, is borrowed from the Russian Troika, a word that symbolises the energy generated by a trio, in this case, Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Reymond, the three co-founders.
Talents, an anniversary, connections, Le Régulateur Louis Erard, the planets were therefore aligned for this collaboration to emerge.
The objective, for Louis Erard, is once again to break down barriers in the world and make accessible what is often reserved for specialist clientele. With this added challenge of plunging without a net into contemporary creation, with all that entails of references, reflections, diversions and shocks.
atelier oï proceeded in a basic way: “To radiate from the centre outwards.” Taking care to reduce the technical vocabulary as much as possible, reminiscent of the shape of a sundial. The result is a surface engraved with asymmetrical rays, the light of which reveals reflections and contrasts – echoing the passion of the members of atelier oï for the material and the play of light. The art of engraving being expressed here in its essence: drawn lines. These lines create a space, to which the hands add the dimension of time.
Le Régulateur has naturally imposed its own rhythm: the hands (hour, minute, second) become centres from which rays emerge, generating visual kinetics that each movement of the wrist animates, giving the two-dimensional dial the depth of a radiant architecture. A pure work of art, which nothing can break, not even the Louis Erard logo.
Reading the time comes out somewhat dematerialised – you have to mentally reconstruct the puzzle of hour angles – but all the links are not broken: the minute-circle still appears around the edge of the dial, with a more pronounced line every five minutes and exactly sixty segments. A nod from atelier oï to the smartphone generation: “Today, the object watch has another meaning.”
Le Régulateur Louis Erard x atelier oï Specifications
ref. 85237AA53 Limited edition of 178 pieces
Recommended retail price: CHF 3,500
Movement Automatic regulator, Sellita SW266-1 calibre, 11½’’’, Ø25.60 mm, height: 5.60 mm, 31 jewels, 28,800 VpH (4Hz), élaboré grade movement, special openworked oscillating weight with Louis Erard symbol, approx. 38 hours of power reserve
Hour hand at 12 o’clock, central minute hand, second hand at 6 o’clock
Case Polished stainless steel, Ø42 mm, lug width: 22 mm, lug to lug: 49.60 mm, thickness: 12.25 mm, 3 pieces, domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides, movement visible through the transparent caseback, water resistant up to a pressure of 5 bars (50 m/165 ft), signature fir tree crown, caseback engraved with “atelier oï x Louis Erard Limited Edition 1 of 178”
Dial “Black Or” slate grey, matt and polished, 60 planed lines marking the minutes
Dial designed by atelier oï according to their artistic identity
Hands Blue baton hands
Strap “Covey” grey calf nubuck leather with tone-on-tone stitching, polished stainless steel pin buckle, functional catch spring bars enabling the strap to be changed quickly
Dimensions: 22/20mm width, 80/115mm length
Collaboration Watch developed in collaboration with atelier oï in a limited edition of 178 pieces