Louis Erard continues its streak of superb, modestly priced watches with their play on the dial with their latest release – the Excellence Guilloché Main II. This is their second collaboration with “Swiss Guilloché Main” for yet another exceptional métiers d’art hand guilloché dial
Press release information with commentary in italics.
Another magnificent métiers d’art hand guilloché watch. The second since the very sucessful first Excellence Guilloché Main was released last year. We were enthused with the first presentation of the hand guilloché dial, and we are equally impressed with the part deux. Once again, the magnificent works of the artist is immediately and palpably clear on the watch. The elegance and excellence of the engraving work is beyond reproach.
And again, set at a rather modest price of just shy of CHF 4k. The same movement as with the elder Excellence Guilloché Main. Same case. Same hands. Even the same asking price, and limited edition size of 99 pieces. Only the dial is now a new design of a large diamond. Personally I prefer the first one better, as the geometric cubes form a mesmerising pattern in the mind. This second series is no less technical nor does it require less skill to execute, but perhaps a matter of preference that the elder is a more compelling aesthetic.
Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II
Recommended retail price: CHF 3,900
It’s so Louis Erard, the logo isn’t even printed on the dial. It’s all in the pattern: a large diamond, opened out like perspective, black flat spaces and lines engraved in the metal. A work of art made manifest: clear proof that traditional métiers d’art have a promising future.
This is the second time Louis Erard has reinterpreted the art of guilloché (the first Excellence Guilloché Main was released in 2021). An art where the craftsman’s hand meets the mechanism: a manual lathe with cams determines the designs, while the hand guides the chisel — a mark of exceptional watchmaking whose origins date back to the 16th century.
Guilloché is the art of decoration and repetitive patterns. Traditionally, guilloché is used to create variation, as in music: the theme or motif creates the starting point, then the rhythm or associations are woven in. Traditionally, guilloché is based on a repertoire of patterns: there are nearly 80, and these patterns constitute the scale on which everything else is composed.
But Louis Erard changed the rules under the artistic and strategic impulse of Manuel Emch. He wanted this second opus of Excellence Guilloché Main to be a 100% original creation, starting from the design, and utilising all the resources of artisan dial-maker Fehr in La Chaux-de-Fonds to enhance and modernise traditional guilloché.
Guilloché is no longer a question of decoration; it’s a subject in and of itself: a large diamond, an ace of diamonds, with a kinetic feel. It’s no longer a question of revisiting an old aesthetic, but of putting the technique at the service of a contemporary composition. And artistic references are not far: an air of op art and Neo-Geo plastic; space between lines and flat sections, in the style of Frank Stella; a playful Victor Vasarely pop art touch.
The dial is also a display of strength, since its creation relies on an unprecedented approach. In the end, everything about this piece is innovative. The operating range (the sequence of operations necessary for production) had to be assembled from scratch, from the first black varnishing to the final rhodium plating after the guilloché.
The guilloché itself required all the dexterity of the guillocheuse: the same artisan who made the 2021 dial, she produces the 99 dials piece by piece, each one taking several hours of work on the manual guilloché rose engine lathe. Not to mention the engineers, who had to invent and manufacture new cams (large metal stencils that the lathe translates into a design and scales down to the scale of the dial) to achieve this unprecedented result.
Limited series of 99 pieces. “Swiss Guilloché Main” dial, signature fir tree hands in blued steel. Polished steel case and open caseback, 42 millimetres, water resistant to 50 metres. Strap: black grained calf leather with tone-on-tone stitching, blue grained calf leather lining in Louis Erard blue. Sellita SW261-1 automatic movement with hour and minute function.
An exceptional piece, with top-of-the-range execution and always at an exceptional price: CHF 3,900 The art and style of Louis Erard taking up the challenge of fine watchmaking. More métiers d’art will follow.
Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II Specifications
Ref. 34237AA95 Limited edition of 99 pieces
Movement Automatic, Sellita SW261-1 calibre, 2 hands, 11½’’’, Ø25.60 mm, height: 5.60 mm, 31 jewels, 28,800 VpH (4Hz), élaboré grade movement, meticulously decorated, special openworked oscillating weight with black lacquered Louis Erard symbol, approx. 38 hours of power reserve
Central hour and minute hands
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 “Limited Edition 1 of 99”
Dial Matt black varnish, interlocking square pattern made by hand guilloché in the traditional way by Fehr & Cie SA (La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland), rhodium-plated, hour circle and “Swiss Guilloché Main” transferred in powdered silver
Hands Signature fir tree hands in blued steel
Strap Black grained calf leather with tone-on-tone stitching, blue grained calf leather lining, polished stainless steel pin buckle, functional catch spring bars enabling the strap to be changed quickly
Dimensions: 22/20mm width, 80/115mm length