Alain Silberstein is among those names that only a few will know but who has created a unique style that is immediately recognizable. Driven by a rigorous method, inspired by the Bauhaus school, playing with primary colours and geometrical shapes, Silberstein’s work is unusual, captivating, segmenting and bold. Today, Louis Erard is presenting a reinterpretation of the brand’s regulator watch, moving from a classic, timeless design to Silberstein’s universe.
Alain Silberstein’s work is unusual, artistic and emotional… If you’re looking for conventional designs, you’re not looking at the right page.
This new Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Excellence Regulateur is a double first. In its 90 years of existence, Louis Erard has never given carte blanche to a designer, while Alain Silberstein had never designed a regulator watch. Another important detail to note is that this watch marks the return of Silberstein to its original price range. Back in the 1980s/1990s, his watches were relatively attainable. His recent collaboration projects (his own brand, unfortunately, didn’t survive), like this MB&F, were playing in a different league.
Alain Silberstein was born in 1950. He has had a rather unusual career, beginning as an interior architect and designer in Paris before becoming a watchmaker in Besançon, France, at the end of the 1980s, when he set up his own company.
Silberstein’s work is based on multiple influences, from the Bauhaus school to major artists like Gropius, Itten, Moholy-Nagy, Kandinsky, Klee and more, as well as trends taken from graphic design and architecture. This results in a unique style based on a rigorous geometry of the shapes and the use of primary colours only. Alain Silberstein’s has an artistic and playful approach to watchmaking, a deliberately bold style that became iconic and easily recognizable.
For 25 years, Silberstein has been manufacturing around 1,000 watches a year, all made in limited series. Since the closure of his company in 2012, he has turned his talent to work with other watchmaking brands such as MB&F, Romain Jerome and now Louis Erard.
Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Regulateur
The base for this new collaboration watch is a relatively low-key watch named the Excellence Regulateur, a minimalistic watch with pure design and a regulator display. But once Silberstein puts his unique touch to this watch, it becomes something entirely different.
The Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Excellence Regulateur is actually a sub-collection of two watches, drastically opposed in terms of colours: one silver dial with steel case, one black dial with PVD case. But both share geometrical shapes and bold colours. Both watches share an equally restrained and minimalistic case, measuring 40mm and sleek enough to leave the stage to the dial.
The design of Excellence Regulateur by Alain Silberstein starts from the movement, a proprietary take on the Peseux 7001 with a regulator module. The regulator is an ode to the history of watchmaking, referring to master clocks found in workshops, used as a reference to adjust watches. The principle of the regulator is to separate the indications of the hours, minutes and seconds.
Silberstein’s design starts from this display, as his “work is guided by reading the time and my inspiration always comes from the movement“. Surprisingly, he has never worked on such a complication before. His design starts with the central minute hand, reduced to the most basic form of an indicator: an arrow – large on both, yellow on the black version, deep blue on the white version. This minute hand points to simple lines like those on the train station clocks – which were his inspiration. The rest of the dial is designed with Silberstein’s classic geometric simplicity, with rectangles, triangles and circles.
This regulator displays the minutes centrally, the hours in a sub-dial at 12 o’clock and the seconds is sub-dial at 6 o’clock. The hour hand is a large red triangle, while the seconds are indicated by a serpentine hand. There again, the shapes and colours are true to Alain’s work, the latter being reduced to the basic spectrum of blue, red and yellow. A power reserve indicator is positioned at 9 o’clock.
The result is a watch that, besides the minimalism and apparent simplicity of the design, is complex, playful, emotional and unique. Some will certainly hate this design but Silberstein’s work has always been this way.
The Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Excellence Regulateur is powered by a movement based on the ETA Peseux 7001 (top grade) architecture, with a proprietary module on top. The hand-wound movement, which is decorated with blued screws and Geneva stripes, is visible under a sapphire caseback with transferred inscriptions. The watches are worn on leather strap with triple stitchings in blue or red.
The Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Excellence Regulateur will be available in two limited editions of 178 pieces each, priced at CHF 2,800 (steel) or CHF 2,900 (PVD). More details at montres-louiserard.ch.