Louis Erard has really gone to town with the regulator layout, converting it into a staple model in the Excellence collection. A somewhat archaic layout originally used for master clocks, the regulator display has been given a new lease of life at Louis Erard in the hands of contemporary designers like Alain Silberstein and Eric Giroud and even with on-trend gradient dials. With its original layout, this 40mm Louis Erard Excellence Regulator plays with textures against a crisp white background with more classic details like Roman numerals and blued hands.
Originally developed in the mid-18th century as master clocks to offer the most accurate time readings available, the distinctive feature of regulators was the separation of minutes, hours and seconds. The minutes became the true protagonists of the dial read with a large sweep hand, while the hours and seconds were usually relegated to smaller sub-dials, with all three hands working off different mechanisms.
Clean, crisp layout, pleasing symmetry
Louis Erard’s take on the regulator sticks closely to the historical layout with a large blue central minutes hand reaching to the peripheral minutes track and two sub-dials in the centre of the dial: the top one for the hours and the lower one for the small seconds. This particular model also features a power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock.
The background of the silver dial features a stamped guilloché pattern composed of tiny lozenges or diamonds. The texture subtly catches the light adding depth and interest to the dial of this Louis Erard Excellence Regulator. The hour and running seconds sub-dials are aligned horizontally and overlap ever so slightly to form an elegant figure eight. Like the fan-shaped power reserve indicator, the central figure eight is slightly recessed and set against a plain background for enhanced legibility.
Black printed Roman numerals, save no. VI, denote the hours while the small seconds are indicated by a simple black crosshair. Four separate blue hands indicate the hours, the minutes, the seconds and the power reserve. The three hands for the time indications are positioned on a vertical axis and separated at equal distance to underscore the symmetry of the dial. The power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock is counterbalanced with the brand name and the word Regulateur at 3 o’clock.
The 40mm polished stainless steel case is a relatively simple 3-part affair with straight lugs and a thin bezel, the latter allowing an expansive view of the dial.
Although the caseback of the Louis Erard Excellence Regulator is sealed, the movement below is a manual-winding ETA Peseux 7001 with a proprietary Louis Erard module on top. With its relatively short power reserve of 42 hours, you might well ask why there is a power reserve indicator on the dial. However, on a hand-wound watch, it makes sense.
Like a crisp white shirt that looks good with just about everything, the Excellence Regulator is a perfect daily beater for those of you who want something a little less conventional that a classic three-hand watch. Combined with a suit or a pair of jeans, this handsome watch with its regulator layout proves that what’s old can be new again without looking old-fogeyish.
The Louis Erard Excellence regulator comes on a black crocodile-style calf leather strap with a folding clasp. The retail price is CHF 2,245. For more information and online orders, please consult louiserard.com.