It’s not uncommon for brands to introduce multiple models at once for a new collection, usually with consistent aesthetics and often differentiated by features. For example, Eugen Wegner recently launched three watches that shared a common design language and included time-only, time and date, and chronograph models. Louis Erard introduced a trio of its own models late last year with the Excellence Triptych, refining existing designs in its portfolio. All three share a distinctive look but are again separated by features, display and movement – time only, regulator, and monopusher chronograph. Let’s take a closer look at this latest collection, inspired by the Jura Mountains in Le Noirmont, Switzerland… and with cool two-tone silver sector dials.
Founded in 1929 in La Chaux-de-Fonds as a school for watchmaking, the brand began selling watches in 1931. After a couple of acquisitions and some internal turbulence, Louis Erard is now based in Le Noirmont, Switzerland and produces accessible luxury Swiss watches. Most pieces feature mechanical Sellita movements and many are regulators, a style going back to master clocks of the 18th century. At the time, a clock’s minute hand was the most important reference for watchmakers and the others were relegated to smaller, out-of-the-way registers. The style is popular for watch collectors today and brands like Chronoswiss have pioneered modern interpretations. The Louis Erard Excellence Régulateur sits between the other two Triptych pieces with a classic design merging with a modern vibe.
Common to the collection are blue hands (Loius Erard blue), inspired by the “magical blue hour” – the brief period when the sun dips below the horizon and the sky becomes a deep blue. The shape of the hands is also inspired by the fir trees within the Jura Mountains, where Louis Erard watches are produced.
The brand has recently got a strong push and has gained popularity following collaborations with designers like Eric Giroud or Alain Silberstein, and with indie watchmaker Vianney Halter. Watches like the unique Alain Silberstein Regulateur show a fun, whimsical side with Silberstein’s signature style, while the Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Vianney Halter is a stylish, yet more serious collaborative piece. Louis Erard’s portfolio has three general collections – Excellence, La Sportive, and Heritage – offering dress, sport, and more casual watches. Regulators and chronographs seem to dominate, although the Heritage collection offers sleek three-hand models.
But today it’s all about the Louis Erard Excellence Triptych Collection and we’ll have a look at all three models that have recently been presented.
The Louis Erard Excellence Petite Seconde
Starting with the simplest and most accessible of the three, the Excellence Petite Seconde is a time-only model with a large seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. Its unique style is anything but simple, however, with excellent attention to detail. The stainless steel case is contemporarily sized at 42mm in diameter and 12.25mm in height. It wears well and doesn’t overwhelm the wrist, but offers a fairly bold presence that’s both classic and modern. The case itself was inspired by pocket watches of yore with a bulbous outer bezel, while the crown has an unusual knurled pattern modeled after pine trees, but also drawing from a variation of Swiss Art Nouveau. A domed sapphire crystal protects the dial, while a sapphire exhibition case back displays the Sellita SW 261-1 automatic. This Élaboré grade movement has 31 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 38-hour power reserve.
The dial has multiple shades and textures, starting with a matte opaline silver in the center, surrounded by a more satin silver ring with applied Arabic numerals every two hours. The bottom seconds sub-dial has a snailed pattern and the deep blue hour and minute hands feature the fir tree motif, as does the tip of the seconds hand. Overall, there’s a cool two-tone sector-like style to this small seconds version. The strap is a comfortable, textured chocolate calf nubuck leather with a steel pin buckle, which complements the silver theme well. Simple yet multi-dimensional with a water resistance of 50 meters, the Excellence Petite Seconde retails for CHF 1,500.
Quick facts: 42mm diameter x 12.25mm height – 316L stainless steel – domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating – sapphire exhibition case back – 50-metre water resistance – matte opaline central dial with satin silver outer ring and snailed sub-dial at 6 o’clock – Sellita SW 261-1 automatic (Élaboré grade) – 31 jewels – 28,800vph (4Hz) – 38-hour power reserve – hours, minutes and sub-dial seconds – chocolate calf nubuck leather strap – Ref. 34237AA01 – CHF 1,500
The Louis Erard Excellence Chronograph Monopoussoir
At first glance, the Excellence Chronographe Monopoussoir looks like the Petite Seconde with the sub-dial moved to 12 o’clock. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll see a central chronograph seconds hand, meaning the sub-dial is, in fact, a 30-minute counter replacing the small seconds. This piece is a monopusher chronograph and slightly larger than it’s time-only counterpart at 43mm in diameter and 15.7mm in height. It still wears well and is comparable to the Tissot Heritage 1973 Chronograph Limited Edition on the wrist. I have slightly smaller than average wrists and would have no problem wearing this daily. The stainless steel case has the same design as the Petite Seconde with a domed sapphire crystal and exhibition case back, but this time we have a Sellita SW 500MPCa automatic (based on the Valjoux 7750 architecture). The MPCa designation is for the monopusher variant of the standard Sellita SW 500. This is again an Élaboré grade movement with 25 jewels, 28,800vph (4Hz) and a 48-hour power reserve. The pusher is within the crown, featuring the same fir tree pattern as the other watches. Water-resistance remains at 50 meters.
The dial layout is again similar to the Petite Seconde model with the same blue hour and minute hands. The central chronograph seconds hand is an elongated version of the small seconds hand from the time-only piece, while the 30-minute counter hand is a small version of the hour hand. It might sound a bit complicated, but there’s a true visual consistency throughout both dials. The same chocolate calf nubuck leather strap carries over as well. The Excellence Chronographe Monopoussoir is deceptively complex as its appearance is so similar to the time-only model, which explains its higher retail price of CHF 3,500.
Quick facts: 43mm diameter x 15.7mm height – 316L stainless steel – domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating – sapphire exhibition case back – 50-metre water resistance – matte opaline central dial with satin silver outer ring and snailed sub-dial at 12 o’clock – Sellita SW 500MPCa automatic (Élaboré grade) – 25 jewels – 28,800vph (4Hz) – 48-hour power reserve – central hours, minutes and chronograph seconds with 30-minute countdown sub-dial – chocolate calf nubuck leather strap – Ref. 74239AA01 – CHF 3,500
The Louis Erard Excellence Régulateur
Sitting in the middle of the collection from a pricing standpoint is the Excellence Régulateur, which is also the most visually unique. It’s a streamlined version of the more stylized Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Vianney Halter, falling closer to the standard Excellence Regulator minus the power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock, and with a different movement. The case is shared with the Petite Seconde model at 42mm in diameter and 12.25mm in height and features dual sapphire crystals and a unique crown. The dial, of course, is different, starting with a full matte opaline finish as the Arabic numerals are now within the top hour sub-dial, not a centralized ring. Both sub-dials at 12 and 6 o’clock merge in the center to form an 8, and the snailed patterns actually blend together at the meeting point. The regulator layout has the classic vertical arrangement – hours at the top, central minutes and seconds at the bottom. It’s the cleanest of the brand’s regulators and I prefer the dial without a power reserve indicator. The blue hands have the same style as the others, consequently with a shorter hour hand.
Powering the regulator is a Sellita SW 266-1 automatic, featuring the same specs as the automatic in the Petite Seconde – 31 jewels, 28,800vph (4Hz) and a 38-hour power reserve. It’s also an Élaboré grade movement. The rotors on all movements are customized and open-worked with the Louis Erard symbol. Of course, the same chocolate calf nubuck leather strap is here and as comfortable as ever. The Excellence Régulateur is priced at CHF 2,500 and is an excellent alternative to more expensive pieces from brands like Chronoswiss (with the looks to match).
Quick facts: 42mm diameter x 12.25mm height – 316L stainless steel – domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating – sapphire exhibition case back – 50-metre water resistance – matte opaline dial with snailed sub-dials at 12 and 6 o’clock – Sellita SW 266-1 automatic (Élaboré grade) – 31 jewels – 28,800vph (4Hz) – 38-hour power reserve – 12 o’clock hours, central minutes and 6 o’clock seconds – chocolate calf nubuck leather strap – Ref. 85237AA21 – CHF 2,500
I’m a big regulator fan and have reviewed many over the years such as the Chronoswiss Regulator Manufacture and Regulator Classic date, and Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator Cinema. Perhaps I’m biased, but the Excellence Régulateur is my favorite of the three with the regulator layout and clean aesthetics. That’s not to say that I don’t like the other two, quite the contrary. Both are stylish and the monopusher chronograph is very cool and functional, and prices are reasonable. I’d happily wear any from the collection on a daily basis and Louis Erard has done an admirable job of maintaining a consistent tone and design.
Although CHF 1,000 more than the Excellence Régulateur, the chronograph is well priced and even a bit less than a comparable piece like the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher. If you’re looking for stylish and unique Swiss watches that are both well made and won’t break the bank, any piece from the Louis Erard Excellence Triptych Collection should be on your shortlist.
For more details and orders, visit www.louiserard.com.