Monochrome Watches
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Le Triptyque Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein (Live Pics & Price)

A new architectural case and signature Alain Silberstein design language distinguish the latest Louis Erard trilogy.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 8 min read |

Marking the second collaboration with Alain Silberstein, Louis Erard gives the French “watch architect” carte blanche to create a trilogy of watches with his signature design language. Following Alain Silberstein’s 2019 Régulateur, which won a Red Dot Award for Product Design in 2021 and sold out in just a few hours, the watch designer turns his hand to this trilogy comprised of La Semaine (a day-date with a mood), Le Régulateur II (regulator) and Le Chrono Monopoussoir (monopusher chronograph). All Le Triptyque Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein models share a new 40mm case with a highly original design and will be available individually or as a collector’s set. Fans of Alain Silberstein’s joyful design universe are in for a treat.

Louis Erard Artistic Collaborations

The Excellence collection, home to the original Le Régulateur or Regulator, was launched in 2011 to mark the brand’s 80th anniversary. Despite its unconventional layout, the Regulator has been a surprising hit for Louis Erard. Designed like historical regulators where the minutes command centre stage and the hours and seconds are relegated to smaller sub-dials, Louis Erard’s Regulator has also been the canvas for three artistic collaborations to date.

Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Excellence Regulateur Limited Edition

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The first collaboration with Alain Silberstein in 2019 resulted in a signature Silberstein design with playful geometric shapes and primary colours. Then, in the hands of watch designer Eric Giroud, the Regulator took on an elegant, minimalist face. Finally, last year, Louis Erard hooked up with master watchmaker Vianney Halter for its third collaboration piece.

Colourful times

Parisian Alain Silberstein (1950) has always swum against the current. Trained as an interior architect, Silberstein was attracted to watchmaking and presented his first watch in 1987 at the Basel Fair. The Krono Bauhaus – an outrageous watch for its day with three different shapes for the crown and pushers (a red triangle, a blue square and a yellow circle) – showed the world that Silberstein was going to have fun with his watch designs. However, it wasn’t just about having fun; Silberstein was one of the key figures behind the renaissance of mechanical watchmaking in the 1980s following the decimation of the industry by the invasion of quartz. Fiercely independent, Silberstein was convinced that mechanical watchmaking could be resuscitated with new design codes that did not try to emulate the conservative classical watches of the past.

Albert Silberstein, the “watch architect” known for its use of primary colours and geometric shapes

By 1990 Silberstein had created his eponymous watch brand in Besançon, producing distinctive watches that embraced bold primary colours and geometric shapes. Not shy of complications, Silberstein displayed tourbillons and other mechanical delights in a new light, with his bold colours extending all the way to components in the movement. His style feeds on everything from Gropius and his Bauhaus School to artists like Kandinsky, Klee and Moholy-Nagy. Since the closure of his watch company in 2012, Silberstein has collaborated with MB&F (HM2.2 ‘Black Box’ in 2009 and LM1 in 2011), with Romain Jerome and since 2019 with Louis Erard.

Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein

This latest collaboration is Alain Silberstein to the core. Whimsical flourishes that his fans will immediately recognise, like the playful smiley faces for weekdays on the La Semaine model, are accompanied by new design codes, like the novel hour hand depicted as a red circle with a triangular pointer hour hand.

As Silberstein summarises: “A watch is a search for harmony. Just like a choir or philharmonic orchestra, where you rehearse until you find that certain something, the crystallisation. These watches are made to awake the inner child within all of us, and my work is only really finished when they make someone smile. Without carte blanche from Louis Erard, it would have been impossible to succeed in this goal.”

New case design

The concept behind the Triptych is not entirely new. Last year, Louis Erard unveiled its Excellence Triptych collection (regulator, small seconds and monopusher chrono) with silver dials. However, these two Triptych collections couldn’t be more different. Marking a radical departure from the brand’s conventional round steel cases, the Triptyque Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein models all share a new 40mm case design framed by vertical sidebars (brancards). Reminiscent of De Bethune’s floating lugs, or even the openworked lugs on the Porsche Design 1919 models, the vertical sidebars rejuvenate the collection and add an interesting architectural touch. Another novelty is the conical crown with its red lacquered tip. The case material is a combination of microblasted grade 2 titanium and polished grade 5 titanium. To highlight the new architecture, the lugs, the case, and the bezel have a matte mircroblasted finish, while the sidebars and crown are polished.

Water-resistant to 100 metres, the watches come with a black double-layer nylon strap that is threaded over the bar of the lug at one end with a hook-and-loop fastener for quick adjustment. The material is soft, breathable and lightweight and won’t retain moisture and the catch spring bars mean the strap can be changed in a jiffy. (Measurements of strap: 22.7mm width, 225mm length, suitable for a wrist circumference of 140 to 200mm.)

Each model is limited to 178 pieces, 78 of which will be sold in a collector’s box with the entire capsule and a digital artwork signed by the artist. The La Semaine and Le Régulateur retail for CHF 3,500, the Chrono Monopoussoir for CHF 4,500 and the collector’s box for CHF 11,111. The collector’s box set also comes with a personal, non-fungible token guaranteeing the authenticity of the limited edition.

La Semaine Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein

The simplest of the trilogy, La Semaine, is inspired by Silberstein’s original Smileday display featured on many of his watches. Substituting the name of the weekday with a smiley face, a small face in an oval aperture changes from sad (Monday) to happy as the week progresses. Like Silberstein’s originals, the white oval aperture is placed above the date window at 6 o’clock.

The dial is matte black and features a raised flange for the minutes track picked out with white markers and more prominent rounded yellow markers at 5-minute intervals and a red marker at 12 o’clock. The lower part of the dial features the above-mentioned date window, smiley face aperture, brand logo, and name, all in white. Silberstein’s new design for the hour hand is represented by a red circle with a red triangular pointer while the minutes are indicated by a blue arrow-tipped hand and the seconds by the hallmark squiggly (serpentine) yellow hand. All three hands are lacquered.

The automatic ETA 2836-2 movement can be seen through the transparent caseback with the personalised and openworked Louis Erard rotor.

Quick facts: 40mm diameter x 11.60 thickness (lug-to-lug 47mm) – microblasted grade 2 titanium & polished grade 5 titanium – 100m water-resistant – matte black dial with Silberstein Smiledays and the designer’s signature hands, date at 6 o’clock – ETA 2836-2 automatic calibre – 28,000vph – 38h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, day, date  – black nylon strap – Ref. 75357TT02.BTT88 – CHF 3,500

Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Part II

The star of Louis Erard’s Excellence collection gets its second makeover from Alain Silberstein. Although the layout is similar to the 2019 version, with a prominent minutes track and smaller sub-dials for hours and running seconds, the power reserve gauge has been removed, leaving a cleaner, more balanced dial.

Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein

Like the La Semaine, the minutes are relayed on a flange with white, yellow and red markers and indicated by a long blue arrow-tipped hand. The hours are placed in a silver opaline sub-dial at noon with black and red indices and a bold red triangular hand, while the running seconds are displayed in the lower sub-dial with the hallmark yellow serpentine hand. The movement is a Sellita SW266-1 (élaboré grade) automatic with a customised Louis Erard rotor and a power reserve of 38 hours.

Quick facts: 40mm diameter x 11.60 thickness (lug-to-lug 47mm) – microblasted grade 2 titanium & polished grade 5 titanium – 100m water-resistant – matte black dial with flange for minutes, matte silver counter at 12 o’clock for hours,  running seconds at 6 o’clock – signature Silberstein hands – Sellita SW266-1 (élaboré grade) automatic – 28,800vph – 38h power reserve – hours, central minutes, seconds – black nylon strap – Ref. 85358TT02.BTT88 – CHF 3,500

Le Chrono Monopoussoir Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein

The new design for the monopusher chronograph by Silberstein is a full 3mm smaller than the model presented in the 2020 silver Triptych collection and stands out with its red chronograph pusher inside the conical crown. Sharing the same 40m diameter as the other two models in the new Triptych collection, the chronograph movement accounts for the thicker case height of 13.9mm. The raised flange corresponds to the chronograph seconds, tracked by Silberstein’s signature yellow squiggly hand. The matte black dial provides a bold contrast for the new red circular hour hand with a red triangular pointer, the long blue arrow-tipped minutes hand and the silver 30-minute counter at noon.

The caseback reveals the Sellita SW 500MPCa automatic (based on the Valjoux 7750 architecture). The MPCa designation is for the monopusher variant of the standard Sellita SW 500. Again, this is an élaboré grade movement with 25 jewels, 28,800vph, a 48-hour power reserve, and the customised openworked Louis Erard rotor.

Quick facts: 40mm diameter x 13.90 thickness (lug-to-lug 47mm) – microblasted grade 2 titanium & polished grade 5 titanium – 100m water-resistant – matte black dial with flange for seconds, matte silver counter at 12 o’clock for 30-minute counter – signature Silberstein hands – Sellita SW 500MPCa automatic (élaboré grade) – 28,800vph – 48h power reserve – black nylon strap – Ref. 74359TT02.BTT88 – CHF 4,500

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