Introducing Le Régulateur Louis Erard x seconde/seconde/

Introducing Le Régulateur Louis Erard x seconde/seconde/

The Low-Down

Louis Erard has long made a business of producing quality Swiss mechanical watches at very competitive prices. Design-wise, they were largely subdued, quietly elegant and on the far side of the scale for the company, some were even a little quaint; but nothing wild. Like a long-distance runner, Louis Erard handled itself well on a relatively stable and narrow range of heartbeat — no dramatic or loud heaving, just a touch of flushed cheeks.

That has changed in recent years. While its fundamentals have not changed – its watches still tread on a near-impossible price/quality band – the company has recently taken very bold strides in watch design. Who knew that gem dials (not a new idea by far) would so dramatically transform the Régulateur? And the company’s recent collaborations with Alain Silberstein and Vianney Halter has put the signature touches of these brand-name designers/watchmakers in timepieces that do not break CHF 5,000.

The latest collaboration here is with French agency seconde/seconde/. It’s not stretching much to say that they try to do a Banksy, swimming in watchmaking waters. Instead of spray-painting walls, they take a vintage watch, and swap out a hand: the hour hand of a vintage Rolex Oyster Royal is swapped for a cartoonish sword lifted off Minecraft; the chronograph hand of a ’50s era Zenith is a power beam shooting out of a Millennium Falcon; a Rolex Air-King’s seconds hand is a playful puff of cloud. Art or sacrilege, the effect on these aged tickers is transformative, to say the least. Not unlike pasting a bright smiley sticker on someone who hasn’t slept in a week?

Le Régulateur Louis Erard x seconde/seconde/

Le Régulateur Louis Erard x seconde/seconde/ sees a contemporary timepiece lose its minute hand to a blue bar with its countermass marked “404”. At the 45th minute, the minute hand lines up with a blue plate on the dial to read “404 ERROR” in blocky digital script. At other positions, the dial simply reads “LOUIS ERROR”… cheek.

Le Régulateur Louis Erard x seconde/seconde/
Le Régulateur Louis Erard x seconde/seconde/

The rest of the watch is not so unconventional: it is driven by a self-winding Sellita movement with some 38 hours of power reserve and the 42mm stainless steel case with domed sapphire crystal and display back is water resistant to 50 meters. In limited edition of 178 pieces.

Le Régulateur Louis Erard x seconde/seconde/

IMHO

Change carries a momentum of its own and the bold design decisions of late have culminated in this collaboration with artists/pranksters at seconde/seconde. Not laughing at a joke doesn’t make one humourless – it depends on whether the joke was a good or tasteful one. So the question for consumers is, does the send-up work? For some of us, getting a 404 Error that doesn’t translate to actual internet disruption is enough to bring a smile to our faces. And not having to pay a king’s ransom for the privilege.

Le Régulateur Louis Erard x seconde/seconde/

Tech Specs

Movement: Self-winding Sellita SW266-1, 38 hours power reserve
Functions: Regulator hours, minutes, seconds
Case: 42mm, stainless steel, domed sapphire crystal, display back, water resistant to 50 meters
Strap: Calf nubuck leather with quick-change spring bars
Price: CHF 2,404.00 (limited edition of 178 pieces)

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