Once again, Louis Erard is going off the beaten track by combining contemporary design and high-end watchmaking expertise in fine stone and artisanal glass dials, geological time and mechanical precision, the visible signs of luxury and accessible fine watchmaking. Three variations, each in a limited edition of 99 pieces.
The Franches-Montagnes watchmakers have chosen the Maison’s historic model, Le Régulateur, to carve a new family of watches from the raw material of stones and mineral glass.
The Excellence Régulateur Aventurine, Excellence Régulateur Lapis-Lazuli, and Excellence Régulateur Malachite. Three models. Three colours. Three moods. Each of the three editions is limited to 99 pieces, but every watch is a unique piece in itself: each dial bears the mark of the millions of years that have shaped the stones or a unique array of speckled filaments.
The pure design brings these fragments of Earth back up to the 21st century. A collision of time. Strength in contrast. Precise motions. Aesthetic fusion. Cutting stones and glass to meet the finesse of a dial requires expertise in fine watchmaking. The challenge is twofold, since the dial has two levels and the material is cut to reveal the regulator’s snailed opaline dual counter. The hours are displayed at the top, the seconds at the bottom, and the large signature fir tree minute hand is in the centre. Discreet glossy silver indexes further showcase the technicality of the regulator.
The Excellence Régulateur Aventurine is the night owl in this inaugural series. The aventurine stands out with sparkling inclusions. It takes its name from the Italian “aventura” meaning adventure or chance and was first created by Venetian glass-blowers in the 17th century. Prized for its celestial allure, aventurine holds a special place in the world of luxury, as fascinating as a meteor shower on a moonless night over the ridges of the Jura Mountains.
The Excellence Régulateur Lapis-Lazuli is the deep azure of early dawn, the blue hour suspended between night and the new day. A flash of Yves Klein blue on the wrist. And as if we needed reminding, lapis lazuli is a cerulean blue metamorphic rock dotted with silicate inclusions. A stone of inner peace. An ornamental stone that has survived millennia, and from which man has long extracted an ultramarine blue pigment more precious than gold.
The Excellence Régulateur Malachite plants its feet firmly back on the ground. A burst of woodland pasture brushed by German artist Gerhard Richter. Endowed with the ability to amplify positive energy, the stone is typical of luxury watchmaking in the 1960s but takes on a decidedly contemporary feel here. The familiarity of a vintage piece, yet accessible, contemporary, light, natural. As if the silver and steel cladding were stripping the malachite of its somewhat dusty luxury connotations to reveal its lively, natural beauty.
Each watch has a matching calf nubuck leather strap with tone-on-tone stitching. “Deep” blue for the Excellence Régulateur Aventurine. “Oceania” blue for the Excellence Régulateur Lapis-Lazuli. “Basilico” green for the ’Excellence Régulateur Malachite. Complete with a polished stainless steel pin buckle and functional catch spring bars enabling the strap to be changed quickly.
Finally, as usual, the price shock: 2,900 Swiss francs. Unprecedented in watchmaking at this level of mechanical mastery, design and craftsmanship. Once again, Louis Erard meets the challenge of fine watchmaking with art and style.