Louis Erard 1931

Recently, Angus Davies had the opportunity to get ‘hands-on’ with the exquisite Louis Erard 1931, presented in a 40mm, 18-carat rose gold case.

This detailed review of the Louis Erard 1931 includes live images, specification and pricing.

Louis_Erard_1931_Ref.47_217_OR_51- wrist - ESCAPEMENT MAGAZINE - watch reviews by Angus Davies

Looking back to my salad days, I can still recall the extended summers of school-free adolescence. Life elapsed slowly and each moment conferred a degree of naive wonderment that sadly evaporated when maturity chose to rear its ugly head.

Despite now smelling the fragrance of autumn notes, I still adore the warm embrace of summer. I would suggest that my liking for June, July and August is firmly rooted in my mind along with idealised visions of blonde fields and cobalt skies. Indeed, it is these deep-seated images which probably explain my penchant for gold cased watches.

Recently, I cradled a Louis Erard timepiece in my appreciative hands. Its 18-carat 40mm rose gold case evoked thoughts of my favourite season. However, experience has led me to accept that any dreams of owning a summer-toned timepiece are quashed by the reality of commensurate and, sadly prohibitive, pricing. Thankfully, this Louis Erard watch is different; the Swiss brand asks only CHF 7,150 for this piece, making the prospect of owning an 18-carat gold timepiece a very realistic option for a large section of society.

The dial

The dial of the Louis Erard 1931 combines a white vestal backdrop with softly-spoken golden detail in the foreground. While ordinarily gold craves attention, the noble metal, in this instance, assumes a muted demeanour. Indeed, the entire dial vista is discreet and modest. This is not a criticism, quite the contrary, but an acknowledgement of the gentle interaction between this Louis Erard and the world at large.

Louis_Erard_1931_Ref.47_217_OR_51- dial3 - ESCAPEMENT MAGAZINE - watch reviews by Angus Davies

The leaf-shaped hour and minute hands employ subtle curving lines to gracefully impart time with gentle tone. Moreover, the tips of each hand accentuate lucidity, pointing precisely to the hour markers and chapter ring.

All even-numbered hours are proclaimed with golden, applied Arabic numerals, while odd-numbered hours are succinctly expressed with applied golden batons. This combination prevents the dial appearing cluttered, bestowing a clean aesthetic.

Louis_Erard_1931_Ref.47_217_OR_51_dial - ESCAPEMENT MAGAZINE - watch reviews by Angus Davies

Positioned above 6 o’clock, a small running seconds is presented sans snailing. Its smooth complexion subliminally reinforces the ubiquitous sense of purity. Completing the dial vista, a chapter ring, employing black tone and fine lines, enhances the ease of read off.

The case

Measuring 40mm in diameter, the 18-carat rose gold case is slender in profile. Surprisingly, Louis Erard appears bashful about the svelte torso of this model, failing to declare the vital statistics of the timepiece’s diminutive waistline.

Louis_Erard_1931_Ref.47_217_OR_51- case - ESCAPEMENT MAGAZINE - watch reviews by Angus Davies

The reserved nature of the Louis Erard 1931 is manifest when wearing the timepiece. It neatly sits on the wrist and, courtesy of its modest volume should suit a large proportion of would-be wearers.

Louis_Erard_1931_Ref.47_217_OR_51- dial - ESCAPEMENT MAGAZINE - watch reviews by Angus Davies

The case contains 30.5g of gold, conferring a warm, agreeable appearance without feeling unduly heavy. However, the allure of this particular model is the sinuous lines of its golden torso. Ambient light interacts with the curvaceous case, casting shadows adjacent episodes of gleaming brilliance. This timepiece brims with sophistication and probity in equal measure.

The movement

An exhibition caseback reveals the hand-wound ETA Peseaux 7001 movement. It measures 23.30mm in diameter, with a height of 2.5mm. The frequency of the balance is 21,600 vph (3Hz) and the movement contains 17 jewels. The sole spring barrel accords a power reserve of 42 hours.

Louis_Erard_1931_Ref.47_217_OR_51_caseback - ESCAPEMENT MAGAZINE - watch reviews by Angus Davies

The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif and the mainplate is decorated with perlage. Blued screws sit adjacent the sunray-brushed crown wheel and ratchet wheel.

Louis_Erard_1931_Ref.47_217_OR_51_ETA_Peseux_7001 - ESCAPEMENT MAGAZINE - watch reviews by Angus Davies

I lament the absence of hand chamfered bridges and can see that this movement has a slightly industrial feel to its execution. However, it must be remembered that this watch is modestly priced, hence it does not purport to compete within the finest exemplars of haute horlogerie.

Closing remarks

As morning breaks on a glorious summer’s day, extended daylight hours and warm temperatures bestow boundless joy. Sadly, this seasonal happiness often wanes with the onset of autumn and winter. However, Louis Erard has crafted a gold watch capable of imparting pleasure all year round. Its aureate physique, sinuous lines and curvaceous hands, quietly coalesce to stealthily seduce.

The softly spoken dialogue between this version of the Louis Erard 1931 and its fortunate owner accords a high degree of clarity. There is a welcome absence of pretentiousness and a tangible honesty with each element of its composition. Finally, with its modest asking price, there is much to recommend this classically styled timepiece.

Technical specification

  • Model: Louis Erard 1931 
  • Reference: 47 217 OR 511
  • Case: 18-carat rose gold; diameter 40mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds.
  • Movement: ETA Peseux 7001; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 17 jewels; power reserve 42 hours
  • Strap: Brown crocodile leather strap supplied with 18-carat rose gold pin buckle
  • Price: CHF 7,150 (RRP as at 18.7.2016)

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