Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume

The Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume tastefully plays with different shades to delightful effect. After enjoying a hands-on experience with an earlier version of the collection, Steve Ashby was keen to take a closer look at one of the latest additions to this brand’s popular line.

Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume

Since the brand was relaunched in 2003, Louis Erard has wasted no time in creating its own, distinctive place within the Swiss watch industry. In the last 17 years, the firm has released an impressive portfolio of timepieces, encompassing a broad array of styles.

Of the many models the brand has introduced, the regulator has become one genre of watch firmly at the epicentre of the Swiss firm’s DNA.

Regulators were originally used as a reference for setting clocks and watches. Each indication was presented on its own discrete dial. This functionality and alluring aesthetic led to the subsequent miniaturisation of regulators and ultimately the adaptation to wristwear. Louis Erard has skillfully embraced the regulator, producing several beautiful models to date.

While the Excellence Regulator collection has been built on the classical regulator layout, the watches have embraced a variety of styles. For example, the award-winning designers Eric Giroud and Alain Silberstein have infused some Louis Erard models with their own creative flair.

Earlier this year, Louis Erard unveiled three differently hued additions to its line of Excellence Regulators. Personally, I was drawn to a version sporting a grey fume dial, hence I have made this model the focal point of my review.

The dial

Imbuing a sleek monochromatic style, Louis Erard has equipped the Excellence Regulator with its first fume dial. In this instance, the dial is presented in grey and fades to black at its outer edges, outlined by a grey chapter ring featuring crisp minute markers. The fume effect is complemented with a satin finish, inviting eyes to dwell and admire. The centre of the dial plays host to the prominent minute hand, arguably the most important element of the dialscape.

Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume

Two large black overlapping subdials are located at 12 and 6 o’clock, denoting the hours and seconds respectively. Interestingly, Louis Erard has opted for Roman numerals to indicate the hours, while slender batons and Arabic numerals are used on the seconds dial. Although it’s not unusual to see two of these indications combined, it’s rare to see a watch encompass all three. Personally, I think the arrangement works well.

Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume

The dial also features polished, silver-toned hands and a power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock. A small application of red indicates the barrel is devoid of power, reminding the wearer to energise the mainspring. Moreover, the sparing use of red imbues the dial with a tasteful smattering of colour.

The case

The case is presented in polished stainless steel, complementing the hands and contrasting well against the stark blackness of the dial. Sapphire glass with anti-reflective coating on each side also enriches the dial with a sense of depth.

Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume

With a width of 40mm and a thickness of only 9mm, the Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume suits most occasions and is an absolute pleasure to wear. The ergonomic excellence is heightened with the fitment of a high-grade crocodile-style calf leather strap, paired with a stainless steel folding clasp.

The movement

The regulators within the Louis Erard Excellence collection are fitted with either a modified automatic Sellita SW200-1 movement or an ETA Peseux 7001 featuring Louis Erard’s RE9 complication. The Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume is fitted with the latter calibre, a hand-wound movement which features 17 jewels and a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. The balance has a frequency of 21,600 vph (3Hz).

Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume

Even with Louis Erard’s modification fitted, the movement measures just 26mm in diameter. The ETA Peseux 7001 has been decorated with Côtes de Genève finishing, blued screws and Louis Erard engraving, all of which can be appreciated via the exhibition caseback.

Closing remarks

This is the third Louis Erard Excellence Regulator that I have had the genuine pleasure of wearing, but the first fitted with a hand-wound movement. While some see manual winding to be a laborious undertaking, as somebody who values the mechanics within a timepiece, I enjoy taking the time to wind a watch before placing it upon my wrist.

Image – Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Green Fume Ref. 54230AG59.BDC02

Should the wearer forget the daily ritual of winding the watch, the power reserve indicator should prove a useful aide-memoire, while simultaneously adding an ebullient touch to the dial.

The modest case diameter may be an issue for those wearers with behemoth arms, but the scale of the model perfectly suited my small wrists and I found the watch extremely comfortable to wear.

Image – Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Blue Fume Ref. 54230AG55.BDC02

While my press sample was supplied in grey, the watch is also available in blue and green fume dial options. While all three models proffer much appeal, the Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume with its fusion of black and grey hues remains my favourite option. Although I am not averse to a helping of colour, to paraphrase Coco Chanel, you can never go wrong with a little black number.

Further reading

Technical specifications

  • Model: Louis Erard Excellence Regulator Grey Fume
  • Reference: 54230AG52.BDC02
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 40mm; height 9mm; water resistance 5ATM (50 metres); sapphire crystals to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; seconds; power-reserve indicator
  • Movement: ETA Peseux 7001 featuring Louis Erard’s RE9 complication; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 17 jewels; power reserve approximately 42 hours
  • Strap: Black crocodile-style calf leather strap with tone-on-tone stitching, stainless steel deployant
  • Price: £2,190 including VAT (RRP as at 14.3.2020)

Press loan

The press sample was kindly provided by

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