Louis Erard Excellence Triptych Régulator
The Louis Erard Excellence Triptych Régulator perpetuates the Swiss brand’s reputation for making keenly priced regulator watches. Inspired by Art Sapin and the local landscape, this model is rich in detail, skilfully blending lines, arcing contours, circular forms, depths and textures. Angus Davies gets ‘hands-on’ with this latest creation from Le Noirmont in the Swiss Jura and recounts his wearer experience.
Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887-1976), more commonly referred to as ‘L.S. Lowry’, was an English artist, based in North West England. Born in Stretford, a suburb of Manchester, his work covered a broad array of themes and subjects, including landscapes and portraits. However, he is best known for painting the scenes in his midst, the streetscapes of Manchester and Salford.
Lowry only used a limited palette of colours, reinforcing the drab appearance of polluted, rain-filled skies and weather-worn houses and mills. He depicted children at play, men walking to work in clogs and women wearing ‘pinnies’, pegging washing. Put simply, Lowry’s surroundings influenced his work.
Similarly, Art Sapin, a derivation of Art Nouveau from the Swiss Jura, is heavily inspired by the verdant scenes of pickle-toned fields and pine-hued firs. Indeed, the French word ‘Sapin’ means ‘fir’, a coniferous tree that is omnipresent within the region. Staring through the windows of Louis Erard‘s facility in the small village of Le Noirmont, the picturesque countryside provides a rich source of inspiration for this highly creative brand.
Recently, Louis Erard released three new watches: a small seconds model, a regulator and a monopusher chronograph. These three creations form its new Excellence Triptych collection. The term ‘triptych’ is a reference to a work of art divided into three sections or carved panels, hinged together. They can be folded shut or left open for the delectation of onlookers. Each of the three models has been designed by Nicolas Barth Nussbaumer in close collaboration with the Louis Erard team.
There is a reoccurring artistic theme with this triumvirate of watches, indeed, each model masterfully employs judicious lines, arcing contours, circular forms, depths and textures. In fact, at this early stage of my review, I can already reveal these models are endowed with a prepossessing style.
For the last few days, I have worn the Louis Erard Excellence Triptych Régulator and I recount my observations herein. Just to explain, a regulator watch or clock was historically used as a point of reference when setting other clocks and watches. Usually, the hours are presented on a subdial and play a deferential role to the dominant, and much larger, minute hand. Louis Erard has chosen to make this genre of watch an important pillar of the firm’s collection.
The expansive dial of the Louis Erard Excellence Triptych Régulator is presented in matte silver.
Two snailed subdials are arranged on a north-south axis. They are recessed and share the same scale as one another, resembling a figure of eight. This design element immediately provides a sense of balance and cohesion. The indexes on the upper subdial comprise of Arabic numerals for the even-numbered hours and trapezoidal batons for the odd-numbered hours, both are presented in a gleaming silvery finish. A blue fir-shaped hand points to the prevailing hour.
The lower subdial displays the running seconds and features a crosshair design. Sixty silvery markings encircle this recessed area, while another blue fir-shaped hand imparts meaning. Most noticeable of all is the minute hand, again perpetuating the blue coniferous theme, albeit in this instance large and prominent. A minute track hugs the periphery of the display.
Louis Erard has positioned its moniker and logo adjacent the crown. It is optimally sized, proving simple to read without being overbearing.
Measuring 42mm in diameter, the scale of the polished steel case sidesteps extremes, hence it should prove suitable for most wrists. Sometimes the absence of some satin-brushing can lead to a garish appearance, however, due to the virtually monotone palette employed throughout, everything proves seemly in this instance.
At first glance, the bezel appears to melt into the caseband, however, close examination reveals there is a faint join. The lugs are comparatively short and arc downwards, delivering a comfortable wrist fit. Moreover, the chocolate calf nubuck leather strap is very pliable and soft, further enhancing the wearer experience.
The sapphire crystal sits above the bezel while the case flanks curve inwards as they approach the caseback. Louis Erard has expended much energy refining each detail, bestowing a high quotient of interest and visual appeal. Moreover, examining each facet of the case reveals an incredible smoothness and a feeling of quality.
An exhibition caseback affords views of the self-winding movement. The crown is equipped with a grip embellished with numerous fir-shaped recesses and its vertical flank is adorned with the brand’s logo.
At the heart of the Louis Erard Excellence Triptych Régulator is the Sellita SW266-1 calibre. This automatic movement has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and contains 31 jewels. Assuming the watch is fully wound, it will run autonomously for 38 hours.
The oscillating weight is partially openworked and incorporates the Louis Erard symbol, while the automatic device bridge, balance bridge, barrel bridge, etc are adorned with perlage. Considering the modest asking price of the watch, CHF 2,500 (RRP as at 22.10.2020), the movement is executed to an impressive standard.
The dial of this model does not overburden the brain with superfluous details such as distracting hues. It proves a paragon of lucidity and logic, aiding interpretation. However, while the dial does not impair understanding with unnecessary flamboyance, it does not eschew all details. Quite the contrary in fact. Look closely at the two subdials and you will note their edges are diamond-cut, bestowing a becoming brilliance. Each subdial is snailed and incorporates crisp and clear markings, aiding read-off. The fir-shaped blue hands are stylish, yet functional.
Furthermore, in terms of fit, I found the profile of the case delivered an impressive ergonomic union with my wrist. The strap also contributed to the exalted levels of wearer comfort.
Whilst the movement lacks the finishing typical of a CHF 50,000 timepiece, it surpasses most watches that I encounter with circa CHF 5,000 pricing. Moreover, Sellita delivers reliability and an impressive quality-price ratio. Once again, Louis Erard has delivered an impressive watch for a comparatively modest sum. This really is a superb watch.
Similar to terroir influencing the taste of fine wine, the scenery of the Jura has inspired the design of this model. Indeed, just in the way Lowry saw beauty in his surroundings, it is clear this impressive Swiss brand has celebrated its home and produced a masterpiece worthy of the term ‘art’.
- Model: Louis Erard Excellence Triptych Régulator
- Reference: 85237AA21
- Case: Polished stainless steel; diameter 42 mm; height 12.25 mm; water resistance 50ATM (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and exhibition caseback
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds
- Movement: Sellita SW 266-1 calibre; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 31 jewels; power reserve 38 hours
- Strap: Chocolate calf nubuck leather with tone-on-tone stitching, polished stainless steel pin buckle
- Price: CHF 2,500 (RRP as at 22.10.2020)