Louis Erard Debuts an Art Deco Collaboration

The Metropolis takes inspiration from the Roaring Twenties.

Louis Erard gained a cult following collaborations with partners ranging from independent watchmakers to industrial designers. Now, the brand has teamed up with Switzerland-based watch influencer Amr Sindi, better known by his Instagram handle The Horophile. Their project, the Le Petite Seconde Metropolis, draws direct inspiration from Art Deco with its clean, distinctive dial.

Initial thoughts

Following their recent collaboration at Raketa, it comes as no surprise that Louis Erard chief Manuel Emch (who’s also helping run Raketa) and Mr Sindi have once again united their creative forces. While deviating from the contemporary design accented by Mr Sindi’s trademark purple that characterised his past creations, the trio of timepieces represent a unique interpretation of 1920s style. 

The watches evoke the era without being remakes of 1920s watches. They are distinctive yet unbranded, enabling the design to be conveyed clearly. Aside from the Art Deco hour numerals, there is absolutely no text on the dial whatsoever. In my view, this exemplifies how watch brands should design a retro watch, rather than simply generating a remake based on archives.

While the dial is new, the rest of the watch is identical to the regular production model. That means a relatively thick case, which is the only major shortcoming of the design.

The Le Petite Seconde Metropolis is priced at US$2,900, which is roughly in the same price range as the standard version of the model. Although the price is relatively affordable, the appeal would be enhanced with some embellishment on the reverse, like a customised oscillating weight, in order to set it apart as a limited edition.


The dial of Le Petite Seconde Metropolis is a unique fusion of Art Deco and modern aesthetics, a style sometimes termed “Neo-Deco.” The dial’s minimalist look consists of only stencilled, Art Deco-inspired numerals and stamped concentric patterning on the centre as well as the sub-dial. The concentric patterns provide some visual depth that is further complemented by the open-worked “Empire” hands that are based on the silhouette of the Empire State Building.

A design accent on the seconds: a single dot to mark 12 o’clock

The watch is available in three dial colours: salmon, slate, and tobacco. Among the three, the slate and tobacco dials exhibit a more vintage feel appearance due to their red gold hands and numerals, while the salmon dial has greater contrast and a more modern appearance.

Additionally, a unique version of the timepiece will be made for Mr Sindi, although details regarding this are yet to be revealed.

The Metropolis has the exact same case as the regular production models made of polished stainless steel and measuring 39 mm in diameter and 12.82 mm high. It’s powered by the Sellita SW261-1, the same movement found on the Excellence Marqueterie. The calibre is essentially the small seconds version of the SW200-1 movement, which is a clone of the reliable ETA 2824. It offers a power reserve of 38 hours, which is quite short by today’s industry standard for newer calibres of three days.

Key facts and price

Le Petite Seconde Metropolis Louis Erard x The Horophile
Ref. 34248AA44 (slate)
Ref. 34248AA64 (salmon)
Ref. 34248AA66 (tobacco)

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 12.82 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: SW261-1
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Calf leather with pin buckle

Limited edition: 178 pieces – 59 pieces per model and a piece unique for The Horophile
Availability: Direct from Louis Erard online
Price: US$2,900

For more information, visit Louiserard.com.


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Exhibition: Tudor “The Spirit of Daring Adventure” in Singapore

A journey through professional timepieces, August 18-27.

Centred on its sportier watch offerings, Tudor with its retailer Cortina recently launched The Spirit of Daring Adventure exhibition at Singapore’s Paragon Mall. This unique showcase revolves around themes of exploration, encapsulating the essence of adventure.

The exhibition looks at the brand’s evolution, starting from being a provider of timing instruments pivotal to the 1952 British North Greenland Expedition. This led to the inception of the Ranger model, further encompassing contemporary equivalents from the Pelagos and Black Bay collections. A significant attraction is a replica of the M29 Weasel, a tracked vehicle engineered for traversing challenging landscapes.

Further highlights include a dedicated showcase of Tudor’s sponsorship in sports, with its newest brand ambassador, Olympic cycling champion Fabian Cancellara. The exhibit includes an exclusive interactive Bike Experience Area, enabling visitors to actively pedal through Tudor’s virtual simulator of the Time Trial Challenge in Crans-Montana. This immersive experience features simulations of the circuit with landscapes and mountains from the competition. 

The Spirit of Daring Adventure takes place from August 18-27, 2023 at the Main Atrium of the Paragon Singapore on Orchard Road. It is open to the public daily from 10:00 am-8:30 pm.

Paragon Singapore
290 Orchard Road
Singapore 238859

To register, visit Cortinawatch.com.


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Vacheron Constantin Mount a Unique Watch in a Custom Rolls-Royce

The Armillary Tourbillon designed for the coach-built car.

Today, Vacheron Constantin has announced a specially commissioned piece by the Les Cabinotiers workshop, the Armillary Tourbillon conceived for the coach-built Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail. Designed in collaboration with a client of both the watch brand and carmaker, the double-axis tourbillon pocket watch is mounted on the wood-panelled dash of the one-of-a-kind coupe that reputedly cost about €25 million.

The Amethyst Droptail. Image – Rolls-Royce.

Initial thoughts

While the watch itself is interesting considering the movement (though it existed in wristwatch form already), perhaps the most noteworthy part of this watch is the collaboration between two establishment brands. Obviously, such a coming-together would never have been possible if it wasn’t for the owner who is known to be the biggest client of Rolls-Royce. In fact, it is also believed that the very same client just completed a very similar project with Rolls-Royce and Audemars Piguet, which created a removable Royal Oak Concept Chronograph mounted in the dash the La Rose Noire Droptail (and word has it that there are two more Droptails on the way for the same owner).

The Audemars Piguet unique piece that was created for the owner’s other coach-built Droptail. Image- Rolls-Royce.

La Rose Noire Droptail. Image – Rolls-Royce

It is great to see commissions such as this being carried out by companies like Vacheron Constantin, which given its success and size could easily pass on such requests. The brand’s willingness and ability to carry out such an unusual idea demonstrates a quality that many might think can only be found in independent watchmakers today.

The movement itself is not original, but it is still impressive. We first saw the tourbillon in the Reference 57260, the most complicated watch in the world, but here it has reworked into a smaller calibre with pleasing symmetry. While purple movement plates won’t be to everyone’s taste, when in context of the Amethyst interior, it certainly seems appropriate.

The construction of the twin-axes tourbillon. Image – Vacheron Constantin.

I find the rendition of the hours and minutes in retrograde format a tad gimmicky. It is supposed to mirror a car’s speedometer, but the automotive inspiration feels too obvious. The display just feels like it makes the time harder to read at a glance. Although the layout does have the added benefit of the hands never obscuring the double-axis tourbillon.

The time and money that have gone into the watch remain undisclosed, except for the rumoured €25 million price tag for the car, but given that the watch will remain married to the car forever, it feels like a defining addition to a unique vehicle.

Image – Vacheron Constantin.

A luxury pairing

Those who follow the brand will be more than aware of Vacheron Constantin’s Les Cabinotiers studio by now. Producing the company’s most artistically and mechanically complex pieces, it has built a reputation for exceptional watchmaking. This latest piece shows the flexibility and creativity of the team there, able to create something that the company has never done before.

The case is made from stainless steel and measures 43.8 mm across and 19.9 mm thick, although these measurements are slightly redundant given that it is fixed into its holder which mounts it into the car. This holder had a white gold back that has a sunburst guilloché design which resembles the Maltese cross.

The magnifying dome which offers a clearer view of the tourbillon cage. Image – Vacheron Constantin.

Inside, the cal. 1990 has been fitted with two complications, a double retrograde of the hour and minute hands and an armillary tourbillon which is spherical in shape and rotates on twin axes. The two spheres that make the tourbillon cage are shaped so that every 15 seconds the image of a Maltese Cross appears.

Inside this cage you will find a cylindrical balance spring which beats at 18,000 beats per hour. An interesting inclusion in the escapement is the diamond-coated silicon pallet lever, something the brand has used in the past, but only in the unique pieces from Les Cabinotiers. An unusual addition, but one that should aid in the longevity of the movement.

The oversized crown had to be moved to the 12 o’clock position for obvious reasons, but it does give the impression of a vintage pocket watch, and once it has been fully wound, the watch should run for 58 hours.

Finally, as mentioned above the holder and watch can be completely removed from the car, and when it is there is an identical placeholder which can be inserted – ideal if you need to leave the car parked anywhere in London.

The symmetrically designed cal. 1990. Image – Vacheron Constantin.

Key facts and price

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Armillary Tourbillon
Ref. 9880C/000A-182C

Diameter: 43.8 mm
Height: 19.9 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: Unavailable

Movement: Cal. 1990
Functions: Retrograde hours and minutes
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 58 hours

Strap: Not applicable

Limited edition: Unique piece
Availability: Unavailable
Price: Unavailable 

For more information, visit Vacheron-constantin.com.


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Breaking News: Rolex Acquires Watch Retailer Bucherer

The biggest watch brand buys the biggest retailer.

In a surprising move, Rolex has just announced the takeover of Bucherer, the Swiss watch retailer that is the largest seller of Rolex watches worldwide. Long the odd one out amongst luxury watch brands for not having its own retail network – hitherto Rolex owned just one store in Geneva – Rolex now owns the world’s biggest watch retailer outside of China and Hong Kong.

Though headquartered in the quaint mountain town of Lucerne, Bucherer is a global giant with 100 points of sale in Europe and the United States, with Rolex and Tudor represented in half of them. A Rolex retailer since 1924, Bucherer boasts annual sales of almost CHF2 billion, with almost two-thirds of that from the sales of Rolex and Tudor watches.

As a result, Bucherer is the largest retail partner for Rolex, accounting for almost 10% of Rolex’s estimated CHF10 billion in turnover. It was no coincidence that Bucherer was the first retailer in the world to embark on the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned programme.

Bucherer will remain as an independent business after the takeover, which has to be approved by competition authorities. The terms of the sale were undisclosed.

A logical surprise

Although the news of the takeover was unexpected, it is a logical progression of events. Established in 1888, Bucherer has been in the hands of its founding family since then, with the company currently led by Jorg G. Bucherer, grandson of founder Carl F. Bucherer.

Now almost 90 years old, Mr Bucherer is an industry legend. In fact, the takeover announcement notes, “[He] is the last person still in activity to have known and worked with Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex.”

Bucherer’s flagship store and office in Lucerne. Image – Bucherer

Known as a man about town with fast cars and beautiful women in his youth, Mr Bucherer deftly steered Bucherer into pole position amongst watch retailers since taking over the business in 1977. Even as the largest retailer in Europe by some margin, Mr Bucherer continued to grow the business.

Bucherer sporadically acquired European retailers over the years, but its expansion picked up pace in recent years with its 2018 takeover of Tourneau, one of the largest watch retailers in the United States. Now Bucherer is not only opening new stores and acquiring smaller players in the United States, but also progressively converting Tourneau stores into Bucherer locations.

Mr Bucherer has been in ill health for several years and has no children. It has long been known in the industry that his fortune and business would go to charity after his passing, primarily to benefit his hometown of Lucerne.


With the sale of the business to Rolex, it is a tidy coda to a three-generation business and a boon for the foundation that will eventually receive the proceeds.

More notably, it might be a new chapter for Rolex. In the short term the implications are nothing – Rolex says Bucherer will continue to be run by current management led by chief executive Guido Zumbühl.

In the long term, however, things could get interesting. Any number of significant events could take place, for instance, Bucherer dropping all other brands and transforming its entire network into Rolex boutiques. Another possibility is Rolex continuing to acquire major retailers and building its own enormous retail network; though this would take decades if it were to happen.


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