Louis Erard, a brand well-known for its affordable collaborations with notable figures across different industries, has just dropped a wristwatch designed by a Swiss contemporary artist known for his abstract style. A variant of the brand’s classic regulator model, Le Regulateur Louis Erard x Oliver Mosset tells the time, but in an extremely minimalist, almost redacted manner, with just three hands rotating on a dial that evokes outer space.
The design is clearly the work of an abstract artist; time-telling instrument it is not. In fact, it is not especially recognisable as a watch, particularly for someone unfamiliar with a regulator-style dial.
The striking design will be polarising, particularly since it comes at the expense of function. It is, however, appealing in its own peculiar way and more broadly reflects the wide-ranging aesthetic adopted by Louis Erard thanks to Manuel Emch, now the brand’s creative chief and himself a collector of contemporary art.
The only downside of the watch is the chunky case, which is shared by all Le Regulateur models. It’s thicker and bulkier than such a minimalist watch should be, but necessarily so due to the no-frills movement inside.
But that also means the Oliver Mosset regulator is an affordable CHF3,750, as is typical for the brand. It’s a value proposition for a little bit of contemporary on the wrist.
Not a watch
That the watch was conceived as an artwork, rather than a timepiece is indicated by the label attached to each watch that reads “work of art – do not wear”. The reason for that lies in Mr Mosset’s belief that “a watch is useless today”, so he views it as an accessory rather than a time-telling tool. The brand drily notes “[a regulator normally] improves precision and legibility… In this case, though, it is rather a work of art.”
The design of the watch reflects the ethos of Mr Mosset, who is known for his monochrome palette and use of shapes. The three baton hands are seemingly identical, with hours at the top, followed by the minutes, and the seconds at the base. But the hands are actually subtly different, with the holes in the tips of each hand indicating its functionality. The hour hand has the largest aperture, followed by the minutes with a smaller aperture, and lastly the seconds with the smallest.
Mr Mosset is a car and motorcycle buff, and the watch was also conceived to echo the automobile body. It’s entirely finished in some variant of black: the hands are brushed, while the dial is black-laquered and speckled with silver. The case, on the other hand, is sandblasted and finished with a black coating.
Visible through the grey-tinted sapphire back is the Sellita SW266-1 that’s been modified to have a regulator-stye display. It’s a basic but reliable movement with a short 38-hour power reserve.
Key facts and price
Le Regulateur Louis Erard x Oliver Mosset
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 12.25 mm
Material: Sand-blasted stainless steel with black PVD treatment
Water resistance: 50 m
Movement: Sellita SW266-1 Calibre
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours
Strap: Two black Baranil calf leather bracelets with tone-on-tone stitching and black calf leather lining
Limited edition: 178 pieces
Availability: At Louis Erard online and physical boutiques and retailers starting January 2024
For more information, visit louiserard.com.
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