Amida Returns with the Digitrend

A futurist icon reborn.

Amida, a historical brand recently brought back to life, has introduced its first watch in more than 45 years, the Digitrend. Based on a historical design from 1976, the new Digitrend features an upright digital jump-hour display and a retro-futuristic design.

While the formula for reviving dormant brands is nothing new, the team behind Amida, led by designer Matthieu Allègre and also includes Clément Meynier and Bruno Herbet, has managed to hit all the right aesthetic notes at a reasonable price.

Initial thoughts

I’ve always been attracted to retro-futuristic design, and watches like the original Digitrend have a distinct appeal. Unfortunately, the quality of the originals left much to be desired. In this context I appreciate what Mr Allègre and his team have accomplished.

Specifically, they’ve managed to improve the design, including the small details like the typography, without diluting the original aesthetic. Additionally, the build quality has improved over the original. The brushed steel case of the new Digitrend is simple but done well.

Most importantly, they’ve installed a much higher quality movement, which is comprised of a Soprod P092 base movement with an in-house designed jump-hour module that adds just nine additional parts. This minimalist approach is commendable and should aid reliability and serviceability.

The hour and minute discs rotate in the same plane as typical hands, but are then ‘projected’ to the vertical time display with a sapphire prism.

The Digitrend’s case is sizeable, though compact by modern standards, and its lug-less design means it should fit comfortably on wrists of all sizes. That said, a consequence of the vertical time display is substantial thickness of over 15 mm, which may take some getting used to. At the same time, legibility is not ideal – but that is not the point of such a watch.

A big selling point of the original Digitrend was its value-oriented positioning, which has been maintained for the new model. At just CHF2,900 in its launch edition, the Digitrend stands out from its peer group thanks to its influential design and jump-hour functionality.

An unlucky icon reborn

The original Amida company was founded in 1925, and produced mainly low-priced generic watches until ultimately going out of business in 1979; one of many victims of the Quartz Crisis.

But in 1976, towards the end of its otherwise forgettable history, the brand introduced the Digitrend, a futuristic mechanical jump-hour watch that offered a ray of hope for the brand. The Digitrend was similar in design to the Casquette LED digital watch launched by Girard-Perragaux the same year (and reintroduced two years ago).

Powered by a disposable pin lever movement, the original Digitrend was positioned as a cost-effective alternative to what was then the latest innovation: quartz watches with digital displays.

Unfortunately for Amida, quartz technology developed so quickly that the brand’s value proposition was quickly undermined, forcing the brand into bankruptcy three years later.

But the impact of the Digitrend lived on, inspiring the likes of Maximilian Büsser’s MB&F and others; the influence of the Digitrend can be clearly seen in the MB&F HM5 and HMX. In fact, Mr. Büsser acquired the Swiss rights to the Amida trademark a few years ago, before handing them to the current team.

Sized comparably to the original, the new Digitrend’s stainless steel case is 39 mm wide by 36 mm tall, and 15.6 mm high. The case has a sleek brushed finish on most surfaces, with the lip around the display and lower edge both chamfered and polished.

Although similar to the original in terms of design, the new Digitrend has be carefully reworked. The typography, for instance, is new but based on that found in the originals, giving it a convincing 1970s feel.

The Digitrend is making its debut with the Take-Off Edition, a limited-production variant available only during the pre-order period. Subsequent versions of the model will be different, most notably in terms of the case back. The inaugural version features an engraving unique to the Take-Off Edition. According to Mr Allegre, other case materials might be on the cards for future editions.

Unlike the original which featured a solid case back, the new Digitrend offers a sapphire crystal window in the case back to view the full balance bridge of the Soprod P092

Key facts and price

Amida Digitrend Take-off Edition

Diameter: 39 mm by 36 mm
Height: 15.6 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Soprod NEWTON P092
Features: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 44 hours

Strap: Alcantara and calfskin strap with pin buckle

Limited edition: No
Direct from Amida online; pre-order window opens May 28, 2024 with initial deliveries scheduled for October 2024
Price: CHF2,900 (excluding taxes)

For more, visit


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Louis Erard Drops Another Abstract Atelier Oï Edition

Now in yellow gold gilt.

In 2021, Louis Erard collaborated with a Swiss design studio on the Le Régulateur x atelier oï, a strikingly minimalist regulator-style watch with a dial devoid of scales, indices, or branding. Originally presented in a restrained grey, this collaboration now returns with a brighter, gilt finish inspired by sundials in a notably small run of just 18 pieces.

Initial thoughts 

Louis Erard’s newest offering has a captivating aesthetic that is both minimalist and striking, albeit not particularly legible. Unlike its predecessor, this has a more richer look with a golden dial that contrasts with the blued steel hands. The colour diverts the eyes towards the asymmetrical radial pattern engraved on the dial.

The rest of the watch is identical to the earlier edition, which also means the same case as the standard regulator model. The downside of that is the thickness, which at over 12 mm is substantial for a watch with a relatively elegant design.

The Atelier Oï regular is priced at CHF3,750, which is the prevailing price for most Louis Erard regulator editions, like the Oliver Mosset released in January. The new offering is a compelling timepiece for someone looking for something more artistic than the conventional offerings on the market.

Inspired by a sundial

The newest release follows on Louis Erard’s first collaboration with the Swiss design studio in 2021. With the exception of the dial colour, the watch retains the same specs as before. It has a regulator-style dial with hour, minute, and second hands on separate axes, and it is powered by a basic Sellita calibre like other regulator models offered by the brand.

This edition features a dial plated in 2N yellow gold that’s engraved with two different sun-ray patterns emanating from the axes of the top and bottom hands respectively. Though not apparent at first, each of the engraved lines is actually a minute marker on the periphery of the dial.

A straight line down the centre bisects the three axes of the hands and forms the border between the two patterns. Because the radial pattern is offset on each half of the dial, the result is gently asymmetric. 

The surface of the dial is finished with both matte and polished surfaces to catch the light, creating reflections and shadow that are meant to be reminiscent of a sundial.

The watch shares the case dimensions of the first edition, measuring a chunky 42 mm in diameter and 12.25 mm high. Likewise, it is powered by the SW266-1, the standard calibre in Louis Erard‘s regulator models. Based on the ETA 2824, the SW266-1 is modified by Louis Erard with its own regulator module that separates the hands to create the regulator display.

Key facts and price

Louis Erard Le Régulateur Louis Erard x atelier oï
Ref. 85237AA56.BVA175

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 12.25 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Sellita SW266-1
Features: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Calfskin leather strap with pin buckle

Limited edition: 18 pieces
Direct from Louis Erard online
Price: CHF3,750 (excluding taxes)

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