Cédric Johner Reimagines the Louis Erard Le Régulateur

With a form crystal and hand-decorated rotor.

Independent watchmaker Cédric Johner has joined forces with Louis Erard in a collaborative effort that has given birth to the Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Cédric Johner. This regulator-style watch pays homage to Mr Johner’s signature Abyss case with its distinctive, hexagonal dial opening. And unlike other collaboration editions that were mostly design exercises, Mr Johner himself worked on each of these watches by decorating every rotor with his signature bead motif.

Initial thoughts 

In contrast to the whimsical and striking Konstantin Chaykin and Alain Silberstein collaborations, the latest Le Régulateur has a more classical design but still manages to be different with its octagonal dial and crystal. Even though it is a round watch case, it doesn’t really seem so as a result of the crystal. And it is a homage to Mr Johner’s work in more ways than just aesthetics, as Mr Johner himself offered an Abyss regulator model back in the day.

Interestingly, the restyled case arguably works better with the relatively chunky proportions of the Le Régulateur case, the dimensions of which also evokes the original Abyss that was also a solidly built shape.

Reasonably priced at CHF4,000 (on par with last year’s Chaykin Time-Eater), this will appeal to collectors seeking more classical look while still having a little of the unique character of an independent watchmaker.

Cédric Johner

A more traditional-styled regulator

A once successful watchmaker who then lost his brand name and trademark case design to DeWitt, Cédric Johner is now a one-man show working out of his own workshop in Geneva. He has returned to his original Abyss case and makes watches to order.

The new Le Régulateur is an affordable entry into his distinctive visual style and fresh take on the now-familiar Louis Erard regulator. Even though the brand has already done a good number of collaboration editions, this stands out.

The dial features a stamped sun-ray motif, while the anthracite regulator sub-dials are recessed. The hands are classical leaf shaped. Notably, the Roman numerals are executed in the same typography found on Cédric Johner watches.

Two dial colours are available for the Cédric Johner edition: mauve and blue. Both dials get their colour from physical vapour deposition (PVD) that gives them a pleasing, metallic sheen. 

While the case has a unique hexagonal dial opening and crystal, its dimensions are identical to the smaller standard model. It measures 39 mm in diameter and stands 12.82 mm high.

Apart from the case and crystal, the watch is mechanically identical to other Louis Erard regulator models, except for the rotor customised by Cédric Johner.

It utilises the same Sellita SW266-1 along with a proprietary module for the regulator-style display. The specs remain the same, with a 4 Hz balance and a short 38-hour power reserve. 

Mr Johner applied his trademark beaded pattern to the oscillating weight of each timepiece, with each bead engraved by hand.

Key facts and price

Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Cédric Johner
Ref. 85249AA02.BVA153 (mauve)
Ref. 85249AA01.BVA150 (blue)

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 12.82 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: 178 pieces
Direct from Louis Erard online
Price: CHF4,000 (excluding taxes)

For more, visit Louiserard.com.


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Hands-On: MB&F HM8 Mark 2 in Blue CarbonMacrolon

Finished in blue automotive paint.

MB&F has released the third instalment of its automobile-inspired wristwatch, the HM8 Mark 2. Now in blue CarbonMacrolon, the latest HM8 Mark 2 follows on the green and white iterations introduced last year. Inspired by 1970s sports cars like the Lamborghini Miura, the new Mark 2 retains the model’s signature speedometer-like display for the time and “double bubble” sapphire crystal.

Although the CarbonMacrolon panels of the case are also found on earlier versions, the material has been tweaked to incorporate ingredients also found in automotive paint, giving the case a metallic, sparkly blue finish resembling a car’s paintwork.

Initial thoughts

Though only a cosmetic update to the model, the latest HM8 Mark 2 is the most striking to date. Though the change of colour might seem like a trivial matter, the new paintwork is a perfect complement to the styling and concept of the watch – the metallic finish really does evoke the paintwork of a high-end automobile. Interestingly, the new Mark 2 feels sleeker than the earlier versions thanks to the paintwork, even though the watch is identical in dimensions and form.

The rest of the watch is identical to the standard version, and the same movement is visible in the “engine bay” through the sloping sapphire crystal. The Girard-Perregaux calibre has been MB&F’s base movement of choice almost since its founding two decades ago, so something more interesting would be a useful upgrade, particularly since the movement is front and centre in many of the brand’s watches.

Priced at CHF73,000, the new HM8 Mark 8 is costs about the same as the preceding version. Visually, it’s more compelling than its predecessors, making it an easy choice for anyone who appreciates the automotive aesthetic.

The time can be read with hands on a steering wheel. Image – MB&F

A driver’s watch

Defined by its unconventional aesthetics, the Horological Machine (HM) series draws on the mind of MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser, resulting in a line-up inspired by architecture, sci-fi, and automobiles. As with the HM5 and HMX, the HM8 Mark 2 reflects Mr Büsser’s childhood fascination with sports cars, hence the “driver’s” watch display on the front edge of the case. The automative inspiration is also made more tangible with the sweeping silhouette of the case modelled on the rear of a Lamborghini Miura.

The case is titanium with CarbonMacrolon panels on the top and bottom, akin to the body of a car. Like other carbon composites used in watchmaking, CarbonMacrolon is a resin strengthened with carbon nanotubes. It’s a hard, lightweight material that can be worked almost like metal with brushing or blasting.

But instead of the more conventional colouring found in earlier versions of the HM8 Mark 2, this new model relies on a type of CarbonMacrolon that includes metallic pigments similar to those used in automotive paint. This gives it the unusual sparkly finish.

Although the case seems relatively large in terms of dimensions, it measures 47 mm by 41.5 mm by 19 mm, the sleek form and compact footprint leave it surprisingly wearable. The fact that the case doesn’t have lugs also helps.

The rest of the watch has the same features and specs as the earlier versions of the model. Time is indicated via discs on the movement that are “projected” onto twin sapphire windows on the front edge of the case, a display that is inspired by speedometers in vintage cars.

The time display module is made up of a bi-directional jumping hour and “dragging” minutes, which was developed in-house by MB&F. This sits on a Girard-Perregaux cal. 3100 base movement that’s been fitted with MB&F’s trademark 22k gold “battle-axe” rotor.

Another proprietary aspect of the movement is the “double de-clutch” mechanism for the crown. Instead of pulling or unscrewing, the crown is released by pressing it in and giving it three-quarters of a turn. According to MB&F, this construction reduces the volume of space required for the crown.

Notably, the MB& module for the time and crown is visible on the back of the watch, rather than the front. The module is fitted with an engine-inspired plate that includes twin gold chatons for the pivot jewels of the time display.

Key facts and price

MB&F HM8 Mark 2

Diameter: 47 mm x 41.5 mm
Height: 19 mm
Material: Blue CarbonMacrolon; titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Girard-Perregaux base movement with a jumping hour and trailing minutes modules
Functions: Jumping hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: White calfskin leather strap with a titanium tang buckle

Limited edition: 33 pieces
Availability: Available at MB&F boutiques and retailers starting April 2024
Price: CHF73,000

For more, visit mbandf.com


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Seiko Marks 50th Years of Credor with Eichi II in Yellow Gold

Richly coloured and finely finished.

As its collection of decorative, high-end timepieces reaches its fifth decade, Seiko commemorates the occasion with the Credor 50th Anniversary Eichi II (ref. GBLT996) for the occasion. Limited to just 30 watches, this is the very first Eichi in yellow gold.

The anniversary edition features a deep blue, ruri porcelain dial and the hand-finished Spring Drive cal. 7R14 inside. Like the other Credor Masterpiece models, the new Eichi II is produced at the Micro Artist Studio, a small workshop dedicated to artisanal watchmaking.

Initial thoughts

The new Eichi II is largely identical to the versions in platinum and rose gold, differing only in the case metal. It does, however, look very different. Although the ruri dial is identical to that on the platinum model, the colours seem richer here. Yellow gold and blue is a combination that works well, and it is particularly appealing here, perhaps because of the simplicity of the design.

Notably, the anniversary Eichi II is priced in between the regular production versions in rose gold and platinum. Considering the small number made and the intrinsic quality of the watch, it is certainly a compelling proposition.

Ruri glaze

First found on the platinum model, the dark blue dial is finished with ruri, a type of glaze that results in a glossy, deep blue finish that varies in hue with the light. Instead of the stark white indices found on the platinum model, the dial markings here are in gold.

However, the markings are more elaborate than those found on the standard Eichi. As is tradition for the Eichi dial, the markings are painted by hand and then fired in an oven to set. For the anniversary edition, however, the dial markings are then covered with gold leaf to create a metallic finish, a traditional technique known as ruri-kinsai.

The dial also incorporates a more subtle point of difference between this and the regular production models – replacing the single baton at 12 o’clock is the Credor logo, a discreet reference to the line’s anniversary.

The 39 mm case retains the same dimensions and design as the standard model, except it is in 18k yellow gold, a metal less common in the current Credor catalogue.

The movement inside remains unchanged, which is a good thing, given the high quality of construction and finishing. The hand-wind Spring Drive cal. 7R14 is decorated and assembled by hand, much like high-end Swiss mechanical movements. In a nod to the city of Shiojiri, home to the Micro Artist Studio, the barrel is open worked to form a bellflower, the symbol of the city.

Key facts and price

Seiko Credor 50th Anniversary Eichi II Limited Edition
Ref. GBLT996

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 10.3 mm
Material: Yellow gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Spring Drive cal. 7R14
Functions: hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Manual-winding
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Crocodile strap with three-fold clasp with push button release

Limited edition: 30 pieces
Availability: Available at Credor Salons and retailers starting June 2024
Price: US$45,000, or 6.6 million Japanese yen (prices include local taxes)

For more, visit credor.com


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Omega Expands the Speedmaster 38 mm Range

New looks for the ladies' Speedmaster.

A smaller, feminine iteration of the famous chronograph, the Omega Speedmaster 38 mm is set apart by an unusual dial design characterised by oval sub-dials and a matching oval date window. Now the brand has grown the range to include new dial finished in metallic brown or green, both available in either steel or Omega’s proprietary gold alloys.

Initial thoughts

The new offerings grow the Speedmaster models catered to female consumers. Though the changes are mostly cosmetic, they are done well, with the diamonds set on the sub-dials being a particularly thoughtful detail that emphasises the oval form of the registers. At the same time, the new dial colours, which are physical vapour deposition (PVD) like other recent Omega dials, are attractive, though not new.

That said, the Speedmaster 38 mm is essentially a scaled-down version of the Speedmaster Moonwatch. Though shrinking a man’s watch is often the formula for ladies watches, this would have been more interesting with more substantive changes. This is particularly relevant in terms of the case thickness, which is almost 15 mm, resulting in chunky proportions that don’t complement the styling.

The new models are priced as expected for chronograph set with diamonds: starting at US$17,400 in steel on a strap, and rising to US$46,400 in gold on a bracelet. 

The Speedmaster 38 mm in steel, 18k Moonshine Gold, and 18k Sedna Gold

Diamonds and more

The latest iterations are essentially luxury upgrades to the existing Speedmaster 38 mm models. They sport brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel, registers, and crown, along with two small diamonds for the 12 o’clock marker in the trademark Speedmaster style.

Apart from design tweaks, the new Speedmaster 38 mm retains the same dimensions of 38 mm in diameter and 14.7 mm in height.

The Moonshine Gold variant with its green PVD dial

The new dials are available in either brown or green PVD, each paired with silver sub-dials. Both dials are an option for the steel model, but brown is specific to 18k Sedna Gold while green is solely available in 18k Moonshine Gold, with each metal being Omega’s equivalent of red and yellow gold respectively.

The steel model with a brown PVD dial

Like earlier versions of the model, this continues to use the in-house cal. 3330, an automatic calibre with an integrated column-wheel chronograph.

The cal. 3330 is one of Omega’s more interesting offerings. It is derived from the Longines L688, which is in turn based on the ETA A08.L01 that is an upgraded ETA Valjoux 7750. The calibre is thus several steps removed from the modest 7750 and enjoys several notable upgrades like a column wheel instead of a cam, but also features unique to Omega including a free-sprung balance attached to a magnetism-resistant Si14 silicon hairspring and the Co-Axial escapement.

The result is a calibre that has the famed robustness of the 7750, along with Omega’s various movement innovations. But the downside is size as the cal. 3330 has the same height as the 7750, which explains the thickness of the case.

The screw-down case back sports the traditional Speedmaster seahorse emblem

Key facts and price

Omega Speedmaster 38 mm
Ref. 324. (steel, green PVD dial & alligator leather strap)
Ref. 324. (steel, green PVD dial & matching bracelet)
Ref. 324. (steel, brown PVD dial & alligator leather strap)
Ref. 324. (steel, brown PVD dial & matching bracelet)
Ref. 324. (18k Moonshine gold, green PVD dial & alligator leather strap)
Ref. 324. (18k Moonshine gold, green PVD dial & matching bracelet)
Ref. 324. (18k Sedna gold, brown PVD dial & alligator leather strap)
Ref. 324. (18k Sedna gold, brown PVD dial & matching bracelet)

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 14.7 mm
Material: Stainless steel, 18k Moonshine gold or 18k Sedna Gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Cal. 3330
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date and chronograph
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 52 hours

Strap: Matching bracelet or alligator leather strap

Limited edition: No
Availability: Available at Omega boutiques and retailers
Steel and alligator leather strap: US$17,400
Steel and bracelet: US$17,800
18k Moonshine Gold and alligator leather strap: US$34,000
18k Moonshine Gold and bracelet: US$46,400
18k Sedna Gold and alligator leather strap: US$34,000
18k Sedna Gold and bracelet: US$46,400

For more, visit Omegawatches.com


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