t’s so Louis Erard, the logo isn’t even printed on the dial. It’s all in the pattern: a large diamond, opened out like perspective, black flat spaces and lines engraved in the metal. A work of art made manifest: clear proof that traditional métiers d’art have a promising future.
This is the second time Louis Erard has reinterpreted the art of guilloché (the first Excellence Guilloché Main was released in 2021). An art where the craftsman’s hand meets the mechanism: a manual lathe with cams determines the designs, while the hand guides the chisel — a mark of exceptional watchmaking whose origins date back to the 16th century.
Guilloché is the art of decoration and repetitive patterns. Traditionally, guilloché is used to create variation, as in music: the theme or motif creates the starting point, then the rhythm or associations are woven in. Traditionally, guilloché is based on a repertoire of patterns: there are nearly 80, and these patterns constitute the scale on which everything else is composed.
But Louis Erard changed the rules under the artistic and strategic impulse of Manuel Emch. He wanted this second opus of Excellence Guilloché Main to be a 100% original creation, starting from the design, and utilising all the resources of artisan dial-maker Fehr in La Chaux-de-Fonds to enhance and modernise traditional guilloché.
Guilloché is no longer a question of decoration; it’s a subject in and of itself: a large diamond, an ace of diamonds, with a kinetic feel. It’s no longer a question of revisiting an old aesthetic, but of putting the technique at the service of a contemporary composition. And artistic references are not far: an air of op art and Neo-Geo plastic; space between lines and flat sections, in the style of Frank Stella; a playful Victor Vasarely pop art touch.
The dial is also a display of strength, since its creation relies on an unprecedented approach. In the end, everything about this piece is innovative. The operating range (the sequence of operations necessary for production) had to be assembled from scratch, from the first black varnishing to the final rhodium plating after the guilloché.
The guilloché itself required all the dexterity of the guillocheuse: the same artisan who made the 2021 dial, she produces the 99 dials piece by piece, each one taking several hours of work on the manual guilloché rose engine lathe. Not to mention the engineers, who had to invent and manufacture new cams (large metal stencils that the lathe translates into a design and scales down to the scale of the dial) to achieve this unprecedented result.
Limited series of 99 pieces. “Swiss Guilloché Main” dial, signature fir tree hands in blued steel. Polished steel case and open caseback, 42 millimetres, water resistant to 50 metres. Strap: black grained calf leather with tone-on-tone stitching, blue grained calf leather lining in Louis Erard blue. Sellita SW261-1 automatic movement with hour and minute function.
An exceptional piece, with top-of-the-range execution and always at an exceptional price: CHF 3,900 The art and style of Louis Erard taking up the challenge of fine watchmaking. More métiers d’art will follow.