A few days ago, I received an invitation to attend ‘Watch and Wonders’ in Geneva, Switzerland. Initially, I was really surprised the show was actually going ahead in the current climate. However, it soon became apparent this year’s event will be more of a digital platform. Presumably, the press will be able to connect with brands via Zoom and Skype. Obviously, the atmosphere won’t be the same as in previous years where it was a meet and greet format. Certainly, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact globally and there have been huge financial repercussions. Many people have lost their jobs and industries like aviation, hospitality, tourism etc, have reported massive losses. Fortunately, the watch industry seems fairly buoyant and that’s because people appreciate traditional craftsmanship. These fine artisan skills are the inspiration for Louis Erard’s exquisite ‘Excellence Émail Grand Feu’.
The last few reviews I have written about Louis Erard were collaborative efforts with renowned watchmakers. These timepieces featured regulateur dials designed by the likes of Alain Silberstein, Eric Giroud and Vianney Halter. Interestingly the resale value of all these models has actually increased in value, which is very impressive. The ‘Excellence Émail Grand Feu’ is something completely different as it has a more classic appearance. This should definitely appeal to traditionalists.
What makes the ‘Excellence Émail Grand Feu’ so special is the completely handcrafted cream enamel dial. For this particular model, they have commissioned art enamelling expert Donzé Cadrans workshop, which is based in Le Locle, Switzerland. Due to the artisan nature of this traditional technique, potentially every individual watch in the limited range (99-pieces) is unique. Other features include signature blued steel fir tree hour/minute hands, domed sapphire crystal and a small second counter positioned at 6 o’clock.
Beneath the 42mm diameter polished stainless steel case is an élaboré grade self-winding movement made by Swiss manufacturer Selita. The Calibre SW261-1 comprises 31-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. This refined mechanism has a customised open-worked rotor (displaying the Louis Erard logo) that is visibly showcased via the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the ‘Excellence Émail Grand Feu’ features hours, minutes and small seconds. The watch is also water-resistant to a depth of 50-metres and has a power reserve of 38-hours.
As a perfect finishing touch the ‘Excellence Émail Grand Feu’ is presented on a Coffee-coloured calf nubuck leather strap (with tone-on-tone stitching) with complimentary polished stainless steel pin buckle. For a watch of this quality, I believe the recommended retail price of CHF 4,000 (approximately $4,404) seems very fair.
For more information about this watch follow this link