La Petite Seconde Louis Erard — aka Louis “Horror” — x seconde/seconde/. Take yourself too seriously? How awful! This is the second time that the paths of these two independents have crossed. This tongue-in-cheek collaboration gets worse each time: the first coming-together of 2021 led to “Louis Error”; this second collaboration has a hint of a ghost and an even more striking spirit. Play on words. Mind games. A touch of Grand Guignol. A sweety stolen from the Day of the Dead treat bag.
Let’s stop for a second, because the Louis Erard Petite Seconde model has changed in dimension. The skeleton seemed perfect for the ghoulish celebration, but the reference was too horological and too conventional – vade retro satana! — for the iconoclastic designer of seconde/seconde/. It is therefore a pixelated ectoplasm which has been invited to swallow the second hand and which turns now and until the end of time in its dungeon-round sub-dial.
A bloody touch has been left on the label, in form and in substance: Erard = Horror. Everything else is very serious. Because there is nothing more serious in reality than appropriation. Especially when it comes to timepieces signed by Louis Erard. Especially when it comes to torturing its classic Petite Seconde model, one of the three faces of its Excellence triptych.
Because under the shroud of terror shines a Swiss watch of the highest craftsmanship: automatic Sellita SW261-1 calibre, 316 L steel case, silver opaline dial with circular satin-finished zone, snailed counter at 6 o’clock with diamond-cut zone, signature fir-tree hands, glossy anthracite indexes. seconde/seconde/ interventions are themselves deceptive realisations. seconde/seconde/, aka Romaric André, has made his pop appropriations his trademark and under the amusing aspect hides a very real attention to detail and quality of execution.
Louis Erard is therefore continuing his work of opening up fine watchmaking in the little boutique of horrors. Classic in its realisation, but contemporary in its references and in its operating mode – recalling once again the power of sharing and collaboration. Its singular way of making the unique and creative watch accessible, not only in terms of price, also in terms of culture, by making it as popular as possible, in the noble sense of the term. La Petite Seconde Louis Horror x seconde/seconde/ is produced in a limited edition of 178 pieces — a symbolic number: together we are always stronger, offered at less than 2,000 Swiss francs.
“Disruptive, provocative, rebellious? No! A little dissonant, maybe, and undeniably spontaneous.” seconde/seconde/ (real name Romaric André) prefers his adjectives more old-fashioned than overused. And his penchant for things of the past seems to run through most of his work. It was his passion for vintage watches that led him to develop the hand swap several years ago. Now his signature, the hand swap principle is “a watchmaking game, aesthetically radical but technically harmless, where you replace one or more hands on an existing watch”. seconde/seconde/ mostly takes on watches from major brands from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, making the contrast created by his hand swap all the more striking. Patinated dials showing the signs of time are electrified by hands with a colour-saturated design, for a visibly anachronistic result. “At first, I am guided by a drive for irreverence. And I am here to disrupt an age-old balance, to break a preliminary harmony. It’s quite exhilarating to unseat the product: deconstructing the piece first, then reconstructing it to reveal an unknown side of it. In every watch, I see an opportunity to bring out a whole new perspective, whether serious or lighter in nature.” All the hands redesigned by seconde/seconde/ say something about the watches they decorate, or else they come to strike a chord that is sometimes sensitive. In his deceptively naive aesthetic, poetry and irony are never far from each other.