Because the Louis Erard x The Horophile collaboration – like all Louis Erard’s other collaborations – is a human adventure before being a watch. A meeting of minds at a human level. Two hands reaching out, greeting and thanking one another. And from these encounters, timepieces are born. As always, this watch has more than just one function; it doesn’t just politely tell the time, it carries a message: together we’re stronger. This watch is the result of sharing, sharing cultures, views, desires and passions. Louis Erard, who has become a mentor for fine affordable watchmaking in Switzerland under the impetus of its director Manuel Emch. Amr Sindi, better known by his Instagram handle @TheHorophile, marketing consultant to watchmakers and independent producer of limited series. With an added fraternal touch: Manuel Emch and Amr Sindi share a deep friendship spanning over 15 years.
This watch – these watches, in fact, because there are three of them – is conceived as a collection within the collection. “A base on which other special series could be built,” says Amr Sindi.
This Metropolis watch is based on the Louis Erard Petite Seconde, classic in its 39 mm steel case, with its “LE” signature crown – the only place where the brand logo appears. Everything else is new, built like a journey between two times, between two centuries, between the Roaring 20s and our own 20s. The result is the invention of a new style: neo-deco, a concatenation of Art deco and the contemporary spirit. This watch is a tribute in spite of itself: Louis Erard was born into the Art deco fever at its height, in the darkest year of the decade, 1929. It is also a tribute to its home region: the Jura, the Franches-Montagnes, La Chaux-de-Fonds, the birthplace of the fir tree style, the Art deco of the forests, which here takes on a more metropolitan flavour.
The starting point for the design was typography. With one line of research: “Reinterpreting Art deco numerals”. Extensive work was carried out, from the selection of the typeface to its final design. The numerals are architectural, open-worked like façade elements. A sophisticated and subtle interplay of lines that has its own visual effect: are the indexes applied or engraved? The small seconds is not indexed, but simply marked with a single dot.
“The design of the dial and hands came next,” explains The Horophile. How should the numerals be displayed? Upright? Circular? They will be circular, as if placed on a disc. The disc motif in turn becomes central, worked graphically in two dimensions to emphasise the two time display areas: the large hour-minute dial and the seconds sub-dial. The disc is also worked in three dimensions at the centre of the watch, with a series of concentric gadrooned grooves to give materiality to the dial and catch the light.
The “Empire” baton hands feature a universal heritage motif: the Empire State Building, an Art deco skyscraper emblematic of modernity. Here again, maniacal attention has been paid to detail, to the proportions, floor by floor, from the foundations to the spire, and to the skeletonisation at the centre. The end result is a small, mobile skyline on a pure, logo-free disc.
Now, the colour. Or rather, colours. The design comes in three variations: slate, salmon and tobacco. Three moods, three warmths, three contrasts. 5N red gilded hands and numerals on the anthracite and brown dials, anthracite and black on the salmon dial. The harmony of tones continues on the strap, in grained calfskin: cool brown on the anthracite version, black on the salmon, chocolate on the brown.
This watch is produced in 178 pieces, 3 times 59 pieces plus a unique model for The Horophile.
LOUIS ERARD PETITE SECOND METROPOLIS X THE HOROPHILE
Case: 39mm diameter x 12.82mm height (lug-to-lug 45.90mm) – 3-part stainless steel case, polished – domed sapphire crystal with double-sided AR coating – transparent caseback – 50m water-resistant
Dial: slate, salmon or tobacco – gadrooned centre – Art Deco-style indices on brushed chapter ring – skeletonised “Empire” hands – small seconds with dot at noon
Movement: Sellita SW 261-1 (base SW 200-1, with small seconds) – automatic, élaboré finish – 25.60mm x 5.60mm – 31 jewels – 28,800 vibrations/hour – 38h power reserve – stop-seconds mechanism – hours, minutes and small seconds
Strap: grained calfskin with tone-on-tone stitching – polished stainless steel pin buckle – catch-spring bars for quick strap change
References/Availability: 34248AA44 slate dial limited to 59 pieces
34248AA64 salmon dial limited to 59 pieces
34248AA66 tobacco dial limited to 59 pieces
1 unique piece for The Horophile
Price: CHF 2,300