Editor’s note: Before we get to dive deep into the Watches & Wonders 2022 novelties, here’s our preview & Gut Reaction Review (Grr…) of the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II. For our detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here. This is NOT a sponsored post.
The New Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II In A Nutshell
In 1929, Louis Erard & André Perret was established. It went on to produce watches for a few decades and then ended in somewhat obscurity. The Louis Erard brand was then relaunched by some private investors in 2003, and they haven’t looked back since. Slowly but surely Louis Erard is making waves, by merging designs that are inspired by high end watchmaking with value proposition.
My first reaction to the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II was to rub my eyes twice to make sure I was reading the press release and price information correctly. Not only does the variant 2.0 still retain last year’s Excellence Guilloché Main’s price of CHF 3’900, but it also again features a complex hand guilloché dial.
Hand-guilloche at these prices is almost unheard of. You gotta realise that this is not a stamped or CNC-machined dial that for instance the entry-level Cartier Ronde might have. Forget about the big names, heck even newer successful brands like Ming don’t provide any thing like handmade dials at these prices. Along with Garrick and Laine watches, Louis Erard is turning out to be quite the bargain find from the horological world.
Since I have owned or handled watches by Cartier or Ming before, I can vouch to a certain degree regarding their built quality and such. We haven’t gone hands-on with Louis Erard pieces before, but judging by other review websites’ commentaries, they seem to be on par with what you would expect a brand like them to be.
The CHF 3’900 (including taxes) price tag comes to just shy of 6’000 AUD mark. For reference, my Breguet Marine Grande Date with a hand-guilloché dial retailed for about 27’200 AUD.
So you can understand my being overtly impressed by the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II.
One other aspect — besides more brand power or legacy — that does make other brands I have listed above stand out is the use of a ‘better’, or should I say, not standard outsourced movement like the Sellita SW200 family member used in the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II.
It’s for those who wish to own a reinvented traditional métiers d’art timepiece, one that is inspired by the grandeur of the 18th century works especially by the likes of Breguet, for a rather pocket friendly sum of only 6k AUD.
The 5W1H Of The New Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II
The new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II features a 50m water-resistant 42mm diameter and 12.25mm thick polished stainless steel case with a lug-to-lug spacing of 49.6mm and interhorn spacing of 22mm.
Like I said, we haven’t gone hands-on with Louis Erard watches before, but based on my experience, with the above measurements, the watch should sit well for those with medium to large sized wrists. I have slimmer ~16cm wrists, and my personal limit is 50mm lug-to-lug but with 20mm lug interhorn spacing.
For reference, please see the two photos below: one is with a Cartier (non-hand guilloche dial) measuring the same 42mm diameter but only 46mm lug-to-lug spacing, and the other is of me wearing a 39mm diameter and 49.8mm lug-to-lug spaced Breguet Marine 5817 with a hand-guilloche dial and 20mm lug interhorn spacing. You can tell that the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II might just look a bit big for my slim ~16cm wrists, but would absolutely rock on anyone with larger wrists.
Retailing for 3’900 CHF, the 99-piece limited edition was announced on 02 March 2022 and can be purchased on the brand’s website here.
Best Foot Forward
The most striking feature about the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II is the execution of that dial – in pictures, it appears that the centre part of the dial has pyramid that is touching the sapphire crystal, radiating from it a geometric pattern of a large diamond, black flat spaces and lines.
Basic Specifications Of The New Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II
Inside the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II reference 34237AA95 ticks the calibre SW261-1 which is an automatic winding measuring 25.6mm x 5.6mm. This élaboré grade movement traditionally comes with a small seconds at 6 and date, but Louis Erard has opted to go for the cleaner, only 2 hands look.
The calibre SW261-1 comprises of 31 jewels, beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), features hacking seconds, and provides a 38-hour power reserve.
To give credit where due, Louis Erard has decorated the movement that also features a special open-worked oscillating weight with black lacquered Louis Erard symbol.
“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”.Press release
Our Thoughts On The New Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II
There is no doubt that for lovers of dials, the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II is definitely one of the best value for money watches of recent times. I can see Kevin O’Leary going on and on about it, and the fact that he would like a red strap to go with it to wear on the Shark Tank show.
The matt black varnished dial being the star, its interlocking square pattern made by hand guilloché in the traditional way by Fehr & Cie SA is a beautiful piece of wrist art. On it, the rhodium-plated hour circle, the engraved silver lines, kinetic circular patterns and the “Swiss Guilloché Main” text transferred in powdered silver simply create for more flavour.
On it, the blued steel fir-tree hours and minutes hands follow the dictum of time, one beautiful minute at a time.
In my honest opinion, the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II is definitely a great value proposition timepiece. But should they have used say a Schwarz Etienne movement, and then even doubled the price, it would have been an even more excellent value proposition that bats on both mechanical and aesthetic fronts. Or even a COSC-certified version of the SW261-1 might have been better.
But at it stands, it would be hard to argue that the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II is definitely one hell of a looker for a damn good price. Limited, different and with a personality that stands out, get it before it’s too late.
To find out more about the new Louis Erard Excellence Guilloché Main II and their other watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are courtesy are ©2021 Louis Erard. All Rights Reserved.