Face Value

Lifting up one’s cuff to check the time has rarely been more discreetly satisfying with Louis Erard’s refreshed 1931 and Excellence collection.

Watch

Everyone has a morning grooming ritual before heading out to work. Be it a donning pair of mother-of-pearl cufflinks after a healthy breakfast, or putting on a trusty pair of oxfords (or brogues if you subscribe to the Kingsman: The Secret Service ideal) to see you through the day. And despite the advent of the smartphone and the soon-to-be remora-like presence of smartwatches, there will always be a place on the wrist for a mechanical timepiece with classically inspired sensibilities. Don’t believe us? Clearly refusing to be digitally dislodged from its perch as an assertive addition to any man’s sartorial arsenal, Louis Erard’s 1931 Small Seconds should make for tantalising proof that the bandwagon eventually sheds its cool and that the watch’s luxuriously fuss-free dial face will inevitably pay dividend in spades even as naysayers swipe away on lithium battery activated LED ones. The flame-blued hands, off-centred seconds sub-dial and date window isn’t going to clear your diary or loosen your belt with fitness trackers, but this 500-piece limited issue presented in a box containing a seal, wax, and vintage stationary is a loving tribute to the year when the Louis Erard was founded in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The company hit a rough patch during the 1940s when principal activity revolved around producing cases for other watch brands. This was before any financial restructuring, and its acquisition by a group of investors led by Alain Spinedi many decades later led to success with accessible mechanical timepieces that inspired confidence as a result of its Swiss heritage and precision. Till date, the brand has successfully presented several breakthrough models, such as in-house regulator power reserve complications and moon phase chronographs. Yet, through it all, it is models such as the three-hand Open Balance addition to the Excellence collection that reiterates its stance as a no-nonsense purveyor of time-keeping tradition, quietly building a rep as one of the surest manufactures around – and given its willingness to give wearers a glimpse of the watch’s inner-workings from the front just above six o’clock, the mastery of old-school aesthetics based on suggestions rather than flash is refreshing indeed. It cuts as close to the skin as a beloved bespoke shirt would. Oh, the drawbacks of owning one? There isn’t really any. Smarten up your act today the right way and bring a little more soul to the table. You’ll no longer be left in the dark when the battery level hangs in the balance.

1931 Vintage Small SecondS 500-piece limited edition moVement Automatic Selita SW-290 calibre with decorated oscillating weight caSe 40mm in stainless steel or rose gold PVD, water resistant to 50m Strap Black leather with pin buckle price RM5,740 excellence open Balance moVement Automatic Soprod SOP A10BV-2 calibre caSe 40mm in stainless steel, water resistant to 50m Strap Black crocodile-pattern leather with steel folding clasp price RM7,230

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