Independent Swiss watch manufacturer, Louis Erard, presents a 99-piece Excellence Émail Grand Feu Limited Edition watch designed in collaboration with Donzé Cadrans, a small but impressive artisan workshop that specialises in the creation of high-end enamel dials.
Launched in 2011 to mark their 80th anniversary, the Louis Erard Excellence watch collection has evolved into one of their most distinctive families perfectly capturing their core values of beauty, precision and affordability. Late last year, the line expanded further with the addition of the Excellence Petite Second inspired by the grassy pastures and fir trees of the Jura mountains where Louis Erard is based. This very model is the foundation of the new Louis Erard Excellence Émail Grand Feu Limited Edition watch and is an idyllic time-only candidate for their first venture into traditional handmade enamel dials.
GRAND FEU DIAL
Grand Feu enamel, or émail in French, is the natural centrepiece to the Louis Erard Excellence Émail Grand Feu watch. Designed by Donzé Cadrans, an artisan workshop owned by Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin, the enamel dial is achieved through a delicate and complex process which requires layering fine silica powder, metallic oxide, and potassium onto a copper dial. This technique is done entirely by hand in between kiln firings over temperatures of 800 degrees Celsius. Once the ideal thickness and finish is obtained, the dial is left to cool and the diligent task of securing the perfect dial colouring begins, which in this case is a breathtaking warm, creamy off-white with matte finish.
The process behind Grand Feu enamel is not an easy one and failures in the kiln are common and often inevitable. However, it is its complexity that makes Grand Feu finishes so highly sought after in the luxury watchmaking world. To ensure all focus is on the cream enamel dial, the dial’s hardware is kept to a minimum with deep matte blue Roman numerals, a matching blue chemin de fer minute track and a small seconds subsidiary counter at 6 o’clock. Due to the intricacy of the craft, artisans can only produce up to 15 dials per month so the release of the 99 limited edition pieces of the Louis Erard Excellence Émail Grand Feu watch will be staggered across the year with the first batch expected in March, the second between June and August and the third nearing October – something worth keeping in mind if you’re planning on ordering your own!
This is not the first time Louis Erard has excelled in their collaborations. Recently, they joined forces with designers Eric Gourd and Vianney Halter to create a series of Louis Erard limited editions notorious for their bespoke dial designs. The Louis Erard Excellence Le Regulateur designed by Vianney Halter has become an especially popular release for its openwork oscillating rotor, free-flowing dial and élaborégrade movement all at an incredibly affordable price point.
The case of the Louis Erard Excellence Émail Grand Feu Limited Edition is engineered from polished stainless steel and measures to 42mm in diameter and 12.25mm in thickness. Bombed sapphire crystal glass protects the dial and with anti-reflective treatment on both sides delivers optimal legibility. The large non-screw locked crown assists in a 50 metre water resistance and is handsomely engraved with knurled detailing designed to evoke the shape of the spruce and fir trees on the slopes of the Jura mountains.
The powerhouse of the Louis Erard Excellence Émail Grand Feu Limited Edition is the Sellita SW261-1 automatic winding movement which comprises of 31 jewels and a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. The Sellita calibre keeps the piece in line with the brand’s philosophy of accessible luxury while delivering a healthy 38 hour power reserve. The transparent sapphire crystal case back also delivers a stunning view into the automatic winding movement and the custom engraved, open worked Louis Erard rotor.
Completing the look of the Louis Erard Excellence Émail Grand Feu watch and harmonizing perfectly with the cream enamel dial and the darker beige accents on the small seconds dial is a coffee-brown nubuck leather strap. The strap is secured using catch spring bars so it can be effortlessly swapped around for an alternative look and fastens to the wrist by a polished stainless steel pin buckle.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
As we have already mentioned, the Louis Erard Excellence Émail Grand Feu watch is a limited edition of only 99 pieces and due to the complexity of creating the Grand Feu dial, the design must be released steadily throughout the year. If you’d like to order your own, we highly recommend getting your name down on an order as soon as possible. You can find the Louis Erard Excellence Émail Grand Feu Limited Edition at its retail price of £3,400 on the Jura Watches website alongside interest free finance and free delivery options.