Excellence Guilloché Main
Power reserve: 38 h, 28800 variations / hours
It takes several hours of work to complete just one of the dials of the Excellence Guilloché Main. They are made by the dial maker Fehr in La Chaux-de-Fonds, which regards its guilloché workshop as a precious treasure, and where each of these dials is manufactured, one by one, patiently, always by the same artisan.
The pattern is carried out on a manual guilloché rose engine lathe: a century-old machine made of cams, feelers, cranks and chisels. A whole mechanism with no regard for digital or automation. Here, everything is operated by eye and by hand. The artisan depends on her dexterity to create a pattern that is even, lively and harmonious. The demands are extreme: a single deviation in the pressure exerted on the chisel, a single broken line, and everything has to be redone.
This geometric pattern is devilish. It tricks the eye by creating depth in an image that is perfectly flat. The effect is reinforced by the black varnish, used to cover the dial before the guilloché, and the final rhodium plating that gives a silver patina to the brass exposed by the chisel.
We are far – very far – from standard practices in the Louis Erard price range, where watchmakers usually make do with stamping a pattern that imitates traditional guilloché. But to achieve the result of the Excellence Guilloché Main, there is only one way: respect for tradition and artistic craftwork.
In this model, a limited edition of 99 pieces, Louis Erard combines tradition and contemporary watchmaking, as is to be expected. The case: modern, sleek in polished steel, 42 millimetres, water-resistant to 50 metres and with a signature fir tree crown. The strap: black calf nubuck leather with pin buckle. The movement: automatic Sellita SW261-1 with hour and minute function, visible from the open caseback. The dial: hand guilloché and signature fir tree hands in blued steel.
Finally, the shock of the price: less than 4,000 Swiss francs. This is, it must be said, completely unheard of, considering the type of finish and the level of exclusivity. The art and style of Louis Erard taking up the challenge of fine watchmaking.