When watchmakers and dedicated aficionados join forces, it’s more than a transaction: it’s an extraordinary journey of shared passion and vision. The recent partnership presented at Geneva Watch Days 2023 between renowned watchmaker Louis Erard and the watch enthusiast known as The Horophile, Amr Sindi (aka @TheHorophile on Instagram), epitomizes this spirit of camaraderie. Together, they’ve crafted a limited edition collection that goes beyond the mere measurement of time; it carries a profound message of unity and collaboration. Let’s delve into the captivating world of the Louis Erard x The Horophile Petite Seconde Metropolis collection, where classical elegance merges seamlessly with contemporary neo-deco design.
This collaboration it’s a celebration of shared cultures, perspectives, aspirations, and passions. It’s a testament to the enduring friendship between Manuel Emch, the visionary behind Louis Erard, and Amr Sindi, a seasoned marketing consultant to watchmakers and an independent producer of limited series. Over their 15-year bond, they embarked on a journey to rejuvenate the Louis Erard Petite Seconde collection, resulting in three exquisite timepieces that pay homage to Art Deco while infusing a contemporary twist.
At the core of this collaboration lies the classic stainless steel case of the Petite Seconde, thoughtfully chosen as the canvas for this “collection within a collection”. Despite their limited production of 178 pieces, 3 times 59 pieces plus a unique model for The Horophile, each of the three watches, along with a unique model created exclusively for The Horophile, aims to pave the way for future special editions. The Petite Seconde Metropolis collection, available in slate, salmon, and tobacco variations, seamlessly marries traditional watchmaking with contemporary aesthetics. It features a timeless 39 mm steel case and the iconic “LE” signature crown, the only visible brand logo on the watch. However, the true essence of these timepieces lies in their ability to transcend time and style. This collaboration brilliantly fuses New York Art Deco influences with modern sensibilities, a style aptly termed “Neo Deco” by Emch and Sindi. It creates a bridge between the Roaring 20s and our contemporary era, giving birth to a new aesthetic that honors Art Deco’s elegance while embracing the modern spirit.
Louis Erard’s inception in 1929, coinciding with the zenith of the Art Deco movement, adds a layer of historical significance to these timepieces. In an unexpected tribute, these watches also pay homage to their geographical roots in the Jura region, encompassing the Franches-Montagnes and La Chaux-de-Fonds, which is renowned as the birthplace of the fir tree style, an Art Deco expression inspired by the forest, which, in this collection, takes on a more metropolitan allure.
The design process began with typography when the designers embarked on the task of “Reinterpreting Art Deco numerals” and did a meticulous selection and refinement of fonts to reinterpret numerals. The numerals themselves exude architectural elegance, reminiscent of grand building facades. Their subtle lines blur the line between being applied or engraved, adding a captivating visual depth. The small seconds sub-dial, marked with a single dot, introduces an engaging contrast. Continuing this creative journey, the arrangement of numerals on the dial is meticulously considered. Circular placement, as if delicately positioned on a disc, takes precedence. This disc motif becomes central, highlighting the two distinct time display regions: the prominent hour-minute dial and the graceful seconds sub-dial. But it’s not just visually captivating, it’s also a tactile experience with the discs featuring a series of concentric gadrooned grooves, capturing and playing with light, introducing depth and dimension.
The “Empire” baton hands, inspired by the iconic Empire State Building, pay homage to the Art Deco spirit with finesse. Every detail, from proportions to skeletonization, echoes the architectural marvel of the Empire State Building. The color palette of the collection further enhances its allure. Slate, salmon, and tobacco variations offer distinct moods and warmth. 5N red-gilded hands and numerals beautifully complement the slate and brown dials, while black creates a striking contrast on the salmon dial. The harmonious tones extend to the grained calfskin straps, with cool brown for the anthracite version, black for the salmon, and chocolate for the brown.
In conclusion, the La Petite Seconde Metropolis Louis Erard x The Horophile collection transcends the boundaries of conventional timekeeping. It represents a harmonious union of passion and craftsmanship, a heartfelt tribute to Art Deco, Louis Erard’s rich heritage, and the enduring friendship between Manuel Emch and Amr Sindi. These watches are not mere instruments to measure time; they are tangible expressions of collaboration, creativity, and shared dreams. As you adorn these timepieces, remember the message they carry: together, we’re stronger, and together, we can create something truly extraordinary.