Times are changing; Louis Erard is resurgent. The brand founded in 1929 is fighting back, true to itself and to the standards of fine watchmaking it has always upheld. Placing its values front and centre and with a new focus on special editions and contemporary design. New creations, new logo, new positioning.
As Louis Erard enters a new phase in its history, it is on solid ground, concentrating its efforts on what have always been the brand’s core strengths: affordable mechanical complications, design and traditional distribution. With a targeted positioning, more specialised products and a new visual identity, a shield-like logo heralding its return to the battlefield after a brief hiatus.
It is not so much a reprogramming as a recalibration, with the brand’s iconic regulator, the star of its major 2003 re-launch, taking centre stage. The regulator is set to play an even more emblematic role in the future, as a real artistic canvass in the current collection, in limited editions and in capsule collections created in collaboration with designers and key personalities.
The designer Eric Giroud put his name to the inaugural design, with three versions of the regulator unveiled in Basel in spring 2019. This autumn, Louis Erard will present its first ever capsule collection, a limited edition by Alain Silberstein. A leading light in the 1990s, the designer is enjoying his return to the spotlight after an enforced absence due to the economic uncertainties of the mid-2000s. Summing up perfectly the Louis Erard brand and the fighting spirit that has enabled it to overcome the challenges that the industry has faced over the last 15 years.
The sportive line is also part of the brand’s recalibration. The classic chronograph has already been and will continue to be revisited, with little touches like the introduction of bronze and titanium into the collection and other new features waiting in the wings. This line will also be used as a platform for specific collaborations with partners at the cutting edge of their fields, including outsiders and challengers. On signature editions, like those created with the British supercar manufacturer Ultima, and limited editions, like the chronograph produced to celebrate the centenary of Leeds United football club, with whom Erard has partnered for three years.
Alain Spinedi, who has been at the helm since 2003, pointed out: “We have always had that fighting spirit, a boxer’s determination. The structural changes in the marketplace had forced us onto the ropes, gloves up. But now we’re back. We are fighting back.” And this counter-attack is being orchestrated hand in hand with distribution. With the aim of supporting commercial partners by refocusing on the true strength of the brand: its gateway ability to introduce customers to the world of fine watchmaking, the Swiss Made mechanical watch and affordable complications.
Louis Erard is not reinventing itself. Louis Erard is drawing on its identity and renown in order to reaffirm its place in the traditional Swiss watchmaking landscape. This is a smooth transition rather than a dramatic transformation; but the changes will be clear to see.