It is a real firework display that Louis Erard proposes to us this month of June with the presentation of 3 watches resulting from the collaboration with Alain Silberstein. This triptych is, in my opinion, a great success because it manages to renew this approach already implemented a year and a half ago with the Excellence Régulateur. The key to this success lies in the brand new case which defines a new style, radically different from the previous watch.
Yet there can be no doubt: whichever watch makes up the triptych, it undeniably bears the signature of the collaboration. This is Louis Erard's great strength: because of its status as an outsider and autonomous brand, it can afford to give to Alain Silberstein almost a full "carte blanche". I have the real feeling that he can express himself freely, without constraint, and his stylistic signature is recognisable at first glance.
The week is starting badly...
Louis Erard proposed me a few days ago to test a prototype and I had the choice between the 3 watches. I eliminated the Regulator because I already know this dial very well and I wanted a watch with other displays. The Chrono Monopoussoir was very tempting but in the end I didn't hesitate very long: it was the Day-Date (named "La Semaine") that I wanted to see up close... simply because I knew that I was going to see again one of my favourite themes from Alain Silberstein: the day display.
But little by little, things are getting better...
I was not disappointed by my choice. The Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Week is a fun, creative, entertaining watch... and also very serious considering its quality of execution. The immediately noticeable element is the dial, this time only available with a matte black background. I find with great pleasure the slightly raised yellow (and red at the top) peripheral indexes and the large arrow-shaped minute hand with a wide base. But beware! If we are used to the previous Excellence Régulateur, the colour codes change. The minute hand is now blue and the second hand is yellow. Only the red colour of the hour hand does not change. In fact, the colour codes of the white dial regulator are now applied to a black dial. The hour hand also deserves some attention: it is in fact a "scissor" type hand that the Patek Philippe's amateurs know well with the World Timers... Its point is however a red triangle because this triangle is part of the aesthetic codes of Alain Silberstein.
The ETA2836-2 calibre:
The shape of the hour hand is logical and answers a necessity: that of making the two windows in the lower part of the dial readable when the hand flies over them. It is true that it would be a shame to deprive oneself of these two windows. The date window was not really a problem because it is traditional. But at least it is interesting not to lose a practical dimension by avoiding to hide it. It is the second aperture, the one of the days of the week that deserves all our attention. Here too I find one of Alain Silberstein's most famous interpretations: the display of the day by means of smileys. Needless to say, this window automatically propels the piece into another dimension, that of the playful watches that propose an alternative display. The system used by Alain Silberstein works very well and can be read without difficulty: the course of the week is a slow and constant change of mood that goes from deep sadness (Monday) to the most absolute happiness (Sunday). The two days of the weekend are marked with a red colour. I think there is a psychological dimension to this display. It perfectly translates the Sunday night blues... when the counter goes from a radiant smile to the worst of the blues in a second, I think it accurately reflects our state of mind!
The lovely red crown:
The interest of this display is multiple. Beyond its useful dimension (a calendar indication can always be interesting), it transforms the watch each day. And then, thanks to the magic of watchmaking, its quick adjustment, which is made with the crown, is independent of the date adjustment. Therefore, in the morning, one can position the most relevant smiley according to the day that lies ahead. After all, one can have a horrible Sunday and a wonderful Monday! The second hand also plays with this window. Its serpentine shape hugs its contours and it is a delight to see it approaching.
The dial thus offers a colourful, graphic and geometric show. In this context, reading the time, even if it is done in the traditional way, can be a little tricky when the hands are close together. Over time, reading becomes easier. This temporary difficulty is quickly forgotten because the observation of the dial gives a lot of pleasure by plunging us into a shifted, bewitching and rejoicing atmosphere. Even when the smiley is sad, one cannot help but smile. In the end, this dial is a real vector of optimism and cheerfulness!
I wonder if my favourite smiley isn't the Wednesday one:
The Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Week is not only about a beautiful dial. Its other asset is the introduction of a new titanium case that alternates between microblasted and polished finishes. Its architecture is interesting and original. It is composed of a central container dressed with lateral stretchers and a conical crown. I really like this case because it gives a lot of allure to the watch and especially it seemed to me coherent with the geometrical design of the dial. Unquestionably, Louis Erard and Alain Silberstein liked to play with shapes and it is clearly visible. The diameter of the central container is 40mm but the watch has a much larger perceived size. The distance from lugs to lugs is 47mm. The thickness is reasonable (11,6mm) which gives the case a very slim look. I really appreciate the flat glass. It is anti-reflective on both sides which is great news to enjoy the dial in any circumstance. The case is not only singular, it is also practical. Indeed, its water resistance is 100m, making the watch versatile. In addition, it has special strap attachments. The lugs that hold the black nylon strap with a scratch flap system have a quick release system so that the strap can be changed quickly. In any case, the result is there: this strap offers an excellent support and a very great comfort. It is possible to wear the watch in a more or less adjusted way according to your taste. I hope that Louis Erard will one day propose other strap colours, for example red or yellow, which would go very well with the watch.
The smiley is red, it's the weekend!
The case back is transparent and allows to observe the movement. The latter is the ETA2836-2 calibre which has a power reserve of 38 hours for a frequency of 4hz. It is an unsurprising, reliable and very well known movement. It is simply the "day-date" version of the ETA2824-2 calibre. It has therefore a very good winding efficiency and its great diffusion ensures a perenniality. On the other hand, its proper diameter of 25,6mm is small compared to the diameter of the container and the transparent back gives the impression that the calibre is lost in the case. On this point, I would have preferred a version with a full solid caseback.
After all, it is on the dial that all the human comedy summarized by the succession of smileys takes place. There is a sign that does not deceive when I like a watch: I spend my time looking at the time... and I looked at it a lot with La Semaine Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein! Playful and seriously made, original and wearable on a daily basis, quirky and versatile, it ticks a lot of boxes and I consider it as my favourite of the triptych. It wasn't a foregone conclusion though, as I have a natural tendency to prefer watches without a date.The week ends in a climax:
Note that as I write these lines, it is already sold out and it has been the first watch of the triptych in this case... a sign that it was also the favourite for many collectors! Finally, I remind you that each watch of the triptych is edited in a limited series of 178 pieces. 78 of them join the complete set, the collector's box set sold at a price of 11,111 euros (also sold out). The remaining 100 pieces of La Semaine were sold at a price of 3,500 Swiss francs, which is still reasonable considering the dose of good humour it injects. It should even be reimbursed by the Social Security!
+ the pleasure of finding the "smiley" display of Alain Silberstein's days
+ a serious and high quality execution
+ the new original and versatile case, adapted to the context of the dial
+ the comfort of the nylon strap
- a full solid caseback would have been more appropriate
- the reading of the time is a bit difficult when the hands are close to each other