The Regulator Louis Erard: collaboration with Olivier Mosset

Temps de lecture : 3 minutes

Louis Erard breaks new ground, bringing its fine watchmaking to the world of contemporary art. A new collaboration with a historic and rebellious figure in abstract art, Swiss artist Olivier Mosset. A black-on-black model with sparkling inlays. Limited edition of 178.

Une sélection de Shaniah Asha Gibson / @TRP, Public Relations Cabinet
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A manufacturer of fine mechanical timepieces. A contemporary artist, figure of 60’s abstraction, gestures, objects, attitude. A meeting point between the two worlds lies somewhere between the Franches-Montagnes and Arizona, between Noirmont and Tucson. The result is more than a watch. An essay. A compendium. A few grams of polysemy, a bit of artist Olivier Mosset in:

A watch that struggles not to give in everything to art and continue to tell the time.

More than a watch

This watch is a frontier. On one side, the land of signs; on the other, the land of watchmaking. This watch is an invitation to cross this frontier, a journey. Of course, Olivier Mosset doesn’t just make art, he’s also a biker. “Easy Rider” in the Jura. An artist in “Watchland”. Everything is black: case, bracelet, hands. A pure work of art, with no labels, no logos. Only the dial contrasts, decorated with silver glitter. The hands are batons, hour, minute, second, three times the same, same length, same width, same rounded ends. There’s just one detail: the size of the hole that gives the direction, a minimalist reference, just enough to ensure that you don’t lose the sense of reading altogether.

This watch is an abstraction. A minimalist geometric reinterpretation of the regulator, whose three hands – minute in the center, hour at the top, seconds at the bottom – are mechanically separated. Normally, this improves precision and legibility. In this case, though, it is rather a work of art.

The artist’s codes have been translated into the watch’s design. Geometric reduction. Chromatic reduction. Flat colour tints. It’s all there. Then comes the dial, which takes up another aspect of Olivier Mosset’s work. The artist loves street culture, including motorbikes and cars, all of which have a place in his work. He adapts and presents them like sculptures. This watch evokes the look and feel of an automobile body with its metallic paint, black and glittering dial.

This collaboration was initiated by Manuel Emch, director of Louis Erard and a keen connoisseur of contemporary art, of which Olivier Mosset is a leading figure since his participation in the B.M.P.T group – founded in Paris in December 1966 by Daniel Buren, Olivier Mosset, Michel Parmentier and Niele Toroni.

Olivier Mosset had never designed an object, and certainly never a watch. But when Manuel Emch suggested this project, he let himself be drawn in, with amusement and a touch of sentiment. After all, he grew up in the Val-de Ruz, in the watchmaking heartland of the canton of Neuchâtel, and his grandfather is linked to the history of Ébauches SA: “Time is a rather complex matter.”

Work of Art, Do Not Wear

For the rest, Olivier Mosset relies on his biker credentials: “What amuses me about watches is their accessory aspect – a watch is useless today. It reminds me of the scene in “Easy Rider”, when they’ve just bought their bikes and are about to leave, Peter Fonda takes off his watch and throws it away.” He adds, in conclusion: “It’s in the collection that this collaboration makes sense.”

Erected as a work of art, each of the 178 timepieces comes with a red seal bearing the words “work of art – do not wear”. Two interchangeable bracelets complete the case, one signed by the artist. Shaking up the codes of watchmaking is the direction taken by Louis Erard through its artistic collaborations, which delight collectors and contemporary art lovers the world over.

With Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Olivier Mosset, the watchmaking brand continues its initiatory journey. Other collaborations are to come, involving artists, craftsmen and independent watchmakers. Always limited to 178 pieces. This number holds significance, representing strength in unity.

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