Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Smile-Day Edition: A Day-Date Watch with Mood Swings
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Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Smile-Day Edition: A Day-Date Watch with Mood Swings

Louis Erard’s latest collaboration with French interior architect-turned-watch designer Alain Silberstein is designed to bring a smile to the face of even the most jaded watch enthusiast. The Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Smile-Day edition takes a design from 2022’s popular “Le Diptyque” release and reimagines it in a new colorway that is still playfully colorful but with a touch of gray-flannel sobriety as well.

Like its predecessors in the wildly popular Louis Erard x Silberstein series — which have included the French iconoclast’s first regulator dial in 2021 and the aforementioned “Le Diptyque'' models — the new timepiece features a 40mm case that combines parts made of microblasted grade 2 titanium with areas of polished grade 5 titanium. Its airy, openworked lug structure, with arched bars bordering the round case middle, further lightens the watch’s load on the wrist. Like Silberstein’s “La Semaine” calendar timepieces (aka “Smiley” calendars) and their interpretation in the white-dialed Le Diptyque model, the new watch’s most distinctive feature is the small, oval-shaped aperture above the 6 o’clock date window, occupied by an emoji-inspired graphic.

Actually, there are seven of them in total, one facial expression for each day of the week, which technically makes this watch a day-date, albeit a very unconventional one. Cycling through the days in order, the wearer will note that Saturday and Sunday, the two weekend days, use bright red for the emoji faces and both are brightly smiling. The remainder of the days’ faces, starting with Monday, are in black, and range from frowning (Monday, Tuesday) to somewhat trepidatious (Wednesday, Thursday) to gleefully anticipating (Friday). Of course, the wearer is free to interpret any of these in their own way. The red color is also repeated, somewhat subtly, on the top surface of the crown, whose sleek, non-fluted sides fit the overall stripped-down geometrical aesthetic of the watch quite well but also make it not the easiest to grasp or turn.

Silberstein’s iconoclastic use of bright colors and unusual shapes on a watch dial — which both Silberstein and Louis Erard’s Strategic Director Manuel Emch say is inspired by the artwork of Kandinsky, the Bauhaus, and the 1980s Memphis Group — are once again in evidence on the dial, which in this 178-piece limited edition is executed in a cool, glossy gray tone known as Stahlgrau — “steel gray” in German. Why 178 pieces? The number is a symbol in Chinese for the principle of "I Chi Ba," or "Standing Strong Together," the motto of all Louis Erard collaborations. Hours are indicated via a red-lacquered circle with a triangle pointer, the minutes by a pastel-blue cartoonish arrow, the running seconds by a yellow serpentine squiggle. Surrounding the main dial is a white minute ring punctuated by baton hour markers in the same light blue hue as the minute hand, except for the 12 o’clock marker that apes the color of the hour pointer. Silberstein, who was one of the first independent watchmakers to partner with Louis Erard upon its revamp under Emch’s direction, has been renowned for these types of artisanal timepiece designs since he began making watches under his own name in the late 1980s. 

Behind a matte-finished screw-down caseback with a central sapphire window beats the movement, an automatic Sellita SW220-1, with a 38-hour power reserve, a 28,800-vph frequency, and an openworked black lacquered rotor. The watch attaches to a gray nylon strap with a hook-and-loop fastener system and a velcro closure that makes it easy to achieve a perfect fit on any wrist. The tab at the end of the strap, whose steely gray color echoes both the “Stahlgrau” dial and the matte areas of the case for a pleasingly monochromatic ensemble, is made of microblasted grade 2 titanium. Its surfaces are also soft and supple enough to bring a satisfied smile to anyone's face — whether it's a Blue Monday, a Sunny Saturday, or any day in between.  

Price: $4,000, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.6mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW220-1

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