The Sacred Fire of Enamel

Louis Erard continues its odyssey at the heart of métiers d’art with Grand Feu enamel

Every colour you see on a watch requires processing in a kiln at more than 800°C. This dial has three colours: white for the background, Louis Erard blue indexes, and flashes of red on the XII at 12 o‘clock and on some of the lines of the small seconds at six o’clock. For every kiln process, there are hours of preparation, not to mention the risk of something not going to plan. The artisan’s dexterity changes nothing: you cannot play with fire with impunity and, despite an expert touch, the high level of waste is irreducible.

When everything goes well, the result is total. The quality of a Grand Feu enamel dial is unsurpassable. Deposited in small layers of silica, oxides and potassium, the colours are fixed forever, permanently bonded to their metal base. It is an almost alchemical art that goldsmiths were practising 1,500 years ago, when this was the only way to dye metal until the invention of synthetic lacquers, and which traditional watchmaking has kept alive through the centuries.

These days, Grand Feu enamel is reserved for luxury watches. It is precisely for this reason that Louis Erard has opened up its range of expression, continuing its journey to the heart of ancestral watchmaking expertise under the artistic and strategic direction of Manuel Emch.

The first version of the Excellence Émail Grand Feu was launched in 2021: the first time Louis Erard had reinterpreted a métier d’art. Excellence Émail Grand Feu II has the same DNA, plus a few additional touches to further reinforce its contemporary identity. The piece comes together in a 39mm case, a universal size par excellence.

The dials, patiently made piece by piece, once again come from the Donzé Cadrans kilns, an art enameller based in Le Locle. Louis Erard celebrates the marriage of traditional fine watchmaking techniques and the spirit of the 21st century, the union of luxury craft and affordable watchmaking.

The signature fir tree hands in blued steel give the dial a harmonious finish. The strap completes the work in red grained calf leather with blue stitching, lined in Louis Erard blue grained calf leather.

Once again, this edition is limited to 99 pieces. The message is unchanging: make the exceptional accessible. And the price reflects this: CHF 3,900 — completely unheard of on this type of finish and at this level of exclusivity.


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