Together with Fortis, Louis Erard belongs to Gevril Group: a tiny conglomerate currently owned by Samuel Friedmann. In late 2010, the watchmaker has presented a new member of their Classic 1931 collection. Called 1931 Chronometer (Ref. 79 220 OR 22), the premium-priced chronograph is now available in an even more expensive body that is crafted from 18-karat rose gold.
Presented in an elegant round case, which is crafted of 18-karat rose gold, the Ref. 79 220 OR 22 is powered by the ubiquitous ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph.
To somehow compensate for the use of the standard caliber, Louis Erard decided to use the highest-grade version of the time-proven industry’s workhorse, which is officially certified as a chronometer by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC.)
Being 44 mm in diameter, the case is by no means small. However, the 1931 Chronometer Chronograph still looks great on a mid-sized wrist even despite its lugs being longer than average.
Also, these days when major brands keep bombarding us with timekeepers of similar diameter, a 44 mm case no longer looks as outrageous as even twenty years ago when an oversized time measuring device (especially one in gold) was an inevitable accessory of a nouveau riche.
Like the last year’s 1931 Regulator model (Ref. 54 209 AN 12,) the 1931 Chronograph sports a textured black dial, similarly styled hands and features a similar design for its chronograph counter at 12 o’clock.
While the Regulator used a rotating disk to show the current date, the Chronograph uses the same kind of display for its 30-minute totalizer.
A subsidiary seconds display took the place of the power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock and the minute counter at 6 o’clock is substituted with the 12-hour totalizer.
The 1931 Chronometer is, however, much more expensive than the Regulator and justly so, since the latter was made of common black PVD-treated stainless steel.
At this time, the Swiss watchmaker charges CHF 11,500 for the piece, which translates to around €9100 or close to USD 12,000 at the current exchange rate. Frankly, I have an impression that given the, um, market value of the brand -I mean, it is neither Omega nor even Breitling-, the price seems to be a bit on a higher side and, even though it looks great and features a nice movement behind its sapphire case back, it may be difficult to flip without losing too much cash when the time finally arrives for you to sell the watch.
As far as I understood, they do not sell Louis Erard watches in the United States, but that is what eBay is for, right?
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Photos: Louis Erard
Louis Erard 1931 Chronometer (Ref. 79 220 OR 22) specification
Price: CHF 11,500 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, automatic, COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, small seconds, chronograph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: 18-karat Rose gold
Size: 44.00 mm
Dial: Black, textured
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black crocodile leather strap with 18kt rose gold buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating