The Swiss watchmaker Louis Erard has updated its Excellence collection of luxury timekeepers with a full calendar Louis Erard Excellence Moon Phase 24 Hour Ref. 80 231 AA 01. Featuring an extremely elegant design of its dial and animated by a robust and reliable chronograph movement, this new device seems like an accessory of choice for an office worker who can’t afford an IWC Portuguese yet.
I must admit that I am totally in love with this watch in particular and with the whole Excellence collection in general.
While their classic 1931, Heritage and Sportive collections still fail to strike a single chord with me, just about any member of the gorgeous Excellence line makes me want to reach for my Visa. And it takes a huge effort to fight off this terrible urge.
Take, for example, their recent Excellence Regulateur Reserve de Marche that was also presented during the Baselworld 2011 event. Presented in a compact (L-sized, if you please) and slim case, the watch still manages to present all the information without overwhelming your senses or hurting your sense of beauty. It is not only elegant: it is filled with oxygen like the air after a thunderstorm!
The same goes for the new Moon Phase model.
Coming in a slightly larger stainless steel case, the new Louis Erard Excellence Moon Phase 24 Hour (Ref. 80 231 AA 01) still looks refined and crisp like winter sky when an Arctic anticyclone blows away the heavy, leaden clouds and allows the cold winter sun to illuminate the heavy banks of snow and the thin layers of ice on trees and streetlights.
Sorry for being poetic. Must be something in the air.
Although being only 42 millimeters in diameter, the case sports a thin bezel saving the precious real estate for the torrent of information flowing from the white (seemingly sandblasted) dial. While most full-calendar watches usually look busy, the Moon Phase 24 Hour, on the other hand, leaves an impression of tidiness and understated elegance.
Powered by the Swiss-made caliber ETA 7751, it offers a standard set of features:
30-minute chronograph, day and month counter at 12 o’clock;
12-hour and moon phase counter at 6 o’clock;
Small seconds and 24-hour indicator at 9 o’clock; and
A date display on the inner bezel ring.
If this is going to be your first full-calendar watch, reading off all this information will certainly require some getting used to, but if you have some experience with this type of timepieces you will have no problem at all: the sub-dials and displays are absolutely standard and you won’t have to waste time searching for that “days of week” aperture
Again, the Excellence Moon Phase 24 Hour looks clean and the lack of engine turning or engraving on the dial makes it especially easy on the eyes. Highly recommended.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Louis Erard
Louis Erard Excellence Moon Phase 24 Hour (Ref. 80 231 AA 01) specification
Price: CHF 3500
Movement: Automatic, Caliber ETA 7751, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, 31 mm in diameter, 5.05 mm in height, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Branded oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, moonphase, full calendar, second time zone (GMT)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 42.00 mm
Hands: Leaf-shaped, blue
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black leather with steel folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides