The automatic Louis Erard Grey Heritage Chronograph (ref. 78 269 AA 03) leaves a dubious impression. The mechanism that powers it has successfully passed the test of time in terms of reliability and accuracy, but is also as common as Bic ballpoint pens. The design of its dial is familiar to everyone and is easy to read, but is also as uninspiring as a phony Gibson. Well, it is a matter of personal preferences, as usual.
Available at a recommended street price of just $2475 USD, this is a perfect watch for a person who is still not ready to pay a much more impressive sum for a similarly styled chronograph from IWC or Omega, but wants to get a product that offers bullet-proof reliability, superb usability and is also as inconspicuous as a Volkswagen Golf.
While many Swiss chronographs are still offered in impressively oversized bodies, this new Louis Erard Grey Heritage Chronograph comes in a medium-sized body that, being less than 41 millimeters in diameter and just 13.5 millimeters thick, will fit almost any wrist of a modern man.
Thanks to its bleak styling, the ref. 78 269 AA 03 doesn’t draw too much attention to itself, so you can easily wear it with any clothing (except, perhaps, for the Aloha shirt) and for any social occasion, be it a best friend’s wedding or a Dilbert-style staff meeting.
Unlike many more expensive watches that are often shamelessly offered with dirt-cheap blank movements with add-on modules, this grey mouse is powered by the (almost) legendary ETA Valjoux 7750 engine: a natural-born chronograph caliber with a classic tri-compax layout and a nice calendar that shows the current day of week and date.
Coming in a standard finish -with the only change being a branded oscillating weight that is partly visible through a circular cutout in the screw-in case-back cover-, the mechanism features the usual bullet-proof reliability and the same acceptable accuracy as millions of its siblings. Of course, the choice of the movement comes at a price: compared to a similarly styled timepiece powered by an ETA 2824 ebauche with an add-on chronograph module, this Louis Erard Grey Heritage Chronograph is approximately $1000 more expensive, which makes it out of reach for plenty of potential customers simply looking for a nice Swiss made chrono.
I am not happy with the choice of colors for the hands and Arabic numerals (they aren’t contrasting enough here, even despite the white marks on the minute track and the white Superluminova triangles on the hour and minute hands), but otherwise, the design of the dial is almost flawless if a bit generic.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Photos: Louis Erard
Louis Erard Grey Heritage Chronograph 78 269 AA 03 specification
Price: $2475 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 40 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, day of the week, chronograph
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 40.50 mm
Case height: 13.50 mm
Dial: Dark Grey
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: Luminous, open-worked
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Dark grey leather strap on steel deployant clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Solid, engraved, circular cutout with transparent crystal