Louis Erard And The Horophile Present La Petite Seconde Metropolis — A Skyscraper For The Wrist
It’s been a while since I last visited New York City, but just one look at this new watch had me checking flight tickets right away. La Petite Seconde Metropolis, presented by Louis Erard in collaboration with Amr Sindi — aka The Horophile — clearly took its inspiration from the architectural giants of The Big Apple. It’s bold and gracious at the same time and combines craftsmanship with rich materials, just like those Art Deco buildings from yesteryear. Let’s take a closer look at this skyscraper for your wrist.
A quick look at the overview of recent releases from Louis Erard tells you that this is a brand that dares to try out different things on its dials. There’s been a Louis Horror with a ghost on the sub-dial, an Excellence Marqueterie with an actual wooden dial, and just last month, the silver and gold Monopoussoirs were presented. Although I appreciate all those very different dial executions, they weren’t really my thing. But I must say, the Art Deco-inspired dials on this new La Petite Seconde Metropolis strike a sensitive chord with me.
A jazzy dial
The story behind these new designs is one of two watch friends, Manuel Emch and Amr Sindi. The former is the director of Louis Erard, and the latter is a notorious independent watch lover and the mastermind behind The Horophile Instagram account. Louis Erard’s birth year, 1929, served as a starting point for the dial designs. Art Deco was booming at the time in the United States and Europe. Now, almost 100 years later, we’ve arrived at the Roaring ’20s again. La Petite Seconde Metropolis serves as a tribute to those bold times in which jazz music, bobbed hair, and short skirts flourished.
The numerals on the dials look like they’ve been taken straight from the Empire State Building’s elevator. Their clean and gracious style was the starting point for the design of the rest of the dial. The circular brushing around the numerals turns into thicker grooves towards the center. And even the sub-seconds dial got an ultra-fine concentric finish. The additional printing on the dial also perfectly matches the style of the numerals. On the slate (gray) and tobacco (brown) versions, the printing is gilded, and on the salmon dial, it’s black.
Dancing around on that almost record-like dial are three tiny Empire State Buildings. The hour and minute hands have been skeletonized to match the style of the numerals.
A familiar case and movement
Unlike the original dials within Louis Erard watches, the cases are often the same fully polished stainless steel ones. This La Petite Seconde Metropolis model is no exception. The case measures 39mm in diameter, almost 46mm from lug to lug, and 12.8mm thick. In particular, that last measurement feels a bit off for the type of watch that the Metropolis is. For this kind of dressier, time-only watch, you would expect a thickness closer to 10mm or even less. That’s especially because the automatic movement inside is only 5.6mm high.
That movement — according to Louis Erard and despite its lack of decoration — is an élaboré-grade Sellita SW261-1 with 31 jewels. It runs at 28,000vph and offers a power reserve of about 38 hours. You can take a look at it through the sapphire crystal in the exhibition case back. There, you can also see the modified rotor, which proudly carries the Louis Erard logo. The only other place where you’ll find the brand’s logo is on the push-pull crown. The sapphire crystal on the dial side is domed and has an applied antireflective coating inside and out. And it’s nice to know that the watch should be able to handle water decently well with a water resistance rating of up to 50 meters.
This dial is in a different case, please!
The dial of La Petite Seconde Metropolis is really where the watch shines, both literally and figuratively. Its clean but rich execution immediately catches your attention, just like the reflections from all the different finishes. It’s great that the two friends, Manuel and Amr, dared to keep the dial as clean as it could be. And I really like how the numerals all face the center of the dial. Designers often orient the numerals to the wearer’s perspective, but I feel the Metropolis’s orientation is much more playful. And the hands are truly the icing on the cake!
But putting so much attention into one area inevitably comes at a cost. This is especially true for a brand like Louis Erard, which always tries to keep its watches relatively affordable. That’s why you often see the brand using the same type of case for its watches. As I said, that’s also true here, and it’s undoubtedly my least favorite feature of this model. It’s just a bit clunky with its nearly 13mm thickness and those lugs that look a bit fat from the side. I understand that the universal case is a way to cut costs, and it works with some of the brand’s other models. But it’s certainly an area that could be improved, especially for a watch like the La Petite Seconde Metropolis.
I think the price of CHF 2,300 (excluding taxes) is a fair one, though. You get a watch with a very original and well-executed dial combined with both a higher-grade movement and case that have been tried and tested. The Louis Erard × The Horophile La Petite Seconde Metropolis is available now in slate (gray), tobacco (brown), and salmon (pink). It’s a limited edition, and only 59 pieces will be available per color. The watches come on either a black or brown grained calfskin leather strap. For more information, please check out the official Louis Erard website.
Let me know what you think of the new Louis Erard × The Horophile La Petite Seconde Metropolis in the comments below. Which of the three versions is your favorite?