Atelier Oï’s Louis Erard watch is inspired by a minimalist sundial

Atelier Oï has rethought the Louis Erard Le Régulateur watch with a minimalist dial, engraved as if with rays of light

Atlelier Oï Louis Erard Le Régulateur watch with engraved dial
(Image credit: press)

Atelier Oï and a minimalist quest

Architectural and design studio Atelier Oï has marked its 30th anniversary with a collaboration with watch brand Louis Erard. The Switzerland-based studio, which has announced new collaborations across the art, architecture and design fields, has rethought the Louis Erard Le Régulateur watch in a limited edition of 178 pieces.

For founders Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Reymond, it was a chance to reinterpret the details of the piece. ‘We had the opportunity to work on selected parts of Le Régulateur for this limited edition and decided to focus mainly on the watch dial and arms,’ they say.

‘The main challenge was to find the best shape, angle and depth of the engraving on the dial in order to get the perfect and desired light effect,’ they continue. ‘At this scale, the only way to go through the process was to prototype several dials with the final material and finishes in close collaboration with the manufacturer. Once the design was developed, we challenged Louis Erard by asking them to avoid any additional graphics, such as logo, index or numbers, on the front side of the watch, in order to keep the design as minimalist as possible.’

The watch design is inspired by a sundial in the way it plays with light, with the asymmetrical facets engraved into the dial, creating a sense of continuous movement. ‘While the reflections of light don’t show the time as a classical sundial, metaphorically the watch shows us the continuous passage of time through the effects of light,’ the team add. ‘The aim was to enable the perfect combination between the user’s movement, the light source provided by the sun and – last but not least – time.’

Reduction was the key for Louis Erard, whose team were careful to limit the technicality of the watch so as not to distract from the design. ‘The result is a surface engraved with asymmetrical rays, which reveal reflections and contrasts – echoing the passion of the members of Atelier Oï for the material and the play of light,’ they say. ‘The art of engraving is being expressed here in its essence: drawn lines. These lines create a space, to which the hands add the dimension of time.’ §


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.