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The new Louis Erard La Sportive Limited edition sports watches have it all: grade 5 titanium, ceramic, bronze and neo-vintage design, including a retro-inspired “smoked” dial and a high-domed sapphire crystal. And in keeping with the philosophy of Louis Erard since it began in 1929 — to offer high-quality timepieces at ultra-competitive prices — they are priced at under $3,500.

There are four references, each in a series of 250 pieces, two with bronze cases and two with grade 5 titanium cases. The dials are “smoked” or “fumé,” a trademark of sports watches from the 1970s, in which the color graduates from light to blackened as it reaches the edge of the dial. The dials come in four shades: earth, fir trees, sky, and mist — four hues that evoke the Jura, the birthplace of Louis Erard. The brown and green versions are reserved for the bronze cases. The blue and black versions are coordinated with grade 5 titanium. All versions of La Sportive are equipped with an insert bezel with a tachymeter scale made of fade-resistant, scratch-resistant black ceramic to match the black subdials for chronograph minutes, hours, and small seconds.

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The bronze case is the more vintage of the two options. It is long been used in marine engineering and for dive watches due to its unique resistance to saltwater. What’s special about it is that the bronze oxidizes as you wear it, taking on a patina that is different on each watch. It’s a characteristic that makes the watch highly personal to the wearer, imprinted with memories of irreplaceable moments in life.

Grade 5 titanium is newer to watchmaking, and it has become a very important case material for sports watches in recent years because of its robust qualities. It is the material of choice in the most demanding fields of application, including aeronautics, medicine, and sports because of its balance between lightness and solidity, comfort and durability. Titanium is also highly resistant to shocks, chemicals, and corrosion. It is 30% harder than steel, but 60% lighter. It is non-allergic and anti-magnetic. In short, it is the super material of the modern sports watch. It also looks great, especially on the Sportive because of the contrast between its satin and high-polished surfaces, not easily attainable with such a hard material. The case is 44mm-wide and 15mm-thick. It is water-resistant to 50 meters.

Inside, it contains the legendary Valjoux 7750 chronograph, the most famous chronograph movement in Switzerland, and itself a vintage icon. The oscillating weight was designed and decorated by Louis Erard, which makes this version of the movement unique to the brand. The back of the watch is open, so the movement can be seen through the sapphire crystal. Functions include central hour and minute hands, a small seconds counter at 9 o’clock, day/date at 3 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and, of course, a central chronograph seconds hand.

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The straps are made of vintage calfskin and topped with an innovative titanium folding buckle that does not require the leather to be punctured.

The watches are priced at $2,950 for the bronze versions and $3,250 for the titanium versions. For more information, visit the brand’s website.

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