Independent Watch Brand

Alain Silberstein

Parisian designer Alain Silberstein, born in 1950, has always been swimming against the mainstream. Educated as an interior architect, Silberstein became interested in watchmaking and presented his first watch in 1987 at the Basel exhibition. The Krono Bauhaus, with a crown and buttons made in three different shapes (red triangle, blue square, and yellow circle) showed the world that Silberstein was going to have fun with his watch design. It wasn't all about fun, though: Silberstein was one of the key figures behind the resurgence of mechanical watches in the 1980s after the industry was devastated by the invasion of quartz watches. Silberstein was convinced that mechanical watches could be revived with the help of new designs that did not try to replicate the conservative classic watches of the past.

By 1990, Silberstein had established his eponymous watch brand in Besançon, producing audacious timepieces that used bold colors and geometric shapes. He also didn’t hesitate to use complications, introducing tourbillons and other traditional complications in a new form, with his bold colors extending to the components of the movement. Everything from Walter Gropius and his Bauhaus school to such artists as Kandinsky, Klee, and Moholy-Nagy inspired his style.

By 1990, Silberstein had established his eponymous watch brand in Besançon, producing audacious timepieces that used bold colors and geometric shapes.

After the closure of his watch company in 2012, Silberstein collaborated with MB&F (HM2.2 "Black Box" in 2009 and LM1 in 2011) and with Romain Jerome, and since 2019 he started collaborating with the Louis Erard brand. During this collaboration, Louis Erard gave the French "watch architect" a free hand to create a series of watches with his signature design style.

The basis for the first collaboration of Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein was a popular regulator watch from Louis Erard - Excellence Regulator. Inspired by traditional regulators, which have a single minute hand attached to the central axis, while the hour and second hands are placed on small subdials, the Regulator by Louis Erard has always had a classic and purist design. But in the hands of Silberstein, Louis Erard’s Regulator watch acquired a bright and daring style.

Rethinking this classical model, Silberstein used multi-colored hands of red, blue, and yellow colors which are typical for his watches, as well as geometric shapes: triangle, square, and circle. At the same time, whimsical elements that are immediately recognizable to its fans were accompanied by new design ideas, such as the hour hand in the form of a red circle with a triangular pointer. The Régulateur watch from the Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein collaboration, released in 2019, sold out in just a few hours, and in 2021 it won the Red Dot Award for Product Design.

After that, the designer proceeded to create Le Triptyque – a trilogy of watches consisting of La Semaine (featuring a day of the week indicator that uses playful smileys instead of weekdays), Le Régulateur II (a new regulator dial watch) and Le Chrono Monopoussoir (a superb monopusher chronograph). This series of watches has become a real treat for 178 fans of Silberstein's joyful design universe. You ask why 178? All Louis Erard limited editions are limited to 178 pieces, because this symbolic number means “stronger together”, according to Manuel Emch, the board member at Louis Erard. And that’s true – great art has always been rejuvenating us, inspiring optimism and hope.

Alain Silberstein

Auction 2023 lot:

Alain Silberstein

Tourbillon Pièce Unique
Starting price
CHF 65 000
CHF 107 000