Exploring Louis Vuitton At Watches & Wonders

Travel Time: Exploring Louis Vuitton's Masterful Creations At Watches & Wonders

From connected timepieces to examples of haute horology, the iconic house of Louis Vuitton brought their best to jet setting watch collectors in Miami's Design District.

By Rhonda Riche

When it comes to watchmaking, Louis Vuitton operates in a league of its own. It's most famous for its coveted clothing and handbags, but its timepieces are never "too" trendy. A big part of LV's appeal is its heritage in leather goods and travel accessories, but it has also managed to make the leap into technical innovation.

The brand makes timepieces that appeal to both to status-conscious consumers as well as serious collectors. In 2019, the French fashion house brought its most adventurous new horological offerings to Watches & Wonders Miami to dazzle American admirers.

The Tambour Horizon Collection

Of all the luxury houses, Louis Vuitton has had the most success with smartwatches. While it is a heritage brand, LV's initials are also one of the first examples of logomania (read HERE). This is partially because the most ardent LV fan is comfortable with embracing both trends and technology.

For 2019, Louis Vuitton’s Tambour Horizon collection has not only updated its design, materials, and colors, but it's also enriched user experience and functions via smart software upgrades.

LV was quick to recognize that smartwatches are really more about managing rather than telling time. The new version of this connected watch trades on the drum-like case shape of the signature Tambour watch as well as the Maison’s expertise in expedition with new functions such as ‘My Travel’, ‘Agenda’, ‘Step Counter’ and ‘Pollution’ Quick switch straps and customizable displays also let the wearer easily switch up their everyday watch wardrobe. They can be further customized with personalized engravings on the case back.

It’s like, technology, but make it fashion!

The Tambour Spin Time

Maybe it’s because of its roots in making mechanical automatons for Royal Courts, but of the most alluring examples of haute horology are those that play with the notion of time. When Louis Vuitton introduced the Tambour Spin Time ten years ago, it delighted fans of both high jewelry and fine watchmaking. The most modern of any Jumping Hour watches, the inventive new way of reading time certainly gave Louis Vuitton real legitimacy amongst watch snobs. Instead of a central hand, the Tambour Spin Time Air uses twelve rotating cubes to display the hours. Every 60 minutes, two of them spin around revealing its neutral side, making way for the next hour, which is displayed by another cube revealing its distinctive side.

This year, Louis Vuitton has rebranded the collection as Tambour Spin Time Air. The air refers to the skeletonized space around spinning, floating “time cubes.” This new generation is even more luxurious than earlier incarnations. The unique self-winding movement has also evolved thanks to the master watchmakers at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton.

There are seven very distinctive designs which all reflect aspects of the Louis Vuitton logo. There are three versions for men and four for women. All are finely finished in white gold. Some come dripping in diamonds.

Voyager Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon

Louis Vuitton’s most important introduction in Miami was the Voyager Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon. Marriages of multiple super complications such as a Flying Tourbillon and a Minute Repeater are currently the rage amongst collectors, but Louis Vuitton’s take has a little extra thoughtfulness.

For example, this caliber is showcased in the House’s signature Voyager case whose unusual shape is halfway between a circle and a square. All of Louis Vuitton’s watches are linked to the company’s roots as travel outfitters. Sometimes that means a shape reflects the design of a piece of luggage. Sometimes it results in a mechanical movement decorated in a motif inspired by the original striped canvas that Louis Vuitton created in 1872.

It is also Louis Vuitton’s first-ever striking-mechanism using a cathedral gong. Cathedral gongs differ from classic gongs in terms of length. The minute gong makes a 1½ turn around the movement, while the hour one makes approximately a 1¾ turn. This makes it possible to obtain a deeper sound and making the resonance last longer. You never know how useful this is until you find yourself on a pitch dark airplane or some other destination far from home and you need to hear rather than read the time.

The Voyager Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon is available in two white gold versions — one with an alternately polished and satin-brushed surface, the other set with approximately eight carats of baguette-cut diamonds. And despite the complexity of the caliber, it is housed in a very comfortable 42 mm diameter thick case.

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