Louis Vuitton, the brand synonymous with luxury and timeless elegance, has unveiled its latest masterpiece in horology – Tambour.
The highly anticipated unveiling introduces the world to the new Tambour watch, an evolution of the iconic timepiece that has captivated watch enthusiasts for over two decades. With a slimmer profile, exceptional craftsmanship, and a seamless blend of style and function, the new Tambour sets a new standard of sophistication in the world of luxury watches. Join us as we delve into the intricate details and innovative features that make this timepiece a true testament to Louis Vuitton’s unwavering commitment to excellence in watchmaking.
Louis Vuitton Unveils the Slimmer and More Elegant Tambour Watch
Louis Vuitton, the renowned luxury brand, introduced the Tambour watch in 2002, featuring a distinctive drum-shaped case that instantly captivated watch enthusiasts. Now, after 21 years, the Tambour has evolved into a slimmer version, boasting exceptional craftsmanship, casual elegance, and fluid lines.
According to Jean Arnault, the Watch Director at Louis Vuitton, “After two decades of audacious watchmaking design based on the iconic Tambour shape, and with a continuous pursuit of modernity, elegance, and functionality that the Maison has upheld for over 160 years, Louis Vuitton takes its watch collection to new heights of sophistication with an unprecedented level of refinement in every aspect of the new timepiece.”
To mark the launch of the new Tambour, Louis Vuitton presents two steel versions that epitomize the collection’s suitability for everyday wear. Customers can choose between a tone-on-tone model with a silver-grey dial or one with a striking deep blue dial. These options introduce the Maison’s emblematic collection in a revitalized form, featuring two notable additions unique to Louis Vuitton: an integrated bracelet and an exclusive automatic movement crafted by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton.
Jean Arnault explains, “With this launch, we aim to start a new chapter in the history of the Maison’s watchmaking by creating a timepiece with strong horological credentials while staying true to the unmistakable Louis Vuitton style.”
Form and Function: Merging Aesthetics and Purpose
The Tambour watch embodies certain characteristics that define its identity. It showcases a round case with curved sides, bearing the elegant LOUIS VUITTON lettering, and possesses a distinctive volume reminiscent of architectural design principles. All these elements are carefully maintained and enhanced in the latest iteration of the Tambour. Design permeates every aspect of the new timepiece, transcending mere aesthetics and encompassing purpose and intention.
The modern morphology of the Tambour is characterized by a universally appealing 40mm diameter and a slim 8.3mm thick case that follows the natural curve of the wearer’s arm. Notably, the new Tambour features an integrated bracelet, a groundbreaking feature for Louis Vuitton. This bracelet seamlessly combines sturdiness and fluidity, with its slender, curved links offering a snug and comfortable fit comparable to the softest leather strap.
Every detail of the new Louis Vuitton Tambour is meticulously considered. The exterior surfaces that come into contact with the skin are ergonomically shaped to accommodate the human body. The caseback, instead of being flat, curves gracefully towards the middle of the case, aligning with the forearm’s natural contours as it extends towards the wrist. This thoughtful design choice creates the illusion of an even slimmer timepiece than its 8.3mm thickness suggests.
The bracelet links, featuring convex upper and lower surfaces, create a rounded profile that maintains continuous contact with the entire wrist. This lug-free construction makes the new Tambour the only truly round watch with an integrated bracelet. The bracelet’s sleek aesthetic is further enhanced by an invisible closure, achieved through a triple-blade folding buckle. Subtle cues, such as the engraved LOUIS VUITTON on the end link and the absence of a polished central link separating each brushed link, indicate the position of the buckle.
While craftsmanship is often appreciated visually, it truly reveals its mastery when experienced through touch. The new Tambour’s finishes predominantly consist of brushed surfaces, with a few exceptions such as the polished chamfers on the bracelet and central links, as well as the polished crown. The drum-shaped crown, reminiscent of the case, is delicately fluted with gentle grooves, offering a sensory indulgence during the winding and setting of the watch.
The sandblasted bezel with polished rims features the distinctive twelve-letter name of the Maison, a hallmark of the Tambour collection. In this iteration, the raised and polished letters are minutely sculpted, aligning with each hour marker. On the wrist, the new Louis Vuitton Tambour exudes a sense of balance and cohesion, while to the eyes, it projects clarity and precision.
Light and Lightness: Effortless Elegance
In contrast to the sleek curves of the case and bracelet, the dial side of the new Tambour showcases crisp and sharply defined elements. The interplay of light brings out the textural nuances of the watch’s display, evoking a sense of effortless weightlessness.
Despite being slightly over a millimetre thick, the dial of the new Tambour conveys surprising depth and three-dimensionality. It features a split-level chapter ring divided by a polished step, comprising an outer ring for the minutes and an inner ring for the hours, both with micro-sandblasted surfaces. The design of the dial markers ensures spatial balance, with recessed 5-minute markers and applied indexes for the hours.
This height variation among the markers allows for quick reading, as the varying light interaction between them is subtly registered by the viewer. The gold indexes are diamond polished to maximize their interaction with light, ensuring legibility even in low-light conditions thanks to Super-LumiNova-filled numerals and hands.
The evolution of the Tambour’s gold hands from broad batons to tapered and facetted open-worked hands introduces an additional sense of spaciousness to the dial. The slimmer hands provide a broader view of the dial at any given moment, resulting in an overall visually lighter and conceptually elevated timepiece.
This sense of lightness extends to the watch’s tone itself. The central brushed dial section proudly bears the inscription LOUIS VUITTON PARIS, signifying the Maison’s origins in Paris since 1854. Positioned just below the small seconds counter with its snailed finish, the phrase FAB. EN SUISSE replaces the more commonly seen SWISS MADE certification, paying homage to the fine watchmaking dials of the 1950s and 1960s.
The unabbreviated phrase, “Fabriqué en Suisse,” alludes to La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton and the exceptional craftsmanship employed in the creation of this timepiece. The convergence of Parisian flair and Swiss expertise is beautifully embodied in this creation.
Movement and Motion: An Ode to Watchmaking Excellence
The new Tambour owes its existence to Louis Vuitton’s advanced watchmaking expertise, which is epitomized by La Fabrique du Temps, the Maison’s watchmaking atelier based in Geneva. Led by master watchmakers Enrico Barbasini and Michel Navas, La Fabrique du Temps has gained recognition for bringing award-winning horological complications to Louis Vuitton.
The new calibre LFT023 is not just the driving force behind the evolved Tambour but also the first in-house automatic three-hand movement designed by Louis Vuitton in collaboration with the movement specialists from Le Cercle des Horlogers. It fully embodies the Maison’s visual codes, featuring a barrel cover with openwork design reminiscent of the Monogram Flower and a micro-rotor adorned with a stylized LV motif.
The movement showcases contemporary aesthetics with its micro-sandblasted bridges, polished edges, and chamfers that echo the design language of the entire watch. The circular-grained main plate pays homage to traditional movement decoration, while the use of colourless transparent jewels instead of conventional magenta movement rubies maintains the avant-garde approach of the LFT023. The micro-rotor, crafted from high-inertia 22k gold, is paired with peripheral gearing that ensures highly efficient winding, providing a generous 50-hour power reserve on a 4Hz (28,800vph) escapement.
The calibre LFT023 of the new Tambour watch has undergone chronometer certification, adhering to the same stringent standards applied to some of the most esteemed watchmakers in the industry. It boasts a remarkable timekeeping accuracy of between -4s and +6s per day. The Geneva Chronometric Observatory, overseen by the TIMELAB Foundation, has bestowed this certification, ensuring that the calibre LFT023 complies with the rigorous criteria outlined in ISO 3159. By becoming the first watchmaking company to certify its timepieces through the Geneva Chronometric Observatory, Louis Vuitton reaffirms its commitment to excellence and the pursuit of superior quality in modern horology.
The calibre LFT023, characterized by its modern elegance and meticulous craftsmanship, serves as the heart of the first models to embody the essence of the latest Tambour collection. In addition to the two steel versions launched initially, three more models in steel will join the collection, marking the initial steps of this new era for the Tambour timepiece.
Louis Vuitton’s unwavering dedication to pushing boundaries in design, craftsmanship, and horological expertise is evident in the evolution of the Tambour watch. With its slimmer form, exceptional finish, and seamless integration of innovative features, the new Tambour sets a new standard of sophistication while staying true to the brand’s iconic style.
As Louis Vuitton embarks on this new chapter in watchmaking, the fusion of artistry, functionality, and precision continues to define the Maison’s unwavering commitment to creating timepieces of exceptional beauty and distinction.