While Louis Vuitton is not known to have a long established watchmaking tradition, the storied French maison founded in 1854 and purveyor of luxury lifestyle has spent the last two decades defining and refining its distinct take on what makes for fine watchmaking. In 2002, the maison unveiled its first timepiece, a game changer in horology, in the form of the Tambour, which is known as the “drum” in English. Set in a round case sculpted from a block of metal — a shape unseen in the industry at the time — its bold and innovative spirit turned heads and captured imaginations, thus heralding the entry of Louis Vuitton into the exclusive world of watchmaking.
In 2011, Louis Vuitton’s ambition of making its mark in haute horology saw it take the strategic step of acquiring the expertise of La Fabrique du Temps, a famed high-end independent watchmaker helmed by industry veterans Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini. With La Fabrique du Temps an integral part of the maison, Navas and Barbasini were tasked with pursuing Louis Vuitton’s vision of combining bold aesthetics with cutting-edge technology to raise the art of time-telling to new frontiers. With its ability to create ground-breaking fine, intricate movements in-house, Louis Vuitton has earned its legitimate place among the storied brands in high watchmaking in just 20 years.
Since making its debut in 2002, the Tambour has seen itself presented in a multitude of iterations, showcasing the different facets of a true, inimitable icon. It has taken on masculine and feminine personas, plunged to the depths of the sea, been fitted with a flying tourbillon and a minute repeater, and illuminated with LED on a digital dial — demonstrating the high-end expertise of Louis Vuitton artisans.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Tambour and the maison’s two decades in watchmaking, La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton fashioned an exclusive commemorative chronograph model — the Tambour Twenty. To be launched in September 2022, only 200 pieces of the Tambour Twenty are available worldwide.
The limited-edition timepiece pays tribute to the original Tambour by reprising its signature elements. The Tambour Twenty carries the same iconic case that has left its indelible mark on the watchmaking sphere, with its deep, flared shape giving it a robust and reliable feel.
On the 41.5mm diameter case sit the 12 letters that spell out “Louis Vuitton” across the numbers and indices, just like on the 2002 version. This collector’s edition also features a brown sun-brushed dial, along which the chronograph’s long yellow hand glide, which is inspired by the thread traditionally used in leatherwork. The two elegant sub-dials on the original Tambour also make a comeback.
The Tambour Twenty, which is water-resistant to 100m, moves to the beat of a high-frequency LV277 movement based on the iconic Zenith El Primero, the world’s first automatic chronograph calibre. This movement, which bears a 22-carat pink gold rotor and holds 50 hours of power reserve, is exact to the 10th of a second. The Tambour Twenty is also available with an accompanying miniature trunk in monogram canvas, a tribute to Louis Vuitton’s “art of travel” legacy.
THE TAMBOUR JOURNEY
2002: Tambour automatic GMT
The first iteration of the Tambour automatic GMT is created in conjunction with the opening of Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking workshop in La Chaux-de- Fonds, Switzerland. It boasts a 39.5mm diameter stainless steel case with a GMT self-winding movement.
2004: Tambour Tourbillon Monogram
The maison’s first high-end customisable timepiece with a 41.5mm diameter case. Its hand-wound LV103 calibre and tourbillon regulator are developed by the Swiss movement manufacturer La Joux-Perret, exclusively for Louis Vuitton.
2009: Tambour Spin Time
Developed and patented by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, this self-winding LV119 calibre timepiece cleverly reinvents the concept of jumping hour watches by replacing the indices with rotating cubes.
2020: Tambour Curve Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève
This Poinçon de Genève-certified timepiece (Louis Vuitton’s second) features a 46mm diameter CarboStratum© case that is made of an ultralight yet resistant composite material specially developed for Louis Vuitton. Equipped with a flying tourbillon, its phenomenal movement took over 120 hours of work to reach the required technical level for the certification.
2021: Tambour Carpe Diem
This jacquemart timepiece, which received the Audacity Prize at the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, is a true work of art that combines a jack mechanism with four animations, with jumping hours, retrograde minutes and a power reserve indicator.
Discover the world of Louis Vuitton High Watchmaking at www.louisvuitton.com.