Home Tech & Gadgets Louis Vuitton, the taste for risk

Louis Vuitton, the taste for risk


VS’is a risky bet. Twenty years after the launch of its very first collection of watches, the Tambour, Louis Vuitton has carved out a place for itself among respected watchmakers. A small circle of houses with a factory in Switzerland. In this case, La Fabrique du temps, capable of producing technical pieces (jumping hours, tourbillons and minute repeaters being the holy grail), dubbed by the Poinçon de Genève commission (a certification label for fine watchmaking) and, cherry on the cake, winning the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (this was the case twice last year, the Carpe Diem having received the audacity prize and the Street Diver, that of the diver’s watch). In barely two decades, Louis Vuitton has passed all the milestones leading to the Olympus of this age-old art. A feat capable of making people forget their pedigree as a French trunk maker in the realm of the great Swiss makers. So why risk this year the ultimate provocation: integrating two batteries into a mechanical movement as sophisticated as that of the Tambour Spin Time Air?

3D time

The idea is full of common sense: to tell the time at any time. Including at night, in the dark. A more discreet alternative for neighbors to the famous Swiss cuckoo clock and the noble minute repeaters sounding the passage of time, the Tambour Spin Time Air Quantum lights up when the crown is pressed. The object is attractive and is intended to be a concentrate of the know-how developed over the years. Drum case designed in 2002, “spin time” jumping hour system dating from 2009, concept of miniaturization of the “Air” movement (apparently levitating in the case of the timepiece) unveiled in 2014, to which two innovations have been added. The first relates to the on-demand lighting device. It consists of a precision electronic assembly, ingeniously concealed in the flange of the case. Particularly compact, the lighting system is made up of a ring of 12 LEDs – one for each rotating cube –, an integrated circuit and a power source in the form of a double battery. The second, less subversive, relates to the two-material, two-tone strap that mixes rubber and alligator.

While it is likely that this hybrid watch will provoke the ire of supporters of traditional watchmaking, touting its durability, its purpose is commendable. It brings – literally – back to light an ancestral complication produced according to the rules of the art.