by Kyle Stults on October 23, 2012
2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the Louis Vuitton Tambour collection. In fact, 10 years ago the Tambour marked LV’s entry into the world of watchmaking. As its name implies the Tambour, or “drum”, watch was originally inspired by the Japanese Kodo drummers and their taiko drums. The Tambour collection for LV is also distinguishable by its 12 letters “Louis Vuitton” engraved on the caseband at each hour, and also (but not always) the use of the color yellow — a nod to the waxed thread used in Louis Vuitton’s iconic handbags.
Over the last ten years there has been a wide range of Tambour references launched by the brand representing a broad array of functions, complications and price points. There have been chronographs and regatta timers, tourbillons and minute repeaters…and unique complications such as the “Spin Time” and the “Mysterieuse”. Without a doubt, the Tambour collection is an interesting one (both mechanically and aesthetically), though it is likely that the brand’s dominant perception as a haute fashion and leather goods house has overshadowed its horological presentations. But this is all about to change, and Louis Vuitton’s standing as a serious watchmaker is about to get much more credible.
Louis Vuitton has taken several steps in recent years to vertically integrate its production capabilities, including recent acquisitions of movement and dial makers. This will all culminate in a new Louis Vuitton manufacture, in Geneva, in 2013. There is no doubt that Louis Vuitton’s horological ambitions are as great as ever. Though assuredly the mark’s presence in the world of fine watchmaking will remain very limited, serving the upper circles of the watch world with an increasingly sophisticated and integrated approach.
Follow along as we take a look back at ten years of the Tambour Collection — and explore the future of Louis Vuitton watchmaking.
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by Kyle Stults on July 15, 2012
Triple-circle tachymeter scale…
In the wake of the first Louis Vuitton automatic chronograph Tachymeter launched in 2011 (yes you saw it here), the famous Parisian trunk maker Louis Vuitton continues to explore the universe with the arrival of the Voyagez Tambour Chronograph Edition II. This eye catching timepiece is available in 44 mm steel or rose gold (limited edition of respectively 888 and 88 copies) and features a triple-circle tachymeter scale, a feature which I am absolutely positively certainly quite sure will be used often by the wearer to calculate his average speed. Here’s how it works: the small subdial at 3 o’clock is the normal time seconds; the larger red center-set hand is the chronograph seconds; the small red central hand marks chronograph minutes. Any questions? Personally, this one is a bit too complicated looking for me — I’d take last year’s model, given the choice.
Louis Vuitton Voyagez Tambour Chronograph Watch II
Limited edition 888 pieces steel, 88 rose gold
44mm case, automatic mechanical Dubois-Depraz Caliber for LV
by Kyle Stults on June 25, 2012
This new Louis Vuitton Tambour Automatic Chronograph Flyback is characterized by strong colors including a bright yellow center hand which reads the chronograph seconds elapsed on a dual circular scale, reminiscent of old aircraft gauges I seem to remember. Although I have featured flybacks many times here on Perpetuelle, here is a quick refresher of how the function works: a running chronograph can be reset and instantly restarted by pressing the reset button (lower right); the seconds hand will immediately return to the starting position and begin timing again — the visual is that of a hand that “flies back” to the starting position. I’d guess that the flyback on this dual-scale layout is particularly eyecatching. Note also the rubber-coated crown and the dual-leather strap — calfskin with the horizontal yellow stitch, fused with alligator. Good looking watch — I am a fan of Louis Vuitton horology. I’ve also included a neat short video demonstrating some of the Louis Vuitton watch strap-making process.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Automatic Chronograph Flyback
Limited edition 888 pieces
44mm steel case, automatic mechanical Dubois-Depraz caliber, rubber-molded crown, alligator strap with calfskin segment (with the horizontal yellow stitch)
LOUIS VUITTON STRAP MAKING (VIDEO)
by Kyle Stults on April 28, 2012
Louis Vuitton has released a limited edition regatta watch for the 2012 America’s Cup. Often called the “oldest trophy in international sport”, this year marks the 34th America’s Cup. The 34th America’s Cup consists of three main stages – the America’s Cup World Series; the Louis Vuitton Cup (the Americas’s Cup Challenger Selection Series) and the America’s Cup Finals. Ongoing right now is the AC World Series, with 4 races completed and two to go. The next race commences on May 12, 2012 from Venice, Italy. The Louis Vuitton watch is part of the Tambour collection, with a rubber-coated steel case and auto-mechanical movement with 5-minute regatta countdown. The America’s Cup logo appears on the dial and is also embossed on the rubber strap.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Regatta America’s Cup Watch (2012 Edition)
Limited Edition 720 pieces
44mm rubber-coated steel case, automatic mechanical flyback chronograph movement with regatta timing, fitted on rubber strap
Baselworld 2012: Regatta complications have never been my forté, but the Louis Vuitton Tambour Spin Time is rather interesting.
The Tambour Spin Time movement uses cubes at the hour indicators that tumble to show a blank side or a numbered side that can be used to time race countdowns.
The Tambour Regatta America’s Cup Automatic and the Tambour Regatta America’s Cup Quartz are the two new watches for the collection and are in 44 mm steel case and molded rubber that encloses a regatta function and V Dubois Dépraz caliber fully configured to time any regatta event. The Tambour Regatta America’s Cup Automatic is limited to 720 units.
Given this watch has cubes for hour markers, you should be able to narrow the countdown time to the square minute.
Louis Vuitton continues to develop its iconic “Tambour” design with the addition of this new ultra high-end model, the Tambour Minute Repeater. It’s no secret that I am a fan of the Louis Vuitton Tambour watches, and my take on this model is that by adding a complication as exclusive as a minute repeater to the Tambour lineup, Louis Vuitton sends its strongest message yet as to its desire to be appreciated not just for its fine luggage and luxury accessories. Production by special order only.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Minute Repeater
44mm white/pink/yellow gold case, manual wind mechanical Louis Vuitton Caliber 178, smoked sapphire crystal displays (front and back)
by Kyle Stults on June 27, 2011
Continuing my previews of the ONLY WATCH 2011 Charity auction (see them all here), here’s Louis Vuitton’s contribution: the “Tambour Diver Chronograph.” For the third consecutive ONLY WATCH event (2007, 2009 and now 2011), Louis Vuitton has enlisted the support and inspiration of young Paul Pettavino, a young boy afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The watch comes in a custom Louis Vuitton Trunk with “Damier Graphite” style canvas, personalized by Paul Pettavino with a message and a nautical sound record realized by Paul Pettavino. Pretty cool looking dive watch!
Louis Vuitton Tambour Dive Watch for ONLY WATCH 2011
44mm black PVD-coated white gold case, automatic column wheel chronograph movement, 100 meter water resistance, on orange rubber strap
dial close up:
note the “L O U I S V U I T T O N” lettering around the outer edge of the case
“Only Watch” is a biennial charity auction of one-of-a-kind watches created by many of the most renowned watch brands in Switzerland. This exceptional event is held every two years in Monaco during the Monaco Yacht Show and is under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II. All the proceeds from Only Watch go to support Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research which is why many of these watches go extraordinarily high prices.
Starting today Perpetuelle will begin its coverage of Only Watch 2011. Stay tuned in because over the next few months, you will get to see awesome “piece unique” watches from each of the participating brands for the 2011 event:
Click through to see our in-depth preview of each watch:
- Harry Winston Midnight GMT Tourbillon
- Patek Philippe Ref 3939A Minute Repeater
- Urwerk UR-103 “Phoenix”
- Romain Jerome “Rock the Rock”
- Hublot Oceanographic 4000m dive watch
- MB&F HM-4 “Flying Panda”
- TAG Heuer “Monaco Mikrograph”
- Bell & Ross Pink Gold “Casino”
- Louis Vuitton Tambour Diver Chronograph
- Blancpain Villeret Grand Decoration
- Piaget Altiplano Skeleton
- Breguet Reveil Musical Watch
- Audemars Piguet Gstaad Classic
- Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute
- Van Cleef & Arpel “From the Earth to the Moon” Watch
- Girard-Perregaux ww.TC
- Corum Golden Bridge Automatic Titanium
- Vulcain Anniversary Heart Watch
- Chanel J12 Marine Watch
- Franck Muller “Totally Switzerland”
- Ulysse Nardin Freak Diavolo
- Vacheron Constantin “Dove” Watch (M.C. Escher-inspired)
- Zenith El Primero “Destro” watches
- Montblanc Villeret 1858 Pulsograph
- Ikepod Red Hourglass by Marc Newson
- Bovet Fleurier, Celsius, Chaumet, Chopard, De Bethune, Delacour, De Witt, Frédérique Constant, Hermès, Laurent Ferrier, Maurice Lacroix, Richard Mille
Only Watch 2011 will be held September 24, 2011 and managed by watch auction house Antiquorum. But you don’t have to wait this long — because part of the excitement leading up to the September 24, 2011 event is the release of each participating brand’s special edition watch.
ONLY WATCH 2009
If you are interested in looking back, I covered the Only Watch 2009 auction extensively including blogging about several of my favorites inlcluding: Piaget Emperador Coussin, MB&F Sage Vaughn HM-2, Bovet 3-in-1 Mona Lisa Watch, Tourneau Jump Hour, Louis Vuitton Tambour, Chanel J12 Joallerie with pink sapphire, and Blancpain 500 Fathoms. The Only Watch 2009 auction was hosted by Patrizzi & Co.
Haute couture or haute horlogerie?
I’m no Fashionista, but what can I say, I’m a fan of Louis Vuitton’s Tambour watches. The design is very unique, and even though the Louis Vuitton fashion influence is strong, their watches are more than just a fancy case around a cheap movement (a la Gucci watches, for example). The Tambour’s modicum of eccentricity is what I like most. This particular model is a straight-3 chrono with tachymeter and date function. Price – about $6,000, it will be available June 2011. What about you? Is this just another overpriced fashion watch, or do you also have some appreciation for Louis Vuitton’s timepieces?
Louis Vuitton Voyagez Tambour Chronograph Watch
44mm steel case, 3-dial chronograph + date function, carbon fiber strap
News from Dubai…
This new Tambour diver from Louis Vuitton will hit Louis Vuitton boutiques in January 2011. A refresh of a model first introduced in 2005, the watch comes in a few combinations: steel case/black dial (men’s 44mm and women’s 39.5mm sizes), steel case/blue dial, and a limited edition pink gold case/blue dial/red bezel. The more discerning eye may appreciate the skeletonized hour and minutes hands, as well as the “dive flag” motif for the small seconds subdial at the 6 o’clock position. There is also a unidirection bezel which is set with “LOUIS VUITTON” letters in rubber to make for easier grasping of the bezel — if you look closely you can see this in the photo below.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Diving II
44mm/39.5mm steel or red gold case, unidirection rotating bezel, “L O U I S V U I T T O N” rubber bezel markers, 300m water resistance (100m for the 39.5mm case), rubber strap
The full lineup:
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- Special Report: Richemont, Swatch To Acquire Top Level Internet Domains
- Time Bandits: "Howard Hughes" Patek Philippe Saga Resurrected
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- "Howard Hughes" Patek Philippe Ref 1463 Sells Amid Controversy
- The Curious Case of the "Howard Hughes" Patek Philippe Ref 1463, Continued
- The Curious Case of the "Howard Hughes" Patek Philippe Ref 1463
- Howard Hughes Patek Philippe Ref. 1463 Up At Auction
- Elvis Presley Omega Constellation Sells For Record $42,000
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- World Record Rolex Price Set by Rolex Ref. 4113 Chronograph
- The Rolex Deep Sea Special - An Exclusive Report
- Narco Bling: The Watches of Mexican Drug Kingpins