This article was originally published in the Design 2023 Issue of the WatchTime print magazine.
In just two decades, French luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton has managed to make quite a name for itself within the watch industry. In 2002, the maison had unveiled the Tambour for the first time, recognizable at a glance with its unusual shape and its signature applied lugs. Today, the Tambour acts as a creative platform from the brand’s connected watch to award- winning haute horlogerie pieces. We take a closer look at a 2022 limited edition model from the brand.
Having become a symbol of Louis Vuitton’s watch collection over the years, the Tambour has seen different expressions over time. With the Tambour Spin Time in 2009, it even played with how time is displayed, with rotating cubes instead of hands and indexes. In 2011, La Fabrique du Temps in Geneva and its master watchmakers, Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini, joined Louis Vuitton to create even more exceptional timepieces. The 2014 Tambour Evolution, for example, bore strong, masculine lines with its 45-mmdiameter case, whereas the 2016 Tambour Slim, in a Tourbillon version, appeared sleek and discrete on the wrist. With the Tambour Moon model launched in 2017, the brand kept its signature round case while reversing its caseband’s curve. Then, in 2020, the Tambour Curve introduced a titanium and Carbostratum case and flying tourbillon caliber, stamped with the prestigious Geneva Seal (Poinçon de Genève). In 2021, the Tambour Carpe Diem received the Audacity Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, while the Tambour Street won the Diver’s Watch Prize. Perhaps even more remarkable: Louis Vuitton’s venture into watchmaking has also been closely linked to the connected watch. In 2022, the maison unveiled the third generation of its Tambour Horizon Light Up model. This connected watch is entirely customizable.
Over the years, the Tambour’s signature shape was combined with all kinds of complications and watch types, from the more classic types to the most complex movements. Even a flying tourbillon and a minute repeater have been made. To celebrate two decades on the market, La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton has created an exclusive anniversary model: the Tambour Twenty. The limited edition of 200 pieces pays tribute to the original Tambour by reprising the iconic codes that made it an icon of watchmaking design. “Watch enthusiasts will recognize all the features that made the Tambour’s design so unique. While this limited edition is a true concentrate of everything that made this watch stand out, it also boasts brand new features that will set it apart for collectors,” says Jean Arnault, Marketing and Development Director for Louis Vuitton watches. “To me, as well as celebrating our anniversary, this watch also paves the way for many future decades of fine watchmaking, staying true to Louis Vuitton’s values of creativity, craftsmanship and excellence.”
The Tambour Twenty comes with a case with 41.5-mm diameter with the 12 letters that make up the name “Louis Vuitton” across the numbers and indexes, just like on the 2002 version. This edition features a brown dial with sunray finish, along which the chronograph’s yellow hands — a nod to the thread historically used in the company’s leatherwork. The chronograph, which is water resistant to 100 meters, is powered by the LV277 high-frequency movement based on the Zenith El Primero. This version comes with 22-karat gold rotor and 50 hours of power reserve and retails for $17,800.