Louis Vuitton The High-End Watch Maker? Yes And A Clever One At That With The Updated Spin Time
Louis Vuitton is among the world’s most recognizable luxury brands but few people know them as watch makers. Ask men and women on the streets of any major cosmopolitan city what they feel about the famous “monogram” brand and they will offer imagery of high-end bags, luggage, shoes, and possibly fashion. Watches are such an exclusive part of the company’s products that many of their stores don’t even carry the timepiece collection. Nevertheless, watches have been part of the Louis Vuitton collection for over a decade.
It all started with the Tambour – a case design that evolved in a range of models both at (relatively speaking) entry level prices to ultra-high-end models costing well north of $100,000. This latter segment has become the most interesting and borrows from the talents that exist in the larger LVMH corporate group that owns several dedicated watch making companies. Because of the “LVMH Family” Louis Vuitton has some very unique resources available when making not just high-end watches, but high-end complicated watches.
One uniquely attractive and complex model was the original Tambour Spin Time GMT that was released in 2010. A series of spinning cubes on the dial served as the hour indicators. A cube would turn over with the numeral for the correct hour when it was that cubes turn. When the minute hand passes 12 o’clock to a new hour, the cube would spin back around and the next cube would turn over. The watch also includes a second hour indicator in the form of a more traditional hand that indicated a second time zone. It was an elegant and particularly satisfying solution for showing two time zones in an eye-pleasing manner.
For 2014 Louis Vuitton returns to the Spin Time GMT context with a new model that instead of using the standard Tambour case it uses the newer Tambour éVolution style case in 18k pink gold. At 45mm wide the substantially-sized wrist watch has a high-end look and distinctive Louis Vuitton design DNA. Rather than being a mere high-end fashion watch with a brand name logo and precious metal case, Louis Vuitton has once again focused on placing an exclusive and horologically legitimate mechanical movement in this luxury product.
For the movement Louis Vuitton returns to its Swiss partner La Fabriques du Temps, who is in charge of producing most of the more complicated mechanical movements that you’ll find in the most exclusive Louis Vuitton timepieces. The Tambour éVolution builds on the Tambour and in this execution combines gold with black-plated elements and hints of red color accents. Ultimately Louis Vuitton isn’t inventing anything new with the Tambour éVolution Spin Time GMT but shows a dedication to its higher-end timepiece products that will hopefully not be as rare in the future.