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Jean Arnault Ushers In A New Era For Louis Vuitton Watchmaking With The New Tambour

HighLifeChannel July 7, 2023

In 2021 the watch industry was abuzz as the youngest Arnault, Jean, stepped into his role in the Watch Division at Louis Vuitton. Last year, Arnault officially rose to the lead role as the Watch Director with a vision for the brand the watch industry was patiently awaiting to uncover. Through teasers on his Instagram here and there, Arnault slowly revealed his style and keen sense of the industry — and if there’s one thing we’re certain, Jean may be the youngest Arnault, but he has quite the mature spirit.

Jean Arnault Ushers In A New Era For Louis Vuitton Watchmaking With The New Tambour

With more than 160 years of history behind the Maison, Arnault combines audacious design with a quest for sophistication, continuously pushing the boundaries of watchmaking excellence. In fact, his dedication to crafting timepieces with strong horological credentials while staying true to Louis Vuitton’s distinctive style is evident in every element of the recently introduced Tambour timepieces.

In 2002, Louis Vuitton made a significant mark in the watchmaking industry with the introduction of the Tambour watch. Known for its distinctive drum-shaped case and innovative interpretation of time, the Tambour quickly became an iconic timepiece of the brand. Now, after 21 years, Louis Vuitton unveils the next evolution of the Tambour, featuring a slimmer design characterized by exceptional craftsmanship, casual elegance, and fluid lines — making it quite the retreat from its predecessors.

Jean Arnault Ushers In A New Era For Louis Vuitton Watchmaking With The New Tambour

The Tambour watch is instantly recognizable by its round case, curved sides, and the 12 letters spelling “LOUIS VUITTON” around its bezel. These defining elements are meticulously maintained and amplified in the latest iteration of the Tambour. The new model boasts a modern unisex 40mm diameter, a slim 8.3mm case thickness, and an integrated bracelet, a first for Louis Vuitton. The bracelet’s curved links provide a comfortable fit on the wrist, rivaling the softness of a leather strap. Every aspect of the Tambour’s design serves a purpose, from the ergonomically shaped caseback that follows the curve of the forearm to the seamlessly integrated bracelet that melds with the case, resulting in a truly harmonious timepiece.

Craftsmanship is at the heart of the new Tambour, evident in its thoughtful detailing and tactile finishes. The brushed surfaces, polished chamfers, and drum-shaped crown with soft grooves make for a sensory indulgence when interacting with the watch. The sandblasted bezel features raised and polished letters, precisely sculpted to align with the hour markers. The dial showcases impressive depth and three-dimensionality, with recessed 5-minute markers and appliques for the hours. Thanks to the use of Super-LumiNova, the dial remains legible even in low-light conditions. The openworked gold hands not only enhance visibility but also create a sense of space on the dial. The central brushed dial section proudly displays “LOUIS VUITTON PARIS,” signifying the brand’s origins, while “FAB. EN SUISSE” below the small seconds counter pays tribute to La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, emphasizing the exceptional craftsmanship behind this timepiece.

Inside, the Tambour beats to the cal. LFT023 — a proprietary automatic three-hand movement designed by Louis Vuitton in collaboration with Le Cercle des Horlogers. This movement perfectly embodies the Maison’s visual codes, featuring a barrel cover reminiscent of the Monogram Flower and a micro-rotor decorated with a stylized LV motif. The contemporary aesthetics continue with micro-sandblasted bridges, polished edges, chamfers, and a circular-grained mainplate. The cal. LFT023 boasts a high-inertia 22k gold micro-rotor and a peripheral gearing system, enabling efficient winding and a power reserve of 50 hours. Certified as a chronometer by the Geneva Chronometric Observatory, this movement meets the highest standards of timekeeping accuracy.

With the introduction of the new Tambour watch, a glimpse into the incredibly promising future of Louis Vuitton watchmaking is revealed. It’s been said that Louis Vuitton will cut about 80% of its watch collection to focus on upscaling its timepieces — and we can’t wait to see what is next with Arnault at the helm.


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