Watchmaking: Louis Vuitton reposition its iconic Tambour at the very top end of the market

Two years after his arrival at the head of Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking division, Jean Arnault is shaking up the Tambour watch collection, 21 years after its creation. 80% of the current range will disappear in favor of Haute Horlogerie models.

 

Drum roll at Louis Vuitton !

 

Count on sons to shake up legacies… Two years after his arrival at the head of marketing and development for Louis Vuitton’s watch division, Jean Arnault, the youngest son (and fifth child) of Lvmh CEO Bernard Arnault, is revolutionizing the Tambour watch, the flagship of the group’s flagship Maison…

 

“This is undoubtedly our most important launch since the original Tambour twenty-one years ago,” explained Jean Arnault to Le Figaro.

 

Gone are 80% of Tambour watches. Aside from the haute horlogerie pieces, whose labels are near the top, only the Tambour Street River and connected models will remain, which will remain “the fashion references” and always accessible in terms of price.

 

Three-hand movement

 

Louis Vuitton’s new Tambour watch features the LFT023 caliber, the first automatic three-hand movement developed by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, the Geneva-based Manufacture dedicated to Haute Horlogerie, created by the Maison in 2007. It will appeal both to aesthetes, who will be able to admire it “through a sapphire case-back”, and to the practical-minded, who will appreciate its 50-hour power reserve.

 

© Louis Vuitton

 

For the design of this caliber, La Fabrique du Temps, which until now had focused on grand complications, called on the expertise of the Cercle des horlogers, with whom the Maison is partnered and who had expertise in three-hand movements.

 

Slimming diet

 

Available in two steel versions with sober dials (silver-grey or blue), the new Tambour will offer a more unisex face thanks to a slimming regime giving it an “even slimmer and more ergonomic” appearance: refined case 40 mm in diameter for a thickness of just 8.3 mm, integrated metal bracelet with invisible clasp and “absence of horns“.

 

“The devil is in the detail”, as the saying goes. But in this case, it’s paradise that the new Tambour watch is aiming for, thanks to the expertise of the Fabrique du Temps’ two master watchmakers, Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini...

 

An eye for detail

 

For Jean Arnault, it is “in this sense of detail” that “perfection lies”. He told Le Figaro that he wanted “collectors” who buy the new Tambour to “understand that every detail has been carefully considered, right down to the words “Louis Vuitton Paris” and “Fab. en Suisse” on the dial (“a tribute to the historic dials of timepieces from the 1950s and 1960s”) or “the thickness of the bracelet on the gold version, identical to that of the steel model”.

 

Towards Ultra-Luxury

 

Other distinctive details include the crown, “in the shape of a drum” and “adorned with delicate fluting“, the sandblasted bezel featuring the twelve engraved letters of the Gucci name, the openworked Fleur de Monogram on the barrel cover and the engraving of a stylized LV motif on the gold micro-rotor….

 

More generally, the ultra-luxury repositioning already observed in other divisions of the sector (as witnessed by the opening last spring of the first private “Salon” Gucci boutique in Los Angeles, or the recent significant price increase for the Timeless Chanel bag), is now also spreading to watchmaking… In addition to Louis Vuitton, Omega has just increased the prices of its luxury watches by 2% in Switzerland and China, and by 8% in the United States, according to a recent report by the American bank Morgan Stanley.

 

 

Read also > Qatar : The first-ever Louis Vuitton by Yannick Alléno lounge opens at Hamad International Airport

 

Featured photo : © Louis Vuitton

Picture of Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef has worked for more than 30 years in the professional press. For fifteen years, she managed the French and international editorial staff of the Journal du Textile. She now puts her press, textile, fashion, and luxury expertise at the service of newspapers, professional organizations, and companies.

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