The Long Voyage
Louis Vuitton sails towards horological supremacy.
Tambour LV Cup Automatic, $14,600, by LOUIS VUITTON
TEXT TERENCE LIM PHOTOGRAPHY CHING
FASHION TRENDS come and go. That is a fact, and one that even fashion giant Louis Vuitton doesn't plan to refute. But when it comes to watchmaking, LV is not embarking on similar trend-driven paths.
In fact, the French malletier is dead serious about horlogerie: It is not just another accessory line to its already extensive stable of luxury goods. And its recent moves provide concrete evidence of its intent.
At the highest level, it has released a pièce de résistance at least once every two years - the Tambour Mystérieuse in 2008, Tambour Spin Time in 2010, and Tambour Répétition Minutes last year. This year, it breathes new life into the Spin Time by incorporating a regatta function. [See sidebar] Even its less complicated pieces like the Tambour Capsule Voyage and LV Cup Automatic or the Tambour series for ladies have improved over the years in terms of quality and design.
Tambour Bijou Secret, price unavailable, by LOUIS VUITTON
Tambour Spin Time Regatta, $61,000, by LOUIS VUITTON
To up its watchmaking standards further, Vuitton, under the direction of watch and jewellery head honcho Hamdi Chatti, has snapped up several independent watchmakers. Last year, it bought into La Fabrique du Temps, a high-end workshop specialising in the conception and fabrication of its complicated movements. And just before BaselWorld this year, it announced the acquisition of renowned dialmaker Léman Cadran. Word also has it that it is building a watchmaking facility of its own, due to open in mid-2013.