Louis Vuitton : a mechanical journey

Original movements and unique decoration: these are the twin foundations on which Louis Vuitton has built its watchmaking reputation. The abundant 2019 offering provides ample proof of this.

By Hervé Genoud

When Louis Vuitton released its first watch, the Tambour, in 2002, it had a well-defined objective: to establish itself as a watchmaking house in its own right, capable of mastering the entire creative and manufacturing process of its timepieces. Over the years, this has given rise to several lines with highly identifiable designs, equipped with various complications (double time zones, global time, chronograph, minute repeater, etc.) and sold exclusively in Louis Vuitton stores.

Initially located in La Chaux-de-Fonds and benefiting from synergies with other brands in the LVMH group, the watchmaking division of the famous Paris-based luxury house took the decisive step in 2014 of opening its very own ‘Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton’ (Louis Vuitton Time Factory) in Meyrin, just a stone’s throw from Geneva. This facility groups together the major part of the house’s know-how (movement design and manufacture, watch design, dial production, assembly, artistic crafts, and so on). This strengthened its legitimacy and credibility by stimulating the creativity of all the teams working on the same site.

Louis Vuitton brand: 1854
Louis Vuitton watchmaking: 2002
Company status
Société anonyme (public limited company) of the LVMH group
Senior Management
Catherine Lacaze, Director of Watches and Jewellery
Number of employees
Flagship collection
Retail prices
From CHF 2,100 to 270,000
Annual production


The Spin Time’s 10th anniversary

Launched in 2009, the Spin Time mechanism reinterprets the traditional jumping hours system to offer a novel way of telling the time. In place of a central hand, this exclusive patented calibre comprises 12 rotating cubes, each of which shows the numeral of the corresponding hour on one of its sides. Every 60 minutes, the cube for the ending hour spins around on its axis to show a plain face, while the one for the starting hour does the same to show its numeral – and all instantaneously. In 2019, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this highly playful concept, Louis Vuitton presented the Tambour Spin Time Air, featuring a new self-winding movement whose entire mechanism is grouped together in the centre of the dial. The result: the 12 cubes appear to float in mid-air between the crystal and the transparent case back. This collection of seven models in white gold includes a large number of aesthetic variants. The three models for men are embellished in the centre by the LV signature, while the four women’s models feature two flowers from the Monogram canvas. An extensive range of precious gems, set in the cases, the centres of the dials and the rotating cylinders of the women’s versions, offer an ever-changing vision of time.

An emblem of fine watchmaking

The Voyager line stands out for its unusually shaped case, midway between a circle and a square. Today, Louis Vuitton has combined this bold, modern design with two of the most sophisticated complications in watchmaking: a minute repeater and a flying tourbillon. Visible through a sapphire crystal dial with a striped pattern inspired by one of the house’s canvases, the manually wound calibre LV100 is equipped – for the first time at Louis Vuitton – with ‘cathedral’ gongs that are longer than the usual ones for greater depth of sound. The flying tourbillon carriage at 5 o’clock has no bridge and appears to float over the movement; it is decorated with a V that, due to the rotation of the mechanism in a single minute, also indicates the seconds. The Voyager Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon is equipped with a 9.7 mm deep case in white gold, making it one of the slimmest watches on the market to contain these two complications. It is available in two versions: a more understated model featuring an interplay of alternating satin-brushed and polished surfaces, and a pavé-set model featuring baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel and lugs. The movement is also visible from behind through a sapphire crystal case back.

Tambour Monogram and Tambour Damier Graphite inspired by Louis Vuitton’s famous canvases.

A tribute to emblematic canvases

Louis Vuitton’s flagship watch, the Tambour, is available with new dials that faithfully reproduce the patterns of two of the canvases that have contributed to the Parisian trunk-maker’s renown. This collection, named Tambour Icons, is composed of four steel timepieces: the Tambour Monogram, which comes in three different diameters (28, 34 and 39.5 mm) and the Tambour Damier Graphite, with a diameter of 41.5 mm. Driven by quartz movements and water-resistant to 100 metres, the four watches have interchangeable straps that do not require any tools thanks to an innovative system patented by the house. The owner of a Tambour Icon can therefore swap their Monogram or Damier Graphite strap in a jiffy for one of the numerous others offered in the collection. Ideal for matching your watch to every occasion and asserting your own style.