The story in a second:
The Louis Vuitton Escale Worldtime made a huge impression at Baselworld 2014 for two reasons. It was so colourful! It was SO FREAKING EXPENSIVE. LV has frankly shocked everyone by releasing a similar quality piece in steel at Baselworld at a price point that is beyond pleasing.
Let me talk freely. I walked into the Louis Vuitton villa pretty much knowing in advance that I would not like the watches. ‘Serious’ watch writers (allow me to slot myself into this pompous shoe, which fits rather well), often find it easy to dismiss brands like Louis Vuitton, that don’t easily fit into the established horological pecking order as well as they do into the damning category of ‘fashion watches’. Even including the cool spinning cubes on the Tambour, sorry. 45 minutes later I walked out of the Louis Vuitton villa a changed man. LV are suddenly making serious, smart and well-designed watches. Their collection is cleverly in line with the brands core DNA, being geared towards the traveller, with GMT and worldtime complications being heavily favoured. Shock, horror, this is horology.
And while most impressive of their Baselworld 2015 releases was the 280,000 Euro Escale Minute Repeater Worldtime, that made-to-order beast is so far from most peoples fiscal comfort zones it’s more akin to a highly priced work of art Lovely to look at, but never yours to own. Luckily my person pick of the litter (and one of my favourite watches of the whole fair) was the much more accessible Escale Time Zone.
The Escale Time Zone is a (pardon the pun) scaled down version of last years critically acclaimed Worldtime. It’s smaller, at a nicely unisex 39mm, and a heck of a lot cheaper at 5300 Euro. Sure, there are some other concessions too – notably the dial is transfer printed rather than hand-painted, but having said that, the colours have the appearance of being hand applied, in that it is a textured rather than flat-printed dial. It is powered by a movement made in LV’s own La Fabrique du Temps facility. It’s a bit of a pity the movement isn’t on display, but perhaps LV have saved on costs by paring back on the finishing techniques. The official line here is: “We didn’t want to take any attention away from the dial, which is the hero of this piece.” Fair play.
Thankfully the dial has enough going on to more than make up for this, and as they say, it’s really the hero of the watch. It’s a traditional worldtime layout where you set hometime at 12 and can instantly see the time anywhere in the world, but thanks to the bright design it looks nothing like other worldtimers. One criticism of the LV Worldtime was that the larger case size combined with the bold dial came off a touch overwrought, but on this smaller and slimmer (8.4mm) watch it works just fine.
I think Louis Vuitton are onto a winner with this bold design, and while it might put some of the horological traditionalists noses out of joint it doesn’t make it any less of a legitimate watch than any other worldtimer on the market – and it’s a good deal cheaper than many too.
Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone price
The LV Escale Time Zone has a european retail of 5300 euro.
|Model:||Escale Time Zone|
|Dial:||Discs with transfers produced by hand by a craftsman from the La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton Manufacture, central hour disc in circular satin-brushed anodised aluminium|
|Strap:||Grey stitched alligator lined with yellow calfskin|
|Movement:||Calibre LV87: self-winding La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton movement|
|Functions:||24 non-synchronised time zones|