If you’re interested in Geneva Seal standard watchmaking, this Louis Vuitton ‘high watch collection’ wants to meet youAndrew McUtchen
Louis Vuitton, the watchmaker. As time goes on, this statement is gaining credibility and intrigue. And intrigue is certainly the word I would use to describe this shoot, which involved the Time+Tide team flying to Queenstown in New Zealand with Louis Vuitton to explore the brand’s high watch collection 2019. The setting was, sparing all cliches, akin to a natural paradise. The experience also included an interview with one of the world’s master watchmakers, Michel Navas.
But back to Louis Vuitton, and their selling proposition. It’s important from the outset to put things in perspective in terms of the rarefied air — much like Queenstown — that Louis Vuitton breathes. Just a handful of brands are authorised to put the Geneva Seal on their watches, and LV sits alongside some of the greatest: Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Louis Vuitton. But perhaps best of all, Louis Vuitton has what you can credibly argue is an iconic watch — the Spin Time, which is a jumping hours complication with a difference. The jump involves a practically instantaneous flip of a cube, giving the function a dash of dynamism and fun. Let me go off script right at the start and say Felix and I think this is genuinely cool – any time we see one in the wild, we get excited.
Voyager Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon
There are five new references in the Voyager Collection, but the star of the show this year is undoubtedly the Voyager Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon which takes Vuitton watchmakers 320 hours to assemble. It is one of the thinnest of its kind on the market at a svelte 9.7mm. What immediately stands out about this highly complicated watch is just how wearable and ready for travel it is, one of the central tenets of Louis Vuitton watchmaking – the 42mm Voyager case shape is smooth and extremely comfortable, though it is heavy here in platinum.
Voyager Automatic Flying Tourbillon
Next up is the Voyager Automatic Flying Tourbillon. With paved diamonds, it turns up the bling and it achieves something quite remarkable with the flying tourbillon, which appears to float above the dial at 6 in a transparent frame. Note also the stamp of the Geneva Seal at 9 o’clock, a constant reminder of the watch’s quality and credibility.
Tambour Moon LV Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève
The Tambour Moon 42.5mm collection is an update on the Tambour — French for ‘drum’ — with a concave instead of convex case shape. This totally changes the way the watch sits on the wrist, reducing its almost conical appearance to something more like an inward curve; a crescent moon perhaps. The Geneva Seal stamped movement — note the seal on the central circle — is heavily skeletonised with the mainspring visible through the openworked barrel at 12 o’clock and the flying tourbillon at 6. The effect created by the overlapping circles manages to be elegant rather than busy — quite a design triumph. The watch also has a quick-change strap mechanism which is extremely user-friendly.
Tambour Moon Mystérieuse Flying Tourbillon
Housed in a 45mm platinum case, the Tambour Moon Mystérieuse Flying Tourbillon is the height of Louis Vuitton’s fine watchmaking – it seems to magically float inside its case with linear movement architecture arranged vertically on sapphire discs. Note the way the winding stem seems disconnected from the movement. The three circles on the dial house the brand’s Monogram Flower at 12 o’clock; the tourbillon carriage with the six o’clock; and a circle with the hour and minute hands in the centre.
Voyager LV Flying Tourbillon Onyx
Lastly, we have a watch that charmed me silly — the Voyager Automatic Flying Tourbillon with a deep, lustrous, glossy black onyx dial. I’m not usually a diamonds guy, but this paved number with generous diamond baton indices manages to stir testosterone when it’s on the wrist. The flying tourbillon here is encircled by diamonds, and offers something of a window into the watch movement’s soul.
Tambour Spin Time Air, South Asia Ltd Edition
To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Spin Time, there are seven new references, including the South Asia Ltd Edn in white gold with a colour scheme loosely derived from the Australian and New Zealand flags. It is a numbered ltd edn of just 10. It has a 42.5mm case, which wears large given the spacious design and thin bezel. Minutes are read from the central hand and an inner chapter ring, and hours are represented by spinning cubes that jut out into an airy void, hence the air in the name. This is some of the most creative and innovative movement architecture we’ve seen this year.
The Escale Spin Time Flying Tourbillon
The Escale Spin Time Flying Tourbillon places the 60-second flying tourbillon inside a V at the centre of the dial, which then functions as a second hand, with a shortened minute hand tracking around the inner chapter ring. The cubes representing the hour represent a 24-hour scale. Quite ingenious!
Made in partnership with Louis Vuitton.