Andrew explores two pieces of Louis Vuitton’s horological artBorna Bošnjak
What’s life, without a bit of fun? Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking division certainly sees things this way, and despite their most recent escapades focusing on a suave integrated-bracelet look, they’ve proven their horological mettle with complications. Strolling through their Alpine lodge-like retreat – outfitted with LV-monogrammed skis, no less – our own Andrew McUtchen talks you through two of the brand’s latest, complicated offerings: the insanely complex Tambour Opera Automata and adorable, but still mechanically impressive Tambour Slim Vivienne Jumping Hours.
Ever since Louis Vuitton added Michele Navas-led La Fabrique du Temps to their arsenal, we’ve seen a steady stream of complicated watches released by the brand. Whether that’s in the sporty shapes the likes of the Tambour Curve Flying Tourbillon GMT or the recently announced Einstein Automata, they all share a common trait – the drum-shaped case. The two models we’re looking at today show off this case’s versatility, even without considering it in a much simpler scenario of the new Tambour.
Let’s start with the big guns. The Tambour Opera Automata shares its roots with all of Louis Vuitton’s automaton-equipped pieces, starting with the Carpe Diem. The LV525 calibre was developed by the aforementioned La Fabrique du Temps, actually sharing its base with the Laurent Ferrier Galet Minute Repeater Montre École, but modified to power the five different animations of the mask. When the hand-engraved pusher at 2 o’clock is activated, the golden dragon moves out of the way to reveal the jumping hours, pointing at the minutes with its tail in a retrograde fashion. The mask itself goes through five expressions, including winking, moving its pupil, and placing the chin in three different positions.
Much daintier in size compared to the hulking 46.8mm case of the Opera Automata, the 38mm Tambour Slim Vivienne Jumping Hours revives a signature mascot. Here, it’s in its Casino variant, with the Vivienne character depicted as a casino dealer, on a backdrop of green skarn – a rare mineral. At first glance, the dial appears to be fairly simple – but the double jumping hour function is really neat. When the floating ace of spades minute card reaches 12, one of the apertures switches from a card to the next hour digit, while the other reverses this motion.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata and Slim Vivienne Jumping Hours pricing and availability
The LV Tambour Slim Vivienne Jumping Hours and Tambour Opera Automata are available now. Price: CHF 98,500 (Vivienne Jumping Hours), CHF 455,000 (Opera Automata)
|Model||Tambour Slim Vivienne Jumping Hours
Tambour Opera Automata
|Case Dimensions||38mm (D) x 12.21mm (T) (Vivienne Jumping Hours)
46.8mm (D) x 14.42mm (T) (Opera Automata)
|Case Material||18 yellow, pink or white gold (Vivienne Jumping Hours)
18k pink gold (Opera Automata)
|Water Resistance||50 metres (Vivienne Jumping Hours)
30 metres (Opera Automata)
|Dial||Skarn, aventurine or mother-of-pearl with inlaid diamonds (Vivienne Jumping Hours)
Enamel and miniature painting, hand-engraving (Opera Automata)
|Strap||Colour-matched alligator, 18k gold hardware (Vivienne Jumping Hours)
Black alligator, 18k pink gold folding buckle (Opera Automata)
|Movement||LV180, La Fabrique du Temps-customised ETA 2892, automatic (Vivienne Jumping Hours)
LV525, La Fabrique du Temps, manually wound (Opera Automata)
|Power Reserve||42 hours (Vivienne Jumping Hours)
100 hours (Opera Automata)
|Functions||Double aperture jumping hours, minutes (Vivienne Jumping Hours)
Automaton mechanism featuring five animations, jumping hours, retrograde minute hand, power reserve indicator (Opera Automata)
|Availability||Louis Vuitton boutique exclusive|
|Price||CHF 98,500 (Vivienne Jumping Hours)
CHF 455,000 (Opera Automata)