The Louis Vuitton Tambour book is like an in-depth biography of the brand’s favourite model

The Louis Vuitton Tambour book is like an in-depth biography of the brand’s favourite model

Luke Benedictus

You’re probably familiar with the concept of “dog years”.  This is the idea that dogs age at approximately seven times the rate of humans and so we should consider their relative ages in this way. Whereas a seven-year-boy might still be fascinated by cartoons, whoopee cushions and nerf guns, a dog that is seven (in human terms) is probably long overdue his first mid-life crisis.

Personally, I think we should introduce a similar idea of “watch years” for horological brands in which time passes five times more slowly than the human rate. That’s because watch brands age at a glacial pace.  In most industries, a 30-year-old brand would be considered fairly well-established. But in a world where Blancpain (1735), Vacheron Constantin (1755) and Breguet (1775) have been perfecting their art for generations, most watch brands have to pay serious dues before they are given the respect they deserve.

All of which make Louis Vuitton’s achievement all the more impressive. While the brand made a small travel clock in 1910,  the fashion mega-brand has only really been making watches since 1988. Yet despite this relatively brief time span (in watch years), LV has managed to win approval as a top-tier watchmaker since acquiring Le Fabrique Du Temps (aka “the time factory”), their dedicated watch manufacture.

Since then, several of Louis Vuitton’s watches have earned the Geneva Seal, a rarified standard of Swiss watchmaking reserved for the best of the best (think Cartier and Vacheron among others). Meanwhile the brand has demonstrated it’s horological chops with head-turning pieces like the Tambour Spin Time, the Spin Time Air Quantum, and the artisanal-focused Tambour Carpe Diem.

Amid all this, Louis Vuitton’s single most well-known watch design is surely the Tambour with its distinctive drum-shaped case that has arguably become the brand’s most established watch. Now to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the range, they’ve published a beautiful hardback book that is simply called, Louis Vuitton Tambour.

Essentially, this glossy tome is the biography of the Tambour watches. Created with the goal of making a stylish watch design that didn’t succumb to ephemeral trends, Louis Vuitton brought together a host of craftspeople and elite watchmakers. The result was the Tambour – its name the French word for “drum”, given that the sides of the round case are sloped like a cross-section of an African djembe.

This book plays out a fascinating rhythm on the creative origins of the Tambour design and the history of Louis Vuitton watches, along with the precision work of La Fabrique du Temps. Written by French watch expert Fabienne Reybaud, it features a catalogue of major models and insights from watch specialists that will make it a valuable resource for collectors and connoisseurs.

Plus, as this is Louis Vuitton we’re talking about, it’s obviously a beautiful object in its own right that’s enlivened with more than 350 illustrations and stunning macro photography. In short, it’s worth making time for, whether that’s in watch years, dog years or whatever temporal unit you choose.

Order your copy right here for A$245