A certain vision of luxury watchmaking, but the real mechanics still lie behind it
What you may not know is that in addition to its core collection mostly dominated by Tambour watches, such as the recently launched Tambour Street Diver, LV also has the right to be known as a high-end watch maker, thanks to its integrated structure. Temporary workshop. With it, luxury giants and manufacturers of various high-end goods can produce sophisticated and complex in-house movements, such as the Tambour Spin Time Air and its floating display. Now, LV’s watchmaking division, which recently hired Jean Arnault, the youngest son of LVMH boss Bernard Arnault, is showing off a bold and (literally) luminous watch that might give some idea of where it’s headed. Let’s explore the new Louis Vuitton Tambour Spin Time Air Quantum.
Watches are certainly not Louis Vuitton’s core business. None of them are entry points for brands. However, the brand has long been committed to making traditional luxury watches – primarily the Tambour collection, which will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary – but is also committed to the haute horlogerie sector thanks to its integration with La Fabrique Creating Impressive Expertise du Temps is a renowned movement manufacturer in Geneva, led by the talented Michel Navas, an expert on minute repeaters and complex displays. What makes Vuitton special in this industry is that they look at design in a different light, while the watchmaking department is surprisingly autonomous without too many restrictions. This has led to bold and original creations in the past.
This new take on Tambour is bold, unique, polarizing and certainly not for the traditional collector. Good point, Louis Vuitton replica watches aren’t trying to compete with established brands here, where the battle would have been difficult. Conversely, LV wants to reach new audiences that aren’t necessarily drawn to traditional watches. Like it or not, this can be a smart way to expand the visibility of your department. The fact that the watch is only sold through selected LV outlets is another matter.
Back to today’s topic, this luminous watch. The whole concept of this Quantum version is to elevate (not so) the idea behind the classic Louis Vuitton Tambour Spin Time Air and give it a different splendor… some will tell you it’s a hybrid watch, and that’s in the way , but the entire display is powered by a very clever mechanism produced by Navas and his team in Geneva. The concept of illuminating a watch’s display to make it more standing isn’t new, as we’ve seen this integration with HYT or De Bethune. However, these two use a mechanical generator to power the lighting system, while the Tambour Spin The Time Air Quantum relies on batteries, so the whole experience remains fun and simple, and requires simple battery service when the system is dead (10 activations per day, the brand claims a 3-year battery life). To be on the safe side, the watch itself is still very mechanical.
The Quantum Edition features the classic Tambour case, the brand’s most iconic watch design, made of black DLC-coated titanium with a matte finish. Some polished finishes are used on the perimeter of the crystal or on the lugs to give this minimalist case a more dynamic feel. The 12 letters of Louis Vuitton are engraved on the side of the case. It has a diameter of 42.5mm and a height of 12.3mm, but thanks to the well-integrated strap between the lugs, the Review watch fits comfortably on the wrist. Some elements of the case, such as the use of Super-Luminova around the crystal or a few neon green accents, bring contrast and fun to the look.
In daylight conditions, the watch already stands out with its original time display. Starting in the middle of the dial, you’ll find a central container that houses the tiny movement, with the minutes displayed at the top a bit like a regulator. On its periphery is the really interesting part of the Tambour Spin Time Air, with 12 floating cubes showing the hours. They are attached to the movement by a small arm and rotate on their own axis to indicate the current time. A series of rather complicated Maltese crosses allow them to rotate, so the cube changes faces, from light green to black, so the current time can be easily obtained.
So far, there is no difference between the Quantum and the classic version of the Louis Vuitton Tambour Spin Time Air. New to this version is the addition of a lighting system that illuminates the cube at night. Pressing the crown directs light onto the fused silica cube thanks to 12 LED lights. While this system will certainly be rejected by most mainstream brands due to its hybrid nature, LV is not really limited by these issues and can be fun and bold with different techniques. Like it or not (and rightfully so), but the whole concept is actually pretty cool… Plus, all the neon green elements are covered in SLN, which means that combined with the light system, the whole watch will really look good at night Glow.
Powering the Louis Vuitton Tambour Spin Time Air Quantum is the LV 88 movement, an in-house automatic movement specially developed for this display. The movement’s compact construction and the need to power a complex display account for a rather short power reserve of just 35 hours. Due to the presence of the battery, it is completely enclosed in a central container with an equally closed back.
The Louis Vuitton Tambour Spin Time Air Quantum is a polarizing watch, but also a clever move to differentiate the brand in a market largely dominated by industry heavyweights. The target here may not be the traditional watch collector, and the execution really proves that.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS – LOUIS VUITTON TAMBOUR SPIN TIME AIR QUANTUM
Case: Diameter 42.5mm x H12.3mm – Titanium “Tambour” with black DLC coating – Sapphire crystal with green SLN ring – Sapphire case back with metallized logo – 50m water resistance
Dial: Central minutes and 12 rotating cubes for hours – All elements treated in black with green SLN accents – Black cubes for current hour – Luminous system with 12 LED lights
Movement: Calibre LV 88 (in-house, manufactured by LV La Fabrique du Temps) – Automatic winding – 4Hz frequency – 35-hour power reserve – Central minutes and hours indicated by 12 rotating cubes
Strap: Black rubber strap with neon green accents and black alligator center section