Although the French Maison has been around since 1854, Louis Vuitton introduced their very first timepiece, the Tambour, in 2002. We are now exactly 20 years later and that has made the Maison decide to celebrate with a renewed version of that model, the Tambour Twenty.
The production of the first Tambour coincided with the opening of the Louis Vuitton workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the watchmaking region of Switzerland, home to Girard-Perregaux, Longines, Tag Heuer, Tissot and now Gucci, which shows that the luxury brand takes its watchmaking ambitions very seriously.
In 2011, Tambour and the rest of Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking concern were expanded with the acquisition of the La Fabrique du Temps facility in Geneva, a watch factory founded by master watchmakers Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini.
Various versions of the Tambour have been released in the last 20 years. The signature Tambour – with drum-shaped case and applied lugs – made its debut in 2002 and has evolved over the years, to be joined in 2009 by the innovative Tambour Spin Time, in 2014 oversized Tambour Evolution, the sleek, tourbillon-equipped Tambour Slim in 2016, Tambour Moon in 2017 and the haute Horlogerie Tambour Curve in 2020.
Two versions of the Tambour were honored by the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) in 2021, with the unique piece the Tambour Carpe Diem receiving the ‘Audacity Prize’ and the Tambour Street Diver the ‘Diver’s Watch Prize’. The Tambour was also the model chosen for the French Maison’s first smartwatch, the travel-focused Tambour Horizon, which is now in its third generation.
To celebrate those years of watchmaking expertise, the French Maison has added a new edition. Offered in a limited edition of 200 pieces, the timepiece pays tribute to the original Tambour by re-using the signature codes that made it an icon of watch design. Louis Vuitton stays close to the original design.
The case of the Louis Vuitton Tambour Twenty is made of stainless steel and has a diameter of 41.5 mm with a thickness of 13.2 mm. The round side of the case is engraved with ‘Louis Vuitton’ – with each of the twelve letters placed next to one of the hour markers. An octagonal winding crown is signed with an LV logo and flanked by two rectangular pushers that provide access to the model’s chronograph functions.
Watch enthusiasts will recognise all the features that made the Tambour’s design so unique. While this limited edition is a true concentrate of everything that made this watch stand out, it also boasts brand new features that will set it apart for collectors. To me, as well as celebrating our anniversary, this watch also paves the way for many future decades of fine watchmaking, staying true to Louis Vuitton’s values of creativity, craftsmanship and excellence.
Jean Arnault, marketing and development director for Louis Vuitton watches
Sapphire crystal is placed on top to protect the brown brushed dial. The watch’s central chronograph seconds hand, 30-minute and 12-hour counters are all finished in contrasting yellow. When you turn the watch over, you will see a large sapphire window in the stainless steel case that offers a view of the internal movement. The Tambour Twenty uses the high-beat LV277 automatic movement – a highly modified version of Zenith’s El Primero movement – which features a monogrammed 22K gold winding rotor and 50-hour power reserve.
The Tambour Twenty is water resistant to 100m. The question, do you want to go diving with such a watch, and… do you want to put this on the handmade croco strap? The question is up to you…
With the anniversary model, they remain “true to Louis Vuitton’s values of creativity, craftsmanship and excellence” and offer it for $17,800 in a limited and numbered edition of 200 pieces. The timepiece comes in a handmade miniature LV trunk in the iconic Monogram canvas.
For more information, come into the beautiful world of Louis Vuitton.