With a comfortable case and relatively straightforward dial design, most people seeing one of these Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poincon de Geneve Sapphire watches would probably not immediately assume how exclusive or expensive it is. In the pantheon of stealth wealth timepieces, this sapphire-cased version of an already opulent watch plays with prestige and practicality resulting in a watch you probably want to wear but most likely can’t afford.
There are currently three versions of the Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poincon de Geneve Sapphire watch produced by Louis Vuttion at its La Fabrique du Temps watchmaking facility in Switzerland. Fashion-friendly, the collection includes the standard model with a clear sapphire crystal case, the pictured blue sapphire version, as well as a pink-toned sapphire crystal model. Louis Vuitton extols the virtues of sapphire crystal as a case material due to its clear beauty (which can be tinted with various colors) along with its scratch and wear resistance. Like others who produce select watches with sapphire crystal cases, they begin with round pieces of synthetic sapphire which are then carefully machined to shape.
Louis Vuitton claims that the three individual sapphire crystal components on each of these Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poincon de Geneve Sapphire watches (including the case front, case back, and “LV” logo in the dial) require 250, 110, and 60 hours of machining time respectively. The idea is that because sapphire crystal is just a hard material, machining it is both expensive and very time-consuming. That appears to be true across the board, especially when it comes to machining all but the most traditional (and round) sapphire crystal components. Here, Louis Vuitton uses mostly sapphire (along with some metal) to render the popular Tambour Moon-style case that has a convex ring around the side and is attached to Tambour-style lug structures. Louis Vuitton is very proud of the mostly hidden system designed to provide water resistance, which is rated at 30 meters for this piece.
The metal lugs are actually produced from highly polished pieces of 950 platinum for this version of the Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poincon de Geneve Sapphire watch. The clear sapphire model has black PVD-coated titanium lugs, while the pink sapphire version uses 18k rose gold. That makes this blue sapphire version the most exclusive when it comes to use of precious metals in combination with the hard t0 machine sapphire crystal case, here tinted in translucent blue. Size-wise the case is 42.5mm-wide and just 9.9mm-thick. As I keep saying, the Tambour Moon is quite comfortable on the wrist.
More or less half of the value of this timepiece comes from the case. The other half of the value comes from the movement. Being produced in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland this particular Louis Vuitton watch movement is specially certified with the prestigious Poincon de Geneve (Seal of Geneva). This mark requires a watch to be entirely produced within the Canton of Geneva but also requires a strict set of guidelines related to both visual presentation and performance. These latter two criteria are really important, and each movement cased inside of a watch is independently evaluated for visual beauty and real-world performance. Though again, it is still a strict requirement that the watches be produced in the “right” geographic region. In addition to the Seal of Geneva name being in the title of the watch, the Poincon de Geneve motif is engraved on the dial located on the bridge close to where the Louis Vuitton “LV” logo in sapphire crystal is located near 9 o’clock on the face.
The movement is beautiful and very classic both in its design and execution. That means no gimmicks or futuristic technology, just an elegant and skeletonized flying tourbillon-based manually wound movement. Developed and produced at La Fabrique du Temps, this is one of many tourbillon-based Louis Vuitton mechanical watch movements and is known as the caliber LV 97 (movement name is different for each of the Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poincon de Geneve Sapphire watches due to some color changes between each). The movement operates at 3Hz with 80 hours of power reserve and is produced from 169 hand-finished components. Note the skeletonized mainspring barrel which has the “Louis Vuitton” name cut into the skeletonization work. Above the 6 o’clock space on the dial is a flying tourbillon with an interesting and artistic tourbillon case design.
Reading the time is easy thanks to the practical and legible hands which are blue with white tips. Around the periphery of the otherwise open-worked dial is a ring of visible hour markers. It is always a difficult balancing act in many such watch designs to mix visual elegance with practical readability, and I think Louis Vuitton did an impressive job in this instance. The transparent blue sapphire crystal case is lovely on the eyes of fashionable, while the traditional flying tourbillon movement solidly weights this product into the pool of classic fine watchmaking akin to what the Poincon de Geneve was meant to help celebrate.
Attached to the Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poincon de Geneve Blue Sapphire watch case is a blue alligator strap with a matching 950 platinum buckle. While the watch is not part of a limited edition, don’t expect these exclusive models to be produced in high volume. Given the price point, Louis Vuitton also includes its “high watchmaking trunk” presentation box with timepieces like the Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poincon de Geneve Sapphire. The price is also roughly $200,000 more than the non-sapphire crystal version of the Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poincon de Geneve that in gold has a retail price of $229,000 USD. In this blue sapphire crystal case form, the cost is even more elevated, but if you can afford it this is a lovely watch that will go with a variety of fashion styles and lifestyle needs. Just don’t drop it on hard surfaces… Price for the Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poincon de Geneve Blue Sapphire watch is $425,000 USD. Learn more at the Louis Vuitton website here.