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Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone 39 Watch Review

Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Louis Vuitton is one of those mainstream luxury brands that also happens to make legitimately decent wristwatches. I have to say this time and time again because there are still people who place Louis Vuitton watches in the same category as other lower-end fashion watches from big luxury names. Louis Vuitton even has some very special high-complication pieces as well as in-house movements and modules produced at their “La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton” department. Today I am reviewing the Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone 39. This watch combines a base Swiss automatic mechanical movement with an in-house world time complication module produced by Louis Vuitton. Quirky, colorful, and pretty, this is the Louis Vuitton version of a dressy time zone ring-base worldtimer that many other brands have a version of.

It is worth mentioning that Louis Vuitton produces the Escale Time Zone in 39mm wide and 41mm wide versions. For now, the 41mm wide version only comes with a blue and white dial (the reference Q2D220 Escale Time Zone Blue 41). Let’s take a close look at the 39mm wide reference Q5D200 (aka Q5D20) Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone. In short, this is a decently affordable, “look at me” dress watch from a well-respected brand that has real horological merit, and can serve the right person as a daily wear.

Some history and background first. Many of Louis Vuitton’s watches are inspired by their luggage and trunk collections of yesterday. These were hand-made products that helped put the French luxury brand on the map. An example of this influence in the product is the lugs. Separate pieces which are attached to the side of the case, these lugs are meant to mimic the look of the metal hardware on the brand’s historic luggage items. Another nod to the world of Louis Vuitton trunks are the colorful “flags,” which are above or below the reference city name on the world time disc. I’m not an expert in vintage Louis Vuitton trunks, but my understanding is that these little flags could be painted on luggage after one had traveled to a city (and seem to be inspired by the world of maritime flags).

Louis Vuitton originally introduced these colorful flag motifs on versions of the Louis Vuitton Spin Time watch as well as the Louis Vuitton World Time. In those more high-end models, these flags were hand-painted in enamel. For a watch like the Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone, the flags are lacquer painted, but you aren’t paying $40,000 and up for the watch. With that said, the quality of the coloring and graphic application is very good.

Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Speaking of the Louis Vuitton World Time, it is the (now discontinued I believe) precursor to the Escale Time Zone 39. aBlogtoWatch went hands-on with the very exclusive, almost $300,000 Louis Vuitton World Time Minute Repeater here. The World Time watch was designed to indicate the time and change the time to any of the major 24 time zones using only discs. Suffice it to say that the Louis Vuitton World Time was an attractive watch, but also not particularly easy to read. With the Escale Time Zone Louis Vuitton not only wanted to produce a less expensive product, but also one that was a bit more legible and useful for daily wear. The good news is that Louis Vuitton succeeded.

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Another quirk of the World Time is that unlike most standard world time watches, you couldn’t read the local time as well as the time in another time zone. Instead, my understanding is that you could cycle through 24 time zones on the dial, but you couldn’t see a reference time. With the Escale (which means “local”) Time Zone, Louis Vuitton remedied that issue with the caliber LV 87 automatic movement. The movement is interesting and fun, but it does have some legibility drawbacks in the name of design. The movement features two rotating discs on the dial, as well as two hands for the hours and minutes. There is no indicator for seconds or a date, which I think a lot of watch lovers aren’t going to have a problem with.

Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The central part of the dial exists over where the hands actually connect, and all you can see is the arrow-style hour hand, and the different-looking minute hand. The different hand shaping does make them easy to tell apart, but they aren’t too large to begin with, and there is arguably a lot going on with the dial to distract you from reading the time. With that said, given that the Escale Time Zone is rather straightforward in its functionality, reading the dial is simple once you know what you are looking for. All operations work from the crown, and that includes winding the movement manually if desired, setting the time, and changing the local time. Changing the local time involves moving the outer reference city ring so that the time zone you are currently in is placed at the top. You then use the rotating 24-hour ring to indicate the time in any of the other major 24 time zones by simply looking at where the reference city name is and then seeing what hour is directly underneath it on the 24-hour disc (which is in black and white in order to indicate day and night).

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Comments

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  • Kuroji

    This watch will be very popular with rich Chinese who are blind.

  • Tigran Khachatryan

    I forgot, is this site about watches, or fashion?

    • Lindsay

      Is it not a watch?

      • Tigran Khachatryan

        No it is garbage, wrapped up in a gold watch case

      • Lash LaRue de Bayou

        Ceci n’est pas une montre

  • Ian john horwood

    Worn by those men batting for the same side, with their lv fashionista bags in tow. The real man in the know who knows about watches will not touch a fashion brand watch with a barge pole, but will buy a proper watch by a true proper watch maker.

    • So a 7K LV is poor value while a 10K IWC with Selitta is good value? Or a 7K Panerai with Unitas? How are traditional watch brands NOT overpriced with massive markups? Regarding fashion brands I quite like the Chanel J12, and some Hermes offerings as well, so the point that masculinity is defined by proper watches would mean that all Apple watch owners are probably “batting for the same side”?

      In fact I would argue that some “fashion” brands like Cartier and Hermes are probably undervalued.

      • Tigran Khachatryan

        In my opinion Cartier is the only fashion watch, that is good value, and some of their models have horological significance, but other fashion brands are garbage.

        • What about Bulgari?

          • Tigran Khachatryan

            Any watch, that has its name carved on the bezel not once, but twice, should be recycled immediately.

        • paul

          Hermes? Pretty sure their slim d’hermes had universal acclaim…. oh wait your narrow view of watches rules that one out

      • Marius

        You are absolutely right, all higher-end watch brands are quite overpriced; in fact, I would describe them as extremely overpriced. Nevertheless, there are two big differences between the brands that you mention and Louis Vuitton.

        Firstly and most importantly, from a horological perspective, brands like IWC, Panerai, Cartier, and the rest, have a very strong brand name as well as a very strong brand prestige, which is the most important aspect for the average buyer. By comparison, LV watches have a very weak brand perception. Granted, LV is producing its Tambour line of watches for many years, but the reality is that for the average punter, LV watches simply don’t exist. The average punter with $7,000 to spend will hardly/if ever consider purchasing an LV watch over a Rolex/Omega/Breitling/Panerai/IWC/Cartier/etc.

        Secondly, the brands that you mention are slowly starting to move towards using exclusively in-house movements. For instance, with very few exceptions, most modern Panerai models use the PAM in-house calibers. The same can be said about Rolex, Omega, JLC, Tudor, and co. As you rightly pointed out, it’s true that IWC still uses Sellita movements in their watches. However, it’s important to point out these calibers are deployed mostly in their entry-level pilot’s and divers, and these watches are priced at around $4,000 – $5,000, so they’re certainly not $10,000. If I’m not mistaken, the most expensive ETA-powered IWC is the Portuguese Chronograph (7750) which costs around $7,000.

        • Appreciate the thoughtful reply. I have no problem wearing (almost) any watch provided that
          1. I like it
          2. I can afford it
          3. It works for me regardless of who else likes it

          In that vein, for companies like LV, HERMES, CARTIER, CHANEL where you can barely find anything below 1K (maybe a scarf at LV or an ashtray at HERMES), comparatively speaking the watches are not “expensive”. That is especially true at HERMES where they have the lowest watch MSRP of all brands above.

          On the other hand, when Omega came out with a $300 plastic braided bracelet or Tag with their suitcases, glasses, phones etc. it felt wrong and overpriced so this works both ways. I think that “fashion” has a very negative image whereas it shouldn’t. Everything is “fashion” because tastes change and people change with the times. Take Zenith for example. If it weren’t for their movements, they would be seen as fashion watches — seeing how much they’ve changed their design in the last 20 years (Defy Xtreme etc.). And yes, JLC is one of their greats but apart from the classic Reverso and classic-inspired divers everything else is “fashion” (compressor Navy Seals etc.) Even the vintage wagon train they are on is overdone.

          If we really want to get technical the only two brands that should “exist” are Rolex (better than money in the bank) and Seiko (best VFM across the board IMO).

          Me, I see nothing wrong with having a plethora of designs from different brands, and if I can afford it an like it, I will wear it.

    • paul

      Pull your head in Ian no need for the snide homophobic remarks. I though this was a watch appreciation site after all.

  • Mikita

    Fashion watch for over $7,000? Being a Chrono24 expert, I know that it touches Moser / Arnold & Son territory; so you must be really in love with the design or looking for a perfect match for your colorful LV bags 🙂

  • IanE

    Chaos on a dial – I wonder if Louis Vuitton employ designers?!

  • Mikita
  • I suppose if you’re the sort to buy their tacky, overpriced luggage, you’d be the same target market to buy their tacky, overpriced watch.

  • Raymond Wilkie
  • Buy and Sold

    Great for old Asian men with a desire to express their wealth and fine taste to young hostesses.

  • SuperStrapper

    Pretty much all the good LV watches are in the tambour line.

  • DanW94

    Color Me Badd would be the perfect brand ambassadors for this one.

    • egznyc

      I am amused and I know he has to finance his ladyboys habit but … what does this have to do with the watch here?

      • Whatever do you mean! There’s not a more apropos watch post to show this!

      • Yan Fin

        He ‘appears to be serious and playful at the same time’. Read the article again!

  • egznyc

    Colorful and quirky, I would consider this … if the last zero were removed.

  • BNABOD

    Nope

  • Yanko

    Ariel, you are very good writer and a wonderful, passionate watch lover. But no one needs description of this bright surgical pain called Louis Vuitton. Thank you.

  • Boris N. Natasha

    if they had just put the LV logo on the front on the circular dial, and, put the mess on the front circular dial, on the back, they would have sold 100,000 units more. design thinking people! who wants the word TIME ZONE on the front of their watch?!? surely, LV gave the focus group the day off for this one………….

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