With production limited to “roughly” 370 units worldwide, Louis Vuitton is leaning on exclusivity to sell this grayscale interpretation of a previous model. The Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone Spacecraft watch takes the existing Escale format and removes almost all of the color from the dial. The previous iteration was one of the most vibrant and exciting watches on the market. Now, we are left with an austere dial framed by a 43mm black steel case.
Around the outside of the dial, 24 time zones are indicated. Denoted by both a 2-4 letter code and a small patterned icon, each city is unique. These shapes are inspired by the patterns early users of Louis Vuitton’s luggage would apply to the outside of their cases and bags to distinguish them as their own. Without the colors, this quaint identifier of a bygone era is glumly suppressed. Additionally, one of the charming things about the previous Escale Time Zone was the artisanal nature of the dial. Having to apply every color individually was a real labor of love that has been lost on this model.
Despite the original’s technicolor dial, it was far more legible; it certainly appeared less busy than this follow-up. The mostly black, white, and gray dial is, actually, a bit confusing. And as for the hands — which were a stubby weak spot to begin with — by not taking extra pains to distinguish them, the designers have made them very easy to lose, indeed.
The case lugs are reminiscent of the protective corner pieces fitted to Louis Vuitton’s iconic trunks. It’s a nice throwback and one that I’ve gone on record as enjoying before. The PVD-coated stainless-steel case is 39mm-wide, just 8.4mm-thick, and water resistant to 50 meters. Most importantly, the caseback features a special SpaceCraft logo. Currently, there are no images of said logo, but I’m assured it will be “out of this world.”
The Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone Spacecraft is powered by the LV87 self-winding climber made by La Fabrique du Temps, Louis Vuitton. The movement has relatively petite measurements, coming in at 34.6mm in diameter, and 5.45mm in height. It is comprised of 101 components, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz), and has a 42-hour power reserve. A 24-hour disc on the dial can be set to align with any of the 24 city codes printed around the edge of the dial. This enables the time to be shown in each of them simultaneously.
Marketing a watch as a “limited” piece but not telling us precisely what it is limited to always makes me feel a bit nervous. Surely, the whole point of limitation is to limit it to a particular number. Desire driven by scarcity loses its edge when there is no definite end to supply.
Furthermore, the asking price of $9,300 is quite steep, especially when one considers it is almost $2,000 more than the old steel model in divine technicolor. That said, I do still like the general design of this watch. I loved the colorful dial, but even in these somber hues, the Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone Spacecraft watch is pretty cool. Visit louis-vuitton.com for more information.