I guess it is official: Nerds are sexy. At least they are at Louis Vuitton, which, for the Only Watch 2023 charity auction in November, has created this one-of-a-kind Einstein Automata timepiece. Produced by Louis Vuitton’s high-end Geneva-based La Fabrique du Temps manufacture, this unique timepiece showcases the brand’s still novel in-house caliber LV 525 manually wound automata mechanical movement while also demonstrating the customization potential of the brand’s timepieces. This latter commercial point is important, given that Louis Vuitton prides itself on offering its most elite customers a rich personalization experience where just about any type of timepiece (or decoration thereof) is possible. Often, customers aren’t sure how to approach such a creative (and expensive) endeavor. Thus, occasions such as the Only Watch auction (that prefers brands donate entirely original products) are a perfect opportunity for Louis Vuitton to flirt with the imagination of fans.
Albert Einstein is remembered as a genius ponderer. I wonder what type of personalized Louis Vuitton he would have come up with, especially given that Einstein is known for reshaping our perception of time with the application of relativity. At least now the watch industry has a better excuse as to why some mechanisms run faster than others. The Louis Vuitton Automata Einstein is a playful recollection of the famous physicist. It recreates in hand-engraved relief the popular picture of Einstein sticking his tongue out. The rest of the hand-painted dial is meant to suggest math formula chalkboard scribbles and other nods to Einstien’s work, such as Louis Vuitton’s adaptation of his famous E=mc2 formula for energy (used for the power reserve indicator on the dial). When the watch movement is mostly wound, the power reserve indicator says “LV” (for “Louis Vuitton”). When the power reserve is nearly empty, the letters shift to “OW” for “Only Watch.”
The Louis Vuitton Tambour Einstein Automata Only Watch is built on the same Tambour Automata platform as the Louis Vuitton Tambour Automata Opera watch from earlier in 2023. That includes the same movement and 46.8mm-wide (14.4mm-thick, water resistant to 30 meters) case. For the Einstein version, the watch case is in 18k white gold and has elements such as the automata complication lever decorated to look like a portion of Einstein’s hair. Note that Albert Einstien’s likeness is not part of the public domain, and his image is owned by a university. That means that this timepiece is officially licensed to use Albert Einstein on it.
The Louis Vuitton Tambour Automata watch dial does not indicate the time unless a system is activated to display it. Once the automata complication is activated via the lever near 2 o’clock on the case, the dial automations animate while the time is also displayed. That means Einstein’s face appears to change expressions, while an opening on the forehead displays the hour digitally. The atomic nucleus sculpture in white gold turns and uses the minute track on the dial in order to indicate the current minutes. This watch is crazy cool for the right collector. Accordingly, there will be just one of these Einstein Automata watches made.
Included with the timepiece is a custom-made Louis Vuitton trunk watch case that has a few diamonds set into it. Attached to the watch is a black alligator strap. Assuming this watch goes for a lot of money at auction, it is possible that Louis Vuitton might throw in other goodies, given that LVMH is among the most serious company groups when it comes to using Only Watch as an interesting marketing vehicle. Multiple unique watches for Only Watch are being produced at Louis Vuitton’s La Fabrique du Temps facility in 2023, making it among the more important manufactures to pay attention to this year. Learn more at the Louis Vuitton website.