Oh Louis, how you tease us. Going back and forth between fascinating watch releases and not quite innovating enough for most watch heads to love you. I however have been a fan since the days when Tambour was a fresh name. Now the Tambour is the mainstay model for the brand, that is in need of more goods. In such an economy when brand name rules over brand value, Louis Vuitton could really be taking the Cartier route and upping their game. With the LVMH family of brands to help (such as Tag Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith), it could be a powerhouse high-end fashion watch brand. Until that day comes (or never does) we have to look at these quite rare creations from afar. My close interest with Louis Vuitton started with the Tambour Diver watch, a beautiful piece that really needs to be on more wrists (including my own). Though its high price and utter rarity on the used market hasn’t made it part of my collection yet. Though if I really wanted, I could get it from Louis Vuitton’s website for $4,700 – $5,500 depending on the strap – but I digress!
The Tambour watch case has been seeing new life recently in hard to find watches with unique complications. Louis Vuitton is trying to assert themselves a bit as being a more serious watch maker by doing a bit more than placing an ETA movement in a pretty watch. This clever Spin Time GMT watch is a clever take on telling the time, built on top of a base ETA automatic movement (likely a 2893). The module has 12 cubes and turn around showing an Arabic numeral when it is that cubes “turn” to indicate the hour. Consider it an interesting variation on a jumping hour watch. Now, it get a little bit more complex. Each cube has numbers on the top and bottom. These are AM and PM times, but in 24 hour format. So the cube for 2pm, has a “2” on it, and a “14” on the other side of it when it is PM time. Just grasp for a moment the meaning of all that. To tell the time, you first search for the cube with an exposed number, and then track the minute hand traditionally.
The watch also has an orange GMT hand (which would likely be confused for an hour hand but people who don’t get the watch). I like that it has a GMT hand, but am irritated that the hands doesn’t have a 24 hour scale, just a 12 hour scale? Is that right, or am I utterly missing something? The module that makes all this happen, also provides for a GMT quick set system. There are pushers on the left side of the case that operate to move the GMT hand forward or backward in one hour increments. To up the value proposition of the watch, Louis Vuitton makes the module in-house at their watch maker workshop in La Chaux de Fonds, in Switzerland.
Yes, the watch has a bit of a cheezy “you expect me to take Louis Vuitton watches that serious? – vibe,” but it is still cool. Plus, unless you are a die-hard Louis Vuitton hater, most people would sport one of these. I want to see Louis Vuitton expand a bit outside of the Tambour case, and flex their design muscles a bit.
While the Spin Time GMT watch isn’t a limited edition piece, it will be highly limited in production. You will likely only be able to get them in special Louis Vuitton boutiques in select cities, and they make sure not to produce that many. Price is quite high for a Tambour line watch, though to help justify that, the cases are in gold. The case for the men’s model is 44mm wide in 18k white gold priced at $47,000. The ladies also get a model that is even more expensive and smaller at 39.5mm wide. It is also in 18k white gold, but this time with diamonds – and goes for a whopping $74,500.
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