March 8, 2023
Since its introduction in 2021, the Tambour Street Diver has become one of the cornerstones of Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking lineup thanks to its unique shape and casually focused, colorfully graphic approach to dive watch design. As the collection enters its third year, Louis Vuitton adds a chronograph to the series to the design for the first time, injecting new life and added functionality into the already vibrant line. Available in a pair of familiar colorways, the new Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver Chronograph delivers a solid and impressively balanced new facet to one of the brand’s most distinctive watch series.
At 46mm-wide and 14mm-thick, the stainless steel cases of the Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver Chronograph should wear notably larger than their three-hand counterparts, but smaller than the numbers might suggest thanks to a number of design factors. Chief among these is the unorthodox attached lug structure. These lugs stand out immediately from the main case body in images thanks to their brightly polished finishing, while the darker matte navy blue or matte black PVD coating on the central case should have a visually slimming effect on the wrist. Other Tambour series hallmarks such as the inwardly-sloping “drum” case form and the Louis Vuitton engraving along the side of the narrow fixed bezel return here, along with the series’ refined tapering crown design. Both variants opt for simple polished oval chronograph pushers at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock, drawing attention to the new complication organically without deviating from the clean, softly rounded geometry of the overall design. These new additions do force the Tambour Street Diver line’s hallmark second crown (used for adjusting the internal rotating dive bezel) to the 10:30 position, calling to mind other dual-crown divers like the classic Omega Seamaster Professional in images.
From here, the two Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver Chronograph variants diverge visually. The Skyline Blue model offers the brighter, more upscale look of the pair, with a mirror-polished outer bezel, a rich matte navy blue main case, and 10:30 crown, and a matching navy blue fill for the engraved Louis Vuitton signature around the edge of the bezel. By contrast, the Neon Black model is markedly sportier and more aggressive. Louis Vuitton tops the matte black PVD main case with a bezel in glossy polished black, and gives this subtle contrast a more vibrant punch with an electric yellow fill for the engraved bezel lettering. Both variants offer a smoked sapphire display caseback to highlight their ETA-based automatic chronograph movements, and provide a decent (if underwhelming) 100 meters of water resistance.
Louis Vuitton opts for a light touch when it comes to revising the dial of the Tambour Street Diver Chronograph. Nearly all the design elements are carried over from the original three-hander, and with its two-register layout, the chronograph arguably has a more balanced and cleaner look than its predecessor. Like the three-hand Tambour Street Diver, the Tambour Street Diver Chronograph’s dial is dominated by its broad, gently sloping internal bezel. With a clean, airy scale punctuated by a color block segment for the first 15 minutes, this is a stylish, graphic riff on the classic dive bezel concept and one that introduces a hefty dose of vibrancy to the layout. The brand echoes this generous use of accent color through the arrow-tipped minute hand, the applied diver indices, and the 9 o’clock chronograph minutes subdial. The new central chronograph seconds hand also picks up this accent color, while its open diamond-shaped counterweight gives this element some much-needed visual presence amid the chunkier elements of the overall layout. Louis Vuitton keeps the dial text and markings to a minimum overall, restraining the Tambour Street Diver Chronograph to a light outer minutes scale, a simple printed signature at 12 o’clock, and a single line of “Automatique” text at 6 o’clock (along with the obligatory “Swiss Made” mark embedded in the minutes scale). As with the cases, both variants bring a unique energy to the design through their use of color. The Skyline Blue model adds energy to the refined blend of radially brushed navy blue surfaces and polished hardware with accents in lively sky blue, while the matte black dial surface of the Neon Black model takes a contemporary sporting turn thanks to highlights in bright signal yellow.
Inside the Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver Chronograph beats the ETA 2894-2 modular automatic chronograph movement. Although many competitors offer in-house movements in this price range, the 2894-2 is very much a known quantity in the watch industry, and its simplicity and commonality should make for easy servicing in the future. Likewise, the 2894-2’s finishing is on the simpler side in images, with basic Côtes de Genève across the signed rotor above bridges in uniform perlage. Performance is more or less in line with other applications of this movement, with a somewhat underwhelming 42-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Louis Vuitton finishes both versions of the Tambour Street Diver Chronograph with case-matching rubber straps, featuring an oversized contrasting “Louis Vuitton” signature running down the raised central section of each strap.
With its minimally invasive approach to adding complications and its vibrant, contemporary color palettes, the new Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver Chronograph line maintains the sleek, fashionable charm of its three-hand counterpart while adding useful functionality. The Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver Chronograph is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for both variants of the Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver Chronograph stands at a considerable $11,105 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.