When Louis Vuitton made its big splash with the redesign of its flagship Tambour line last year and signaled the brand would be pushing upmarket, I worried that meant the brand was going to stop having much fun and doing zany, beautiful things. It turns out, I needn’t have worried. Leaning heavily on LVMH’s Fabrique du Temps, Louis Vuitton Watches hasn’t forgotten the buoyancy that gave its watches life for so long before the more sedate Tambour was released in July of 2023. Proving that it can wow with color, design, and horological prowess, the Paris brand has just introduced the Louis Vuitton Voyager Flying Tourbillon “Poinçon de Genève” Plique-à-jour, an intricate timepiece with a translucent dial that revives a very old enameling technique.

We’ve covered different iterations of the Louis Vuitton Voyager since the Voyager GMT was released back in 2016. Since then, it’s appeared as a minute repeater, gotten bedazzled, and been skeletonized. Louis Vuitton has rightly used the Voyager as a platform. This is the first time it’s received any sort of enamel, and the Plique-à-jour enamel technique chosen by La Fabrique du Temps dates back to the 6th century Byzantine Empire. Plique-à-jour (French for “letting in daylight”) sees the enamel painted into the dial’s V-motif frame, with capillary action spreading the enamel out. Each layer must be fired and five to six layers are required, resulting in a process that takes over 100 hours for each dial. What makes this technique especially challenging is that there is no backing onto which the enamel is applied (as in cloisonné and other enamel techniques). The ultimate effect is a glossy, translucent dial that is, at once, vibrantly colored and allows a glimpse through to the movement. Naturally, subtle inclusions appear to occur in each cell of enamel, creating a unique dial in each example of the Voyager Plique-à-jour.

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The dial itself is straightforward enough. The blue and clear enamel sits in a frame that shows off nested V’s (for Vuitton, of course), with a bright blue circle of enamel at 12 o’clock serving as the time display, with simple lumed hands (I can’t imagine the patience it took to position the collet in the center). At 6 o’clock there’s a large aperture for the flying tourbillon with its “V” cage. As a reminder, a flying tourbillon is a tourbillon that is only supported from either the top or bottom, but not both, giving the impression that it’s flying.

The final element of the dial is the space at 9 o’clock left devoid of enamel to show off the Poinçon de Genève. Also called the Geneva Seal or Hallmark of Geneva, the Poinçon de Genève indicates that a watch has met a set of strict standards that ensures a movement is assembled, adjusted, and cased in Geneva and to the highest standards. The standards include the finishing and accuracy of the movement as well as the finishing and construction of the case. Personally, I don’t agree with leaving a gap in the dial to show off the seal; it could’ve just as easily been put on the back of the same bridge, to say nothing of the fact that if it weren’t so brazenly exhibited through the dial, it might’ve allowed Louis Vuitton to drop the unsightly “Poinçon de Genève” from the already clunky model name.

The case of the Louis Vuitton Voyager Flying Tourbillon Plique-à-jour (see, isn’t that a little better?) is made of platinum 950 and 18k white gold, with sapphire crystals on the front and back. Measuring 41mm in diameter and 11.68mm thick, the watch is likely to wear quite well on the wrist. Most notable is its somewhat hard to describe circle-in-a-square form. When this was introduced in 2016, it was quite unfamiliar, but now we’ve got the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner to make it a bit easier to digest. (Odd that the Moser came out four years after the Voyager, and yet it’s certainly more well-known, at this point.) The case has a striking blend of polishing and brushing, most interestingly creating the illusion of a two-piece case with the brushing that runs around the crystal and off to the sides at 3 and 9. The watch is paired with a navy blue calf strap that doesn’t not appear to lend itself to easy swaps and is equipped with a platinum folding buckle. And while you may expect the bare minimum of 30m of water resistance, the watch gets 50m, which is an improvement over previous models).

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What you may have noticed in the description of the Poinçon de Genève standards is that it doesn’t say anything about the manufacturing of components. While every piece of this watch is finished in Geneva by La Fabrique du Temps, the brand makes no claims that any of it is actually manufactured there (nor any claims to the origin of the parts). What we do know is that the hand-wound LV 104 movement (which appears to have debuted in 2016 in another Voyager model) has 168 hand-finished parts, with a power reserve of 80 hours at 21,600 vph. The slower beat rate allows the one-minute tourbillon’s V to meander a bit as it makes its way around. Maybe we could call it a gliding tourbillon.

It had been all but radio silence since the Tambour drop, and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. This shows that Louis Vuitton is still willing to use its signature V for a bit of in-your-face branding on a fun yet impressively artistic and technical timepiece. Hopefully, we’ll get some even wilder stuff in the near future and we can be fully assured that what made LV watches so exciting is still part of the brand’s DNA. The Louis Vuitton Voyager Flying Tourbillon “Poinçon de Genève” Plique-à-jour is priced at €330,000 EUR. While the brand doesn’t specify any specific limitation, the production time for each piece will certainly put a cap on how many can be offered in a year. For more information, please visit the Louis Vuitton website.

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