Louis Vuitton relaunches its iconic Tambour as a sports watch

Louis Vuitton has ushered in a new era for its watchmaking arm with the relaunch of its Tambour timepiece. Watch director Jean Arnault has debuted five new watch models, two in steel, as well as a yellow gold, rose gold and two-tone iteration

6 July 2023

By Kim Parker

Louis Vuitton’s Tambour has truly come of age. 21 years after the Parisian maker debuted the distinct drum-shaped watch to the world, the latest iteration has arrived with an all-new streamlined physique.

Launched with a glamorous party held beneath the giant clock of the Musee D’Orsay in Paris (once a palatial railway station) and in the presence of celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender, the revamped Tambour heralds an exciting era for Louis Vuitton, which is still riding high after the sensational launch of its new menswear collection under creative director, Pharrell Williams.

Louis Vuitton Tambour
The all new Louis Vuitton Tambour comes in sleek steel iterations, as well as gold

“After twenty years of audacious watchmaking design based on the renowned Tambour shape, and with the same quest for modernity, elegance and functionality that the Maison has been built on for more than 160 years, Louis Vuitton elevates its watch offer with an unprecedented level of sophistication, on each and every element of the new watch,” said Jean Arnault, the house’s watch director, who spearheaded the innovation.

The sleek, higher-end Tambour comes in two steel versions for everyday wear, one with a tonal silver-grey dial and another with an alluring deep blue dial. For dressier occasions, there will be solid yellow and rose gold iterations, as well as a two-tone steel and gold version with a soft grey dial. All the versions now have a fluid, integrated metal bracelet which effortlessly and comfortably shapes itself to the curves of the wrist and an exclusive automatic in-house movement designed by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton Tambour
The all new Louis Vuitton Tambour comes in sleek steel iterations, as well as gold

Despite now being 40mm in diameter, the timepiece feels lighter and fresher thanks to a slimmed-down case, which is now only 8.3mm thick, and lug-less bracelet. A sense of lightness and space has also been added to the Tambour’s dial, courtesy of thoughtful details like slimmer open-worked hands and diamond-polished gold indexes, with the 5-minute markers being recessed to allow for a quicker, at-a-glance read. Brushed finishes give a silken feel to almost every surface, though the polished bracelet chamfers, central links and the crown add a gleaming highlight as the watch moves on the wrist.

Louis Vuitton Tambour
The Tambour’s new in-house movement, LFT023, is the first co-created by Louis Vuitton with specialists Le Circle des Horlogers

Made in Geneva, the Tambour’s novel in-house calibre, named the LFT023, is chronometer-certified and the first proprietary automatic three-handed movement designed by the Louis Vuitton in conjunction with specialists Le Circle des Horlogers. Its micro rotor is crafted with 22k gold, with peripheral gearing that gives 50 hours of power reserve. It is also water-resistant to 50 metres.

Though it feels lighter and easier to wear, there’s a palpably heavy sense of excitement surrounding the all new Tambour, especially from its maker, which has begun phasing out much of its entry-level watch collection in favour of smaller production, more luxurious models. “With this launch, we seek to open a new chapter of the Masion’s watchmaking by creating a watch with strong horological credentials while identifiably Louis Vuitton in style,” said Arnault. Time, of course, will ultimately reveal all.

Like this? Read how Louis Vuitton is reviving Gérald Genta’s legendary watchmaking prowess.

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