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Louis Vuitton’s new Tambour exudes sporty elegance worthy of a drum roll

Equipped with a new proprietary movement and an integrated bracelet, this sleek edition of Tambour marks a new direction for the Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking universe.

Louis Vuitton’s new Tambour exudes sporty elegance worthy of a drum roll

The new and improved Tambour has a more streamlined silhouette. (Photo: Louis Vuitton)

Since its launch in 2002, Louis Vuitton’s Tambour timepiece has forged its own path, promising overt wrist presence with its architectural volume and logo-emblazoned details. This year, however, marks a significant evolutionary step for the emblematic watch collection: The launch of two new steel Tambours has set a new direction for the brand’s watchmaking arm under the stewardship of Jean Arnault, Louis Vuitton’s 24-year-old director of watch marketing and development. 

Sleek and understated, the 40mm unisex watches fill a gap in Louis Vuitton’s timekeeping lineup by offering people a mechanical sports-luxe timepiece for everyday life. There are no automatons, spinning mechanisms or pops of colour here. Just beautifully executed watches with pared-down looks and faultless finishes that see brushed, polished and sandblasted surfaces coming together impeccably.

The Tambour with steel blue face. (Photo: Louis Vuitton)

The drum-shaped watch case is, of course, still present (it is, after all, the feature from which the collection gets its name). So are the 12 letters that spell Louis Vuitton on its curved case side (though in a subtler, more sophisticated manner). But where, in the past, each Tambour seemed to proclaim itself a watch for fashionable people, here, it’s a convincing horology message that comes through: This is a Louis Vuitton product fashioned for people who are serious about their watches.

Consequently, the new Tambours are ones that any timepiece aficionado can get behind. And this is as it should be: Arnault has said that this latest edition is the only one the brand will invest in moving forward. The rest of the brand’s models are slated for discontinuation, except for the Street Diver, Connected watches and high-end complications.

At just 8.3mm thick, the new Tambour timepiece is 4.5mm thinner than the brand’s existing 44mm Street Diver Chronograph Automatics. (Photo: Louis Vuitton)

So what exactly can one expect from this new and improved Tambour? A more streamlined silhouette, for one. An integrated bracelet provides a good fit on even smaller wrists, thanks to the absence of lugs. The tapered links, convex on the surface and convex on the underside, promise fluidity and optimal comfort to “rival the softest leather strap”, so says the brand. Then, there’s the Tambour’s newly acquired slimness: At just 8.3mm thick, this timepiece is 4.5mm thinner than the brand’s existing 44mm Street Diver Chronograph Automatics and, more impressively, it’s 0.4mm thinner than the 33mm Slim Monogram Dentelle quartz watch still featured on the brand’s website (for now).Turn the watch around and you’ll spy, through its arched sapphire caseback, the other winning element that sets this Tambour apart: The LFT023, the first proprietary automatic three-hand movement designed by Louis Vuitton’s La Fabrique du Temps Manufacture in conjunction with movement specialists Le Cercle des Horlogers.

Offering 50 hours of power reserve, and chronometer-certified by the Geneva Chronometric Observatory for an accuracy of -4s and +6s per day, the time-only movement embodies the Maison’s visual codes right down to its 31 transparent jewels (in place of a movement’s conventional rubies for pure aesthetic reasons). The high-inertia 22k gold micro-rotor is decorated with a stylised LV motif in repeat, and the barrel cover is openworked with a pattern that recalls the brand’s beloved Monogram Flower. This watch is a masterclass in Louis Vuitton — both inside and out, and not least in its meticulously crafted multi-levelled dial, completed with Super-Luminova-filled numerals and hands.

For now, two editions kick off this new chapter: A minimalist tone-on-tone model with a silver-grey dial and a more sportive number with a deep blue face. But with big plans already in the works for the collection, it’s perhaps time to beat the drums for the new Tambour in town.

Source: CNA/bt