Few people can resist the lure of a product that is uniquely theirs, and who better than a company fluent in the crafting of leather, the esoteric language of fashion, and the intricacies of mechanical fine watchmaking to answer the siren song of personalisation? Surfing the wave of this subtle luxury, Louis Vuitton is behind an exciting new offering that will strike a chord with those who lust after the latest trends but shiver at the thought of being tied down. Its secret weapon? The new Tambour Moon and its plethora of interchangeable straps which the brand has revealed for the fifteenth anniversary of the collection.
A red alligator strap for morning, Monogram in the afternoon, rubber for the after-work workout, and subtle black alligator to take us into evening. With a current palette of 40 colours for men and 40 colours for women, with more shades and materials to come, culminating in some one hundred possibilities, we can now change our watch strap as often as we change our shirt (designed by Nicolas Ghesquières or Kim Jones, needless to say). No tools, no juggling a packed diary to fit in a trip to the watchmaker – where, when, what time, how much? Switching styles is as simple as clicking an invisible mechanism, albeit one that has two patents and is an injection of metal, rubber and plastic. All at no extra cost compared to a classic strap.
The right profile
Granted, Louis Vuitton isn’t breaking new ground with its offer of interchangeable straps. Bulgari’s Serpenti with its 312 variations was already a standout. Not forgetting Vacheron Constantin and its travel-inclined Overseas, along with Hublot, Boucheron or Hermès to a lesser degree. Still, there can be no denying that the Parisian firm has pulled out all the stops, as much in terms of colours and materials as for what is certainly one of the best quick-release systems to date, and which adapts perfectly to every watch in the Tambour collection no matter when it was launched. It’s certainly a fitting celebration for the 15th anniversary of this brazen best-seller that thrust Louis Vuitton onto the watchmaking stage in 2002 and now accounts for over half of the brand’s watch sales. But as Hamdi Chatti, Louis Vuitton Montres CEO, recalls, celebrating a best-selling style is one thing, how to do it is another. “We sat down and thought about it, and the obvious answer was to expand the range,” he says with a smile. This new arrival goes by the name of Tambour Moon, not in reference to any astronomical complication but a nod to the inward curve of the case, similar to a crescent moon, whereas the earlier Tambour sports a convex case with upwardly sloping sides (hence its name, French for “drum”). “We’ve kept all the features of the original Tambour. The only difference is the slimmer silhouette,” notes Hamdi Chatti. There is indeed a sense of familiarity, as well as an air of newness to this Tambour Moon, which draws maximum effect from its slimmer profile and the wider dial opening, made possible by the absence of a bezel.
And so the Tambour slips comfortably into its teenage years with this new version of itself; a delightful metamorphosis that combines perfect curves and ideal proportions with contemporary dials and contrasts of light and shade. With six diameters (28mm, 34mm, 36mm, 39mm, 41.5mm and 44mm) plus GMT and chronograph versions, the Tambour Moon offers multiple options: eleven in total, for men as well as for slimmer wrists, including gem-set interpretations. The brand’s female fans will appreciate the Moon Star for its dainty 28mm diameter surrounding a dial with two central hands showing hours and minutes, with a metallic pink gold Monogram flower rotating once in 60 seconds for the small seconds indication at 6 o’clock. The 35mm and 39.5mm renditions are equipped with a chronograph mechanism.
For men, the Tambour Moon GMT is travel-ready in satin-finish steel or in two-tone satin-finish steel and pink gold, with an automatic movement inside the 41.5mm case. The 44mm chronograph provides a sportier option, while collectors and admirers of high complications will be drawn to the Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon “Poinçon de Genève” and its spectacular mechanics.
As an ultimate mark of luxury, Louis Vuitton will personalise the movement with an engraving on a bridge, and will even engrave the back of the tourbillon with the owner’s name – a just reward for the twelve-month wait this implies before setting this horological grail on the wrist. In the highly desirable world of personalisation, Louis Vuitton takes refinement to the extreme.