Introducing The Louis Vuitton New Tambour Watches

Louis Vuitton's revised Tambour shows their level of commitment to taking functional watchmaking seriously.


Louis Vuitton has been making lots of noises recently about how they are working to become a more serious watchmaker. It’s a game plan that makes sense, Bulgari has had tremendous success with its horologically-focused watches, and names like Gucci and Ralph Lauren are also making strides in the watch world. For Louis Vuitton, the key to success was establishing their own in-house watchmaking division which would design and build movements exclusively for Louis Vuitton watches. 

The newly revised Tambour is the product of the work by La Fabriques du Temps Louis Vuitton, and the result is exceptional. With a beautiful round case of 40mm x 8.3mm, the Tambour (which is French for drum) looks good, very good in fact. Louis Vuitton’s press kit talks a lot about Parisian design meeting Swiss craftsmanship, and you can easily tell that this has been designed by a fashion house rather than an out-and-out watchmaker. It’s also easy to see that this watch is designed to be worn by either men or women, like many of the watches these days, you just pick the style that works for you. Water resistance is set at 50m, which is enough for daily wear in nearly all situations.

In terms of style, there are five models coming out to start with. There are two models in stainless steel with either a grey or blue dial, a two-tone steel and gold model and also a model in 18k rose gold and one 18k yellow gold. Some of my favourite features about all of these watches is the amount of texture on the dials, there are loads of different elements all playing together here. I also love the little embossed Louis Vuitton name around the bezel, and the integrated bracelet looks very smooth and comfortable. It’s funny, the outline of the watch reminds me of HYT watches, but less mechanically mad and more everyday usable.

Speaking of usability, the calibre inside the new watch has all the mod-cons we’d expect from a debut from a big-budgeted name like this. The calibre LFT023 is the first fully in-house-made movement from La Fabriques du Temps Louis Vuitton which isn’t going into a bonkers limited-edition design. It’s still eclectic, though, it has a solid 22k gold peripherally-wound micro-rotor. This means that the gear connecting to the spring barrel to wind the watch is mounted at the edge of the rotor, rather than the pinion it rotates on, making for a different gear ratio which Louis Vuitton says is more efficient. The beat rate of the movement is 4Hz and it runs for a total of 50-hours. The movement has been tested by the Geneva Chronometric Observatory and is accurate to within -4/+6s per day, which is more accurate than COSC chronometers need to be to get their certificate.

I’d also like to quickly mention the finishing of the movement. Although I don’t currently have any hands-on experience with the new Tambour, the quality of the finishing seems to be remarkable, with graining, engine turning and other types of engraving running amok in a fascinating display of skills.

As expected for a first try at a new and more serious daily watch, the Tambour is quite pricey. Steel models start at €19,500, two-tone ones go for €28,000 and gold models start at €55,000. Maybe soon we’ll see some Louis Vuitton leather straps for these, they’re in a perfect position to do that. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep appreciating what we have been given.