Louis Vuitton’s Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon is an Ode to Travel
The spirit of travel has been integral to Louis Vuitton’s identity since its founding in 1854. The brand’s original raison d’être, after all, was the production of high-quality trunks for travellers. This spirit continues to inform every aspect of Louis Vuitton’s activities, and while it has since grown in both breadth and depth, the ideas of exploration and discovery remain important sources of inspiration for the maison.
Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the brand’s latest headliner: the Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon. The timepiece doesn’t just allude to the spirit of travel with its second time zone complication, but also showcases Louis Vuitton’s ability to push the limits of contemporary watch design with its inimitable aesthetic.
TRAVEL AND BEYOND
Conceived, developed and produced at Louis Vuitton’s La Fabrique du Temps facility in Geneva, the Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon embodies the brand’s atypical approach to watchmaking. The GMT display at three o’clock, for instance, is corrected using pushers on the case’s right flank. Such a system is uncommon, and both a playful nod to the chronograph—which is absent here—as well as a practical feature that makes adjustments a cinch. The complication is, in turn, mirrored by the flying tourbillon at nine o’clock. The symmetry extends beyond their positions on the dial, though. Note the visual parallels of their respective motifs, and the “hourglass” between them.
Of course, the Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon’s sophisticated design language goes beyond just the two major elements that anchor its dial. For a start, the “hourglass” between them is actually part of a larger system of openwork across the entire dial. This pattern can be seen on the crown and pushers too, and the overall effect is an aesthetic reminiscent of architectural design. The indices further accentuate this: each is suspended from the flange, but extends to reach the dial, not unlike the construction joints commonly used to reinforce buildings.
The watch’s design is topped off by the complex curves that define its upper surfaces. Unlike a typical flat or domed watch crystal, the Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon sports a crystal that’s curved on two axes. This creates a contoured surface that’s somewhat like a saddle, with the bezel that rims it evocative of a Möbius strip. Because of this, the timepiece will offer very different views depending on the angle at which it is observed, thus giving it a far greater degree of visual interest.
With its strong design and 46 mm diameter, the Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon is a bold presence on the wrist. There are differences between its three variations though.
The sleekest among them is clad entirely in titanium, with a matching lower dial in the same material sporting a sunray finish. The connoisseur who desires a further touch of luxe—and some accents of colour—will appreciate the reference in titanium and pink gold instead. This version has its crown, pushers, lugs and lower dial rendered in pink gold to add an extra dimension of warmth to the timepiece.
Finally, a third reference with a Gibeon meteorite lower dial is available. Unlike typical executions of meteorite dials, Louis Vuitton has opted for a subtler take here. The crisscrossed Widmanstätten pattern that the Gibeon meteorite is prized for remains on display, of course. However, it sits under the openworked upper dial to form a cohesive whole with the rest of the watch, rather than being the dial’s defining feature. To top things off, the indices in this timepiece are set with baguette-cut diamonds to lend a sparkle that serves as a counterpoint to the textured meteorite.