Tambour’s little and big history

The Frenchman, who is the world’s number one in luxury, was not beaten at all to enter the mechanical wonderland in Switzerland. He chose something different. The story of “Drum” begins in 2002 with the launch of the model of the same name in Tokyo. “The world didn’t need another watch at the beginning of the 21st century,” Louis Vuitton’s then-CEO Michael Burke once told us. We entered this field with faith because time and journey are two sides of the same coin. You need to master the first to consider the second. »

This strange case that is neither convex nor concave, this brown dial and these unique yellow indexes, and this unexpected name, refer both to the first miniature clocks of the 16th century in the West and to the shape of the taiko, traditional Japanese drums in Asia. The famous Louis Vuitton watch was created outside traditional market rules. Despite everything, success was achieved. “The truly original case of the Tambourine caused a very strong reaction,” recalls a good expert in this industry. We either loved him or hated him. Vuitton’s genius is that it has been able to combine this segmented design with real watchmaking content. »

In 2009, Louis Vuitton Tambour signed Spin Time

Far from being just another “fashion watch,” it was destined from its creation to be in the big leagues. Two years after that launch, Louis Vuitton is tackling the Holy Grail of watchmaking, the Tourbillon, by launching a Tambour equipped with Abraham-Louis Breguet’s famous regulating mechanism invented in 1801. Highly sophisticated and customizable, this Tambour, Haute Horology’s classic piece, is dazzling and sexy.

The price of the new version with pink gold and brown dial is 55,000 Euros.


In 2009, Louis Vuitton persisted and followed suit with the Tambour Spin Time, a fun new jumping watch whose mechanism was designed by two talented watchmakers, Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini. The duo is known for the excellence and originality of the complications they develop at their independent company, Fabrique du temps, in Switzerland. However, if it could find its place and target audience in the 21st century world of watchmaking, it still had to be able to nourish it.

Crazy vending machine clocks

In 2011, Louis Vuitton acquired Fabrique du temps and apparently invested more than twenty million Swiss Francs in the establishment of a state-of-the-art watch factory in Meyrin, near Geneva. In just a decade, Navas and Barbasini developed competition watches: minute repeaters that showed the time in their home country, a unique regatta chronograph, a flying tourbillon bearing the Hallmark of Geneva stamp, or some crazy automatic watches like the Tambour Carpe. Diem debuted in 2021, made an impact and was rewarded at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.

The rest after this ad

American actor Bradley Cooper, ambassador of watchmaking, with the model at the Musée d'Orsay.

American actor Bradley Cooper, ambassador of watchmaking, with the model at the Musée d’Orsay.

© Nathaniel Goldberg

In the same year, a second page was opened in the history of watch production when Jean Arnault was appointed head of the department. The youngest son of Bernard Arnault, a great watch lover and expert on mechanical complications, implements a strategy based on the extreme exclusivity of his offer. On the occasion of the launch of the new Tambur last July, the 24-year-old announced that 80% of the collection would be removed.

Two-tone Drum in gold and steel.

Two-tone Drum in gold and steel.


The aim is clear: Jean Arnault wants to “promote the unique know-how of the artisans of the Fabrique du temps in all model categories” by repositioning Louis Vuitton’s men’s collection at the highest level. From what action? Today, aside from fine watchmaking pieces, only the Tambour Street Diver dive watch, the connected watch, and this new creation of metal (steel, gold, gold, and steel) remain.

weight loss treatment

Although Vuitton’s iconic watch has undergone a major makeover for its 21st anniversary, it retains its face and soul. We know the enlarged shape of the Tambour case, but it has been significantly refined, losing 5 millimeters to reach a thickness of 8.3 millimeters and a diameter of 40 mm. The absence of horns and the presence of an integrated bracelet with an invisible buckle strengthens this impression of thinness on the wrist.

Installation of automatic movement.

Installation of automatic movement.


In addition to the small seconds on the dial at 6 o’clock, Louis Vuitton reminds that his company was born in Paris and replaces the famous words “Swiss made” with “Fab”. In Switzerland”, reflecting the name of the Swiss factory. In essence, Fabrique du temps worked with the Cercle des Horlogers to develop this caliber LFT023, the brand’s first three-hand automatic movement. Certified as a chronometer, this Tambour 2023 offers accuracy ranging from only -4 to +6 seconds per day.

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