First look at Louis Vuitton’s three new watchmaking marvels

Watches

Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking division, La Fabrique du Temps, has never shied away from drama, and this spring’s trio of theatrical releases are pure stagecraft. They include an enameled mask that comes to life on the dial, a tourbillon with a neon sapphire case and a dial with moving flowers and a beating heart.
The Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata

The Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata

Louis Vuitton

The Tambour Opera Automata is a tribute to the Sichuan Opera’s Bian Lian, with a traditional Chinese mask that changes expression on demand.

The complex automaton movement drives a performance that includes five different expressions on a mask that is elaborately enameled by Anita Porchet, Switzerland’s maestro of the art.

Originally, jacquemarts were automata designed to strike the hour on church bells. When watchmakers miniaturised them on watches, they became decorative, animating dials with theatrical scenes.

Time is displayed on the dial by means of a jumping hour on the mask’s forehead and a retrograde minutes scale indicated by a gold dragon’s tail.

Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève

Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève

Louis Vuitton

The Tambour Fiery Heart is decorated with three types of enameling – grand feu, champlevé and cloisonné – in rose, thorn and heart motifs.

At the push of a button on the case side, the heart throbs, flames appear, and the flowers rotate.

The watch has a flying tourbillon escapement, with hours and minutes indicated by thorn-armoured hands on a subdial encircled by inward-facing briars.

The Louis Vuitton Tambour Fiery Heart

The Louis Vuitton Tambour Fiery Heart

Louis Vuitton

The Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata

The Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata

Louis Vuitton

The Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève is crafted from a single block of synthetic sapphire in either fluorescent green or yellow colors.

As the name suggests, each watch is finished to strict Geneva Seal standards, which means every surface of every component is decorated in some way, including the ones only a watchmaker will ever see.

Vuitton says each case required 420 hours of complex operations on digitally controlled machines, working with diamond tools. The openworked movement has a flying tourbillon escapement.

Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon

Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon

Louis Vuitton

This article was first published on forbes.com

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