It was in 2002 that the iconic house of Louis Vuitton introduced its first Tambour watch. Inspired by the English drum, the Tambour had a round case shape but with thicker case sides that flared out to emulate a drum and integrated highly shaped lugs that almost resemble a handle. While Louis Vuitton had begun creating watches more than a decade earlier, in 1988, the Tambour was a significant collection, as it was the first watch to make its debut since the brand opened its workshops (also in 2002). Now, 20 years later, Louis Vuitton releases the Tambour Twenty watch.
Like the very first Tambour, which housed an automatic GMT movement, the new Tambour Twenty also houses an automatic movement. This one, though, is a chronograph movement. The La Fabrique du Temps LV 277 automatic movement is a high-frequency caliber based on the Zenith El Primero movement, which was the first automatic chronograph in history. Both brands are owned by the LVMH Group. The rotor inside the movement is crafted of 22-karat gold and the watch boasts 50 hours of power reserve. The new watch is also larger than the original one. The 2003 version measured 39.5mm in diameter, while today’s watch is slightly larger at 41.5mm in diameter.
Also, like the first watch, the new piece features a brown-hued sun-brushed dial. Like its first Tambour chronograph released in 2003, the Tambour Twenty boasts a long yellow hand for the central seconds chronograph function and two smaller yellow hands for two of the subsidiary dials. The name Louis Vuitton, which has 12 letters, is engraved on the case sides with one letter opposite each hour marker, just like the original version.
The Tambour Twenty is water resistant to 100 meters and the chronograph times to a tenth of a second. Just 200 pieces will be made, each carrying its production number and each with an engraved case back. It is sold with a small Louis Vuitton trunk made with Monogram canvas. Crafted in stainless steel, the new watch, which retails for $17,800, is a true homage to the original.
Louis Vuitton has regularly elevated the Tambour over the years. In fact, the Tambour was such a hit among Louis Vuitton lovers, and watch lovers in general 20 years ago, that it has become an icon at Louis Vuitton. Over the past two decades, multiple iterations have been made including oversized versions (45mm), Slim versions, a tourbillon, minute repeater and more. In 2020, the brand even introduced the Tambour Curve with a titanium and Carbostratum® case – proving Louis Vuitton is not afraid to travel in new high-tech material directions. Diver versions, one of which won the Grand Prix d’ Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG) in 2021, grace the Tambour line – all as a testament to the versatility of the aesthetic design and the watchmaking prowess that Fabriques du Temps at Louis Vuitton brings to the proverbial table.