The Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives committee received hundreds of entries from all over the world. La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton launched the competition for the first time this year, to recognise and promote the artistic innovation of independent watchmakers. Twenty semi-finalists have now been selected and announced.
Credit © Louis Vuitton Watch Prize
Creations from all over the world
While the majority of the finalists are from Europe, there are also some creations from China, Israel, Australia and Canada, among others. As Jean Arnault, Louis Vuitton’s Watch Director, aptly describes the semi-finalists: “As a group, they embody everything that watch lovers value most: a unique aesthetic, precision and uncompromisingness.”
The task at hand is to impress some of the greatest luminaries of contemporary watchmaking. No wonder, then, that the committee includes master watchmakers Enrico Barbasini, Michel Navas, Kari Voutilainen, Rexhep Rexhepi, Philippe Dufour, award-winning enamel artist Anita Prochet and industrial designer Marc Newson. In addition, other well-known figures from the watch world such as Hodinkee founder Ben Clymer and Monaco’s ambassador Evelyne Genta are entrusted with the task of nominating a winner.
From a table calendar, to a sculptural clock in the shape of a bee, to a clock with a repetition striking mechanism through which the owner can put himself in the role of a watchmaker, the models and concepts submitted are certainly diverse. Above all, however, there is a large selection of wristwatches.
Credit © Andreas Strehler
For example, the Homage to Harrison One by Berlin watchmaker Felipe Pikullik made it into the semi-finals. The watch is a tribute to the young watchmaker’s idol: the 18th century Briton John Harrison and his H4. This is evident from the chapter ring on the purist-looking matt dial and the decoration on the movement in black rhodium and gold.
Credit © Felipe Pikullik
Meanwhile, Vincent Deprez, who is behind the watch manufacturer Deprez Horloger, also alludes to the watchmaking tradition with the frosted mainplate of the Tourbillon Classique Souscription Édition. This is visible through the openworked dial and provides a noble backdrop for the 60-second tourbillon, which is visible beneath a large polished bridge below the subdial for the hours and minutes. The tourbillon and the cage were made by Deprez using traditional tools, as was the case for most of the timepiece, which is limited to 10 pieces.
Credit © Vincent Deprez
In addition to this timepiece, the Tourbillon Grand Sport by Auffret Paris also focuses on this complicated mechanism. The monochrome model offers a view of the Tourbillon Paris‘ advanced movement from both sides through its openworked dial. In addition, a chapter ring and a torque indicator help with orientation. A grey integrated bracelet visually completes the timepiece made of steel and titanium, of which there are to be only four pieces produced.
Credit © Auffret Paris
Another semi-finalist comes from the house of Petermann Bédat, founded by watchmaker friends Gaël Petermann and Florian Bédat. With their combined expertise gained at Harry Winston and A. Lange & Söhne (amongst others), the two have created the Chronographe Rattrapante. The chronograph with a drag hand is set in a platinum case and features a minute counter that beats at 18,800 beats per hour. Here, too, you can catch a glimpse of the watch’s inner workings through the openworked dial behind the two subdials.
Credit © Petermann Bédat
Visually as well as technically, the Chronomètre Artisans of the Geneva brand Simon Brette, which was only founded in 2021, was also convincing. The watchmaker draws his inspiration from models from the 19th and 20th centuries and proves his talent with this timepiece, which is reminiscent of mechanisms from the heyday of watchmaking with its click and crown with a ‘wolf’s tooth’ gear. In addition, the Chronomètre Artisans is equipped with a winding mechanism with a click system developed in-house. The asymmetrically openworked dial in red gold underscores the technical sophistication of the movement with its hand-decorated surface.
Futurism from Finnland
In addition to models with a classic aesthetic, there are also submissions that aim to impress with their futuristic design. One such piece comes from Finland. Stepan Sarpaneva has created a skeletonised timepiece with a moonphase under his brand name Sarpaneva. This is integrated into the Sarpaneva Moonment calibre and only needs to be readjusted once every 14,000 years. For Sarpaneva, the moon is his most important source of inspiration, and the face of the moon can be spotted as his trademark in many forms on the timepiece.
Credit © Sarpaneva
With this outstanding selection, the 45-member committee will certainly not have an easy task choosing the next five finalists before finally deciding on the winner. It remains to be seen who will emerge victorious at the 2024 awards ceremony and win a scholarship and personal mentoring from La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton for a year.