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Tambour Moon Tourbillon Volant: Louis Vuitton Launches Further Sapphire Models With Geneva Seal

Tambour Moon Tourbillon Volant: Louis Vuitton Launches Further Sapphire Models With Geneva Seal


The Geneva Seal: the most coveted certification in the Swiss watch industry. A symbol of authenticity and prestige, the few watches in the world that bear the Geneva Seal (or Poinçon de Genève in French) display remarkable levels of finishing and traditionally crafted decorations, from Côtes de Genève (Genevan stripes) to spiral ‘snailing’.

Credit ©  Ulysse Frechelin

What is yet rarer, however, are sapphire crystal watches bearing the Geneva Seal. Alongside Chopard and its L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire, Louis Vuitton’s La Fabrique du Temps is the only luxury Swiss watch manufacture to achieve this feat. Originally appearing in a clear, blue, or pink-toned sapphire crystal case, the latest two iterations of the Tambour Moon Tourbillon Volant come in contemporary green and yellow synthetic sapphire cases.

The case

Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking department craft the fluorescent green or yellow cases from synthetic sapphire. One can create mineral sapphire by heating aluminium oxide to around 2000° Celsius. In the watchmaking industry, the material’s primary use is to protect a timepiece’s dial. However, its scratch-resistance, hardness, and resistance also prove worthy qualities for a watch case. Sapphire crystal has excellent abrasion resistance and excellent thermal shock properties, making it an ideal material for a product, such as a luxury watch, designed to last for a long time.

Credit © Régis Golay

A deceptively simple design

Creating each fluorescent model in the exact same exact colour, however, is no easy feat. For the case middle, caseback, and bridge bearing the LV logo, a cylinder of the material was extracted from a huge block of mass-tinted sapphire from Japan. Each component is taken from this sapphire crystal bar using diamond tools – the only material hard enough to cut through it.

Credit ©  Ulysse Frechelin

Helping it on its way to earning the Geneva Seal, Louis Vuitton then polish all of the components, thus improving the transparency of the watch. In total, each case demands no less than 420 hours’ work; this includes 100 hours of milling and 150 hours of polishing for the case middle, bezel, and glass. Meanwhile, the caseback requires 110 hours to become fully transparent. Finally, the transparent bridge with Louis Vuitton’s logo takes 20 hours to cut, plus 40 hours to finish by hand. Only then can the light pass through it impeccably.

Credit © Régis Golay

Logo aside, the Tambour Moon Tourbillon Volant also integrates other hallmark features from its iconic drum-shaped Tambour collection. As always, the maison’s watchmakers engrave the words ‘LOUIS VUITTON’ onto the middle case. The Tambour-style lugs, meanwhile, come in black PVD-treated titanium.

Credit © Régis Golay

Finally, the facts and figures: the watch has an unobtrusive case size of 42 mm and height of 9.9 mm, fitting nicely to the average male wrist while still staying sizeable enough for its design to be fully appreciated. Last but not least, the complicated model is water-resistant to 30 m thanks to the integration of an – also transparent – gasket.

Credit © Régis Golay

The dial

While it is actually the eye-catching case that takes centre stage on the Tambour Moon Tourbillon Volant, Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking team execute the airy, well-balanced dial with the utmost care. With unobtrusive white indices placed on the sapphire flange of the bezel, the dial opens up for the movement condensed at its heart, alongside the show-stopping tourbillon at 6 o’clock. Simple skeletonised hour and minute hands display the time.

Credit © Ulysse Frechelin

A Louis Vuitton movement

Powering the Tambour Moon Tourbillon Volant is the subtle LV90, created with absolute diligence and care by La Fabrique du Temps‘s watchmakers. The manual-winding calibre, which the manufacture developed and now assembles in-house, has an 80 hour power reserve and frequency of 3 Hz. As well as providing hours and minutes, it integrates a flying tourbillon that nestles itself inside the Louis Vuitton’s open-worked monogram flower tourbillon cage. Rotating in one minute, it also effectively provides small seconds.

Credit © Régis Golay

Last but not least, the watch proudly displays the all-important Geneva Seal on the central bridge beneath the green or yellow LV bridge, as well as on the caseback. With each component meticulously finished, the design shapes the bridges and plate with a series of matt-black circles. In addition, anti-reflective sapphire crystal protecting the dial and caseback guarantees an optimum view of the movement.

Tambour Moon Tourbillon Volant: Price and strap

Last but not least, the Tambour Moon Tourbillon Volant comes with a black alligator leather strap secures to the wrist via a titanium pin buckle with black sand-blasted PVD treatment. The price of both versions is 400,000 euros; a price that becomes understandable upon realising the phenomenal amount of time that goes into these purist pieces. Only 20 pieces of each respective model are available.

BRAND Louis Vuitton
MODEL Tambour Moon Tourbillon Volant
Q8DB1Y – Yellow
CASE MATERIAL Synthetic sapphire
DIMENSIONS Diameter: 42.5 mm
Height: 9.9 mm
WATER RESISTANCE 30 m (~3 bar)
DIAL Skeletonised, sapphire bridges
STRAP/BRACELET Black alligator with titanium pin buckle
MOVEMENT TYPE Manual winding
FREQUENCY 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
FUNCTIONS Hours, minutes, small seconds via flying tourbillon
PRICE EUR 400,000 – limited to 20 pieces each