Watch & Jewellery
IF LOOKS COULD KILL: Louis Vuitton's Tambour Carpe Diem
Text by Kee | Photo courtesy of Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton's 'Tambour Carpe Diem' features four automata
The base plate is fashioned as a skull
The snake-shaped slider activates the four automata on the wristwatch
Expressive enamelling is courtesy of Anita Porchet
Expressive enamelling is courtesy of Anita Porchet
The mastery of the movement is courtesy of La Fabrique du Temps

If you’ve been an avid follower of Louis Vuitton’s high-end wristwatches like we are, you’d probably acknowledge that this is the most un-Louis Vuitton wristwatch of all time. And surprisingly – wait for it – that’s a good thing as it shows that the luxury house is still more than capable of dishing out a few surprises. Named Tambour Carpe Diem, the “seize the day” messaging couldn’t be more timely for obvious reasons. But judging by the length of time it takes to master such a high complication wristwatch, this surely wasn’t brainstormed and created from scratch under lockdown (it is said that two years went into developing just the manual-winding movement). That said, there’s a considerable amount of genius by its movement maker La Fabrique du Temps to create a minute repeater wristwatch with a jumping hour, retrograde minute display, a power reserve indicator, and four automata. Now, you’re wondering where all these joy-bringing features are on said wristwatch of which the dial is masterfully rendered like a swashbuckler’s tatt courtesy of Dick Steenman’s engraving and Anita Porchet’s enamelling. (Well, a still photo doesn’t do this high six-figure wristwatch any justice so watch the video below.) Activating the serpent-like pusher on the right side of the pink gold case is the only action you need to remember when showboating this marvel. One push and a scene automatically plays out to display the time: the rattlesnake’s head pivots to unveil the hour on the skull’s forehead, the left eye socket flips from one iconic monogram of the house to another, the jaw opens to unveil the Latin aphorism that is also the name of this wristwatch, and tail of the snake sways to point to the minutes. The functional application of the four automata isn’t lost on us either as it means more than just putting on a visual spectacle for the sake of it. Even the power reserve indicator is shaped like an hourglass (an idea first conceived by Konstantin Chaykin) and works like one too in counting down the 100 hours it can store.

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