INTRODUCING: Louis Vuitton Voyager Skeleton
The Maison’s first automatic time-only skeleton watch is a head-turner.
Better known for its iconic steamer trunks and monogram handbags, Louis Vuitton has also been putting out some rather impressive timepieces of late that frankly deserve more of our adulation. The Maison’s haute horlogerie ambitions arguably started with the debut of the Tambour in 2002 and are bolstered by the acquisition of La Fabrique du Temps, a high watchmaking workshop, in 2011. Since then, its high watchmaking offering has been enriched by stupendous examples such as the GPHG-winning Tambour Carpe Diem, Voyager Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon, and Tambour Curve Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève. If you’re a fan of the latter, which boasts a futuristic, technical aesthetic, Louis Vuitton’s latest – the Voyager Skeleton – should be right up your alley.
Featuring an open-worked dial with clean geometric lines like the Tambour Curve Flying Tourbillon, the Voyager Skeleton is constructed to embody the design principles of the brand. In particular, its new LV60 skeleton movement evokes the dynamic architecture of some of the brand’s flagship stores as well as the billowing glass structure of the Fondation Louis Vuitton designed by Frank Gehry. And kudos to the Maison for eschewing conspicuous branding on the watch, but one can easily spot signs of its pedigree if one knows where to look. For instance, the movement sports LV-shaped bridges, a barrel ratchet with a “Louis Vuitton” cut-out, and a tungsten micro-rotor bearing the LV monogram.
Billed as the brand’s first self-winding time-only skeleton calibre, the LV60 may seem less remarkable next to its more complex predecessors. However, conceptualising and executing a skeleton movement is a process riddled with challenges that many consider it a complication in its own right. Here, La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton did most of the heavy lifting with the design and development while roping in the Neuchâtel-based workshop Le Cercle des Horlogers to collaborate on the manufacturing of the calibre. Beating at 28,800vph, the movement has a power reserve of 48 hours, with an open barrel showing the mainspring’s state of wind. A deep blue minutes ring frames the rhodium-plated components, and a pair of hands echo the same hue, open-worked to show off as much of the movement as possible.
Housing this technical work of art is the Voyager case, which is exclusive to the brand’s haute horlogerie creations. First launched in 2016, its distinctive silhouette is already instantly recognisable among keen watch collectors, with a monocoque construction that combines sweeping curves and contrasting finishes. The fact that the case is crafted from 950 platinum, not the easiest precious metal to work with, is a testament to the skills of Louis Vuitton’s artisans, who seem to make light work of alternating mirror-polished and matte, brushed finishings.
Limited to 150 pieces, the Voyager Skeleton is paired with an alligator leather strap and a taurillon leather strap, both in navy blue. It sits nicely on most wrists at 41mm, and its 9mm thickness means it will slip easily under a shirt cuff, though we can’t imagine anyone doing that with a stunner like this.
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