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The new Louis Vuitton Escale goes back to basics

The Louis Vuitton Escale in rose gold case with grained eggshell dial.

Of course, at Louis Vuitton, nothing is really that basic.

Travel is at the heart of Louis Vuitton’s identity. The brand’s earliest incarnation was as a trunk-maker, and elements of travel appear across its many product categories today. Each year, Louis Vuitton presents Escale (loosely translated as ‘stopover’), a capsule of designs dedicated to summer holidays, which includes the Escale line of watches. Past versions of the watch have had complex dials, which may be why Michel Navas is starting afresh with a new Escale model on its 10th anniversary.

On the Louis Vuitton Escale’s 10th anniversary, the brand has given the case and design some minor refinements.
On Louis Vuitton Escale’s 10th anniversary, the brand has given the case and design some minor refinements.

Going back to basics, the Escale comes in a time-only design (no date, purely a three-hander). The watch is powered by the Calibre LFT023 that was introduced in the Voyager Skeleton last year. This chronometer-standard movement is Louis Vuitton’s first automatic movement and offers a 50-hour power reserve. In terms of its case and design, the Escale sees few refinements apart from the use of vertical brushing on the lugs and sides of the case, while the bezel, crown, and alternating areas are mirror polished. The reinforced plates of the lugs that are fixed to the case middle are a little nod to the brand’s trunk-making expertise.

The Louis Vuitton Escale in rose gold case with blue dial and calf leather strap.
The Louis Vuitton Escale in rose gold with blue dial and calf leather strap.

These details are now added to the dial as well, where more elements highlight the savoir-faire of Louis Vuitton. The quarters are fixed with riveted bars that appear to join the two parts of the dial together, and the minute track is decorated with gold beads that mimic the nails used to join the leather exterior of a trunk with the wooden frame. The texture of the dial is a nod to grained calfskin, a material used across its products. The hour indexes and hands are faceted and polished, while the running seconds hand is made of titanium and PVD-coated to attain the same rose gold hue. The seconds hand is curved to follow the domed dial so that time-reading is accurate.

The Louis Vuitton Escale in platinum with a meteorite dial.
The Louis Vuitton Escale in platinum with a meteorite dial.

Two of the models are in rose gold and feature the above dials in either eggshell or marine blue. The latter has a matching grained calf leather strap, and the former has a smooth brown leather strap with yellow contrast stitching. There are two other releases in platinum, one featuring a meteorite dial at the centre. The meteorite material is sourced from Namibia’s Gibeon meteorite, which has an irregular pattern that has a rather Pollock-ish vibe to it. The second is a gem-set model with a jet-black onyx central dial, featuring 161 baguette-cut diamonds on the case sides, bezel, and buckle, as well as a rose-cut diamond on the crown.

A closeup of the gemset case of the Louis Vuitton Escale, with the calibre LFT023 visible through the case back.
A closeup of the gem-set case of the Louis Vuitton Escale, with the Calibre LFT023 visible through the caseback.

The gem-set Escale has a slightly larger case size, at 40.5mm, due to the stones on the sides. The other three Escale watches are 39mm in size and just over 10.3mm with the domed glass. The LFT023 movement, finished with a mix of perlage, grained, and polished finishes, can be viewed through the exhibition case back. If you have been seeking a watch to match your Louis Vuitton luggage on your next trip, this might be just what you need to complete the look.

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.