Unique in the watchmaking world and highly distinctive, the Louis Vuitton Tambour established a new watch design language by drawing inspiration on its namesake. Inspired by the military snare drum’s unmistakable shape, the Tambour allowed her iconoclastic owners to march to the tempo of their own beat.
Sculpted rather than stamped from a metal monoblock, the rounded case was simultaneously sumptuous yet sturdy, its sensual curvature sloped upwards inviting the viewer’s gaze towards the dial while its caseback, adorned with the original Monogram pattern, was slightly larger than the bezel. In 2013, the watchmaking industry’s most original shape found new voice.
Inverting the “drum”, Louis Vuitton introduced the Tambour Slim series, a pared down but no less luxuriously detailed version of the original Tambour specially for women. Unlike the usual bejewelling of smaller proportioned watches with diamonds, the Louis Vuitton Tambour slim was specifically transformed into exquisite accessories which told the time.
Keeping perfectly in line with the original design, the bezel was now slightly larger than the caseback, allowing for expansive dials with details that were crafted with meticulous attention like engraved mother-of-pearl enhanced with diamond indexes. That’s just in terms of aesthetics, the Louis Vuitton Tambour Slim also possesses a retinue of extraordinary mechanics like its larger brethren including diamond-embellished tourbillon carriages.
Further expressions of the Art of Travel: Tambour Slim Monogram Savane
Since 1854, Louis Vuitton’s namesake founder championed the “Art of Travel” through luggage, bags and other accessories. Reflecting its globalised sensibilities and drawing upon a myriad of trans-national tastes. a separate collection also available in miniature version, the 21mm Tambour Slim Bijou with straps recalling the leather goods designed by the brand’s artistic director of women’s collections Nicolas Ghesquière; but it was a collaboration with brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman inspired by their adventures on the Savannah that really reinforces the maison’s penchant of a life filled with international escapades.
Featuring a raised elephant dial design, 2017’s Tambour Slim Monogram Savane continues with the art of travel, reflecting a natural evolution and journey of a watch collection that debuted in 2002 and has since grown to include models ranging in price and complexity.
While it’s not mechanically complex like the Tambour Spin Time or Tambour Curve Flying Tourbillon, the Tambour Slim Monogram Savane powered by a quartz movement is perhaps emblematic of the brand’s ocean-plying, jetsetting ethos. At the heart of the 39mm steel case we find an impressively sculpted raised elephant designed by the Chapman brothers. The spirit of travel to Africa is clearly what the designer-brothers had in mind when they conceived of its simple yet detailed dial, the accompanying “Monogram Savane Ink” canvas strap further leans into that motif.
Leaning into the world of Louis Vuitton: Tambour Slim Rainbow
Virgil Abloh, Artistic Director of the Louis Vuitton Men’s Collections, is renowned for his streetwear infused incandescent aesthetics. In 2019, the irrepressible designer took us to the streets of New York with a combination of design and street art. The Tambour Slim Rainbow is comprised entirely black case with PVD coating but its crossed blend of colours contrasts brightly against the black colourways of Louis Vuitton Autumn-Winter 2019 collection.
The matt black dial’s geometric motif, a fluorescent rainbow X, echoes the design codes of the leather goods and accessories, setting the tone for the collection. The dial of the Tambour Slim Rainbow watch has been hand-decorated by one of the craftsmen from La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton using the transfer method. The process consists of transferring the painting onto the dial using a silicon‑coated rubber stamp. This operation is carried out by hand, colour by colour, creating a precise result suited to all types of shape and design. It takes 42 layers of paint and the same number of drying hours at 100 degrees to produce the dial.
Abloh’s influence can be felt throughout the entire world of Louis Vuitton and it was most recently exhibited in yet another neon inspired creation: the Tambour Damier Graphite Race.
The Tambour: A Watchmaking form like no other
The Tambour Slim collection features a thin watch signed with the iconic Louis Vuitton Monogram pattern. An elegant and feminine watch, featuring a precious Monogram Star flower set with diamonds – a symbol of good fortune.
The Tambour Slim Nemeth takes its aesthetics and namesake from the work of English designer Christopher Nemeth, weaving his rope motif onto the timepiece’s canvas bracelet alongside the maison’s celebrated Damier print
The Tambour Slim Monogram Eclipse is a sleek re-imagination of the house’s renowned motif by former men’s artistic director Kim Jones.
Launched in 2006, the Tambour Bijou collection wonderfully embodies feminine elegance: refined, delicate and precious. Today, the collection expands to house jewellery-inspired versions with a secret watch: Tambour Bijou Secret. A watch and jewel in one, the Tambour Bijou Secret in white or rose gold offers a poetic interplay of mother-of-pearl Monogram flowers set with diamonds. Gently pivoting the first round Monogram flower reveals the second, just as precious, pointed petal flower. With this collection, Louis Vuitton illustrates its precious technical expertise, subtly blending gold, mother of pearl and diamonds.