Watches and Wonders 2021: Louis Vuitton Watch division launches a new watch encouraging people to make the most of every passing day.
With this striking, vanitas-inspired timepiece, Louis Vuitton has returned the jacquemart to its original functionality: with the push of a button, the automata reveal the time through a clever interplay of the dial’s miniature skull and snake while emitting Horace’s famous words “Carpe Diem”. Rich in symbolism, the Tambour Carpe Diem has multiple, highly sophisticated complications such as a jumping hour and retrograde minute, with enamel elements by Anita Porchet and engraving by Dick Steenman.
On the Louis Vuitton Tambour Carpe Diem, the time can be read on demand.
To reveal it, simply push the reptile-shaped push-piece on the right of the case. The central snake’s head lifts up to reveal the hour aperture positioned on the forehead of the skull, while the rattlesnake tail oscillates towards the minutes, placed below the power reserve hourglass.
Having produced several special orders for watches with automata in secret for a select group of clients,Louis Vuitton decided to lift the veil on the mystery by creating a one of a kind model. It took two years of development for the Tambour Carpe Diem to join the House’s watch collections.
“Our aim was to get off the beaten track”, explains Michel Navas, Master Watchmaker at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton. “We wanted to bring to the jacquemart our vision of the 21st century with all the energy and creativity characteristic of our brand since it began producing watches in 2002.”
Originally, jacquemarts were automata created to strike the hours on church bell towers. When watchmakers
miniaturised them on timepieces, their function became essentially decorative – to add a bit of fun to the dial – and the time continued to be indicated by classic hands.
Not content simply to allow the model to mark the passing of time, Louis Vuitton has provided additional watch
complications. The Tambour Carpe Diem has four of these. A jumping hour a retrograde minute, a power reserve display and the mechanism of the automata of which there are also four. “The prowess was to create a mechanical movement that is quite powerful to integrate and smoothly operate all these functions that had never been brought together before”, explains Michel Navas.
While Monogram Flowers appear in lieu of an eye, the skull’s jaw emits a mocking laugh from which emerge the words “Carpe Diem” – “Seize the day”, in the words of the poet Horace, encouraging people to make the most of every passing day. This amazing spectacle, which lasts for 16 seconds, is all the more remarkable as the reptile and skull move in such a bafflingly harmonious way.
Entirely developed and assembled at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, this calibre LV 525 demonstrates
true high-watchmaking prowess and is currently the subject of several patent applications. Another unique feature of the Tambour Carpe Diem is the design of its movement. Visible on the back of the timepiece, the calibre has been assembled in the shape of a skull, echoing the Vanitas on the dial.