Nothing short of magnificent, enthralling, and somewhat distinctive within the scope of the industry is what can be said about the Louis Vuitton haute horlogerie line, which are developed at La Fabrique du Temps.
The luxury brand recently created three different fantastic timepieces for its haute horlogerie collection, namely; Tambour Opera Automata, Tambour Fiery Heart Automata and Tambour Moon flying Tourbillon.
We will be looking into each of these stunning luxury wristwatches, but in today’s post we will first dive into the dynamism of the Tambour Opera Automata.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata Timepiece
(Photo: MODEL WEARING THE LOUIS VUITTON TAMBOUR OPERA AUTOMATA)
Drawing on the mechanical innovations and world-class craftsmanship of the 2021 Tambour Carpe Diem which was more of an ode to death, based on the sculpture of a skull on the dial – Tambour Opera Automata moves from that narrative and sought inspiration from the Chinese opera.
(Photo: LOUIS VUITTON 2021 TAMBOUR CARPE DIEM)
The Carpe Diem is a highly intricate, engraved piece with an hourglass as a power reserve.
This year’s Louis Vuitton luxury timepiece – “Tambour Opera Automata” is a little less gloomy, as it is inspired by Bian Lian, the conventional theatrical technique of “face-changing” that is most frequently seen in Sichuan Opera where performers appear in brightly colored costumes and masks. Performers switch masks instantly with the swipe of a fan, a hand gesture or a head movement while also dancing to the tune of rapid, dramatic music.
Unlike last year’s design which was a skull, this year’s design is an expressive Bian Lian mask (one of five automations) with a dragon wrapped around it. The jumping hour is shown in the center of the mask’s forehead when the dragon’s head moves, while the dragon’s tail functions as a retrograde minute hand.
(Photo: LOUIS VUITTON 2023 TAMBOUR OPERA AUTOMATA WATCH)
And unlike in Carpe Diem where the power reserve is an hourglass, the Louis Vuitton artisans made the Opera Automata power reserve a bottle or calabash gourd – which in folklore is believed to fend off evil spirits.
And only when the automation via the dragon on the casing is activated will the time be displayed.
Akin to the Carpe Diem, one of the mask’s eyes pays homage to Louis Vuitton’s floral logo, with a four-petal flower in place of four.
The Tambour Opera Automata’s dial is distinguished by an enormous Bian Lian mask, a dragon’s head and tail, a curved glass calabash gourd and finally set with cabochon-cut rubies.
After a spectacle has occurred, the time is depicted by leaping hours and retrograde minutes. All indicators are concealed and at rest when the system is in regular mode.
The cloisonné enamel Bian Lian’s jumping hours are inscribed on its forehead, and when the clasp is pushed, the head of the engraved pink gold dragon rises to expose them while its tail indicates the retrograde minutes.
With five animations and a mesmerizing 16-second show, the entire watch dial is animated and the expression of the mask changes dramatically
(Photo: TAMBOUR OPERA AUTOMATA DIAL)
It squints, covers its left eye with an eyelid, and retracts the pupil of its right eye to display a pointed Monogram flower. The Bian Lian mask can convey a variety of emotions, from happiness to melancholy, just by moving its chin.
Aside from the stunning animation, the dial is also created in red, black and white cloisonné enamel which are set apart with white gold threads.
Louis Vuitton employed the skills of an expert enameller and engraver for the creation of the mask, the rose gold dragon and its tail.
A champlevé enamel process, which entails removing some material from the surface in order to deposit color pigments, was used to create the fan that is located beneath the retrograde minute indication.
The hand-wound caliber LV 525, created and put together by La Fabrique du Temps, drives this extremely complicated series of animations. It has 426 components, beats at 3 Hz, and has an astonishing 100 hours of battery life.
(Photo: LOUIS VUITTON 2023 TAMBOUR OPERA AUTOMATA)
The Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata case is crafted in polished 18k rose gold, measuring 46.8mm in diameter and 14.42mm thick. And the push-piece set comes with 2 rubies where one ruby is used to set the crown.
A remarkable feature about the Opera Automata is the push button of the automaton, it features a dragon’s head, and the winding crown with a champlevé enamel fan.
The watch is secured to the wearer’s wrist by an 18k rose gold double folding buckle on a black alligator strap.
(Photo: LOUIS VUITTON TAMBOUR OPERA AUTOMATA BLACK ALLIGATOR STRAP)
The Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata watch is mechanically amazing and genuinely fascinating. It is audacious, extremely expressive, and yet it stirs feelings without being ostentatious.
Louis Vuitton did outdo himself with this watch, and we can’t but applaud the innovation and skill that went into the making.
Although on the high side in terms of price, it is worth a good buy…so why not get yours now!
Oh! did I forget to say, it’s not a limited edition – which means you can still get yours today.