Here we are once more with Louis Vuitton, the fashion mega-corp-turned-watchmaker. Their collection of watches is, well, unique. They have some relatively affordable sporty watches and then some ludicrous pieces like these two Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Sapphire models with little in between. Hey, if it works for them.
Sapphire crystal is an interesting material to make a watch case out of. As one of the hardest materials known to man, it’s tricky to machine, but before machining can happen, it needs to be “grown”. As a combination of aluminium and oxide (Al2O3), synthetic sapphires can be grown in factories and have various uses, from optical equipment to lighting and bullet-resistant glass. Corundum, the mineral basis for sapphire crystal, organises its structures into hexagons which form exceptionally strong bonds, which is why sapphire crystal can be highly durable. The molecules making it up are in very rigid structures.
Surely, that would make these very scratch resistant but likely to shatter into a million pieces at the slightest knock? Not necessarily. As mentioned above, sapphire crystal is sometimes used in various demanding places. An easy and relatable one is the glass plates on checkout scanners in supermarkets. Those are in use constantly and can survive nearly anything (I can attest to this, having spent a long time working in a supermarket). Sapphire crystal is most definitely durable, and the case is water-resistant to 30m.
Back to the watches, a choice of 2 is available, with the 42.5mm case coming in either yellow or green. The dial’s colour-matched Louis Vuitton logo proudly displays the maker’s name. Skeletonised stick hands point to the time with white stick markers on the inner flange ring, and seconds are provided by the flying tourbillon.
The movement is made in-house by Louis Vuitton’s technical department, La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton. It’s been made in Switzerland, where the department is based, as indicated by the Poinçon de Genève (Geneva Seal) marking next to the LV Logo. The Geneva Seal has a geographical requirement which means the watch must be made in Geneva, and the staff who make it must live somewhere within the Geneva canton. See our Jargon Buster article on it for the full details. The movement is manually wound with a 3Hz beat rate and 80-hour power reserve.
Coupled with either a black or dark green alligator leather strap, the two versions of the Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Sapphire are limited to 20 examples in each colour. Price on request.