The expression “luxury sports watch” is often hideously misused and exaggerated. But here the Louis Vuitton Tambour Damier Graphite Race Chronograph leaves you in no doubt. Serious swagger and hyper-fresh pops of green are the order of the day to bring a bright spark of sharp contemporary design into a world of vintage homage.
Well, what can I say, this watch is neither small nor demure, and that’s exactly what we need – not everyone wants a quietly spoken 38mm skindiver, and this is nothing of the sort. The first time I lay my hands on it I’m mostly awestruck by the audacity of Louis Vuitton releasing a 46mm sports watch when every other reference out there seems to be shrinking and hiding quietly under the slimmest cuff. This wants to be strapped on maybe even on the outside of your shirt, Gianni Agnelli style (Google it). In short, it begs to be shown off.
In this rather large case, LV manages to create a very comfortable wearing sports chronograph, as the recognisable Tambour case is a silky smooth pebble of comfort. PVD-treated steel creates comfort on the wrist and a perfectly rounded background while also being flashy as hell through the eye catching use of B.R.I.G.H.T green accents. A green so fresh it must have graduated with top honors from the school of pops. The feeling on the wrist is sublime, as the rubber strap is soft, and temptingly quick-released from the slender, ergonomically downturned lugs maybe to be swapped to an alligator for that cocktail party if necessary. The chances are that you’ll probably want to keep the rubber strap on, as that green relief logo ties in perfectly with the dial and green-encircled large crown.
The face is surely the star here, and there is a lot happening to distract you from pure chronograph functionality. The dial surface with its black and grey check is inspired by the Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite canvas, and echoes the freshness of Virgil Abloh’s magic touch throughout the collections of LV. We do have a user-friendly, accurate chronograph hiding within the barrage of colours and textures, and the softly contoured pushers make it a joy to operate. The dial is eminently readable thanks to large numerals and rectangular indices, blocky baton skeletonized hands giving off a street-tough vibe with the green seconds hand. Those shots of green sure are distracting from the task of timing, but maybe that’s exactly why it appeals to me on more than one level. The difference of it delivers pure refreshment on a strap, and a damn flashy one at that.
Little touches of grassy green delineate the minute track on the angled rehaut, while the entire scene is dominated by the futuristic cut of V in grey and greeen intersecting the rehaut and dial. This distracts, and in a big way, but do you know what? That’s exactly why this design is so strong, and you’ll struggle to tear your gaze away from the dial.
Turn the Louis Vuitton Tambour Damier Graphite Race Chronograph over, if you manage to pull yourself away from the dial, and the smooth grey back has a laser-like green circle presenting a tinted sapphire back, showing you an intricately decorated movement. The automatic movement has a Geneva-striped rotor with a black LV logo and offers a solid 42-hour power reserve. As the sporting intentions are not exactly hidden by the flashes of green, the depth rating is a secure 100m.
Personally, it only took a few minutes with this on my arm to feel refreshed, both by the fact that a sizeable watch can be so comfortable, and the fine detail work and mad fizzes of green that will genuinely improve your mood threefold. And yes, haute horlogerie can be bold, I’d happily wear a T-shirt in the winter to have this flashy wrist-jewel on and feel, well, damn sharp.
Louis Vuitton (PARIS:MC.PA -0.20%) ‘s timepieces often skew minimalist but are occasionally enlivened by bold hues in line with the striking hues seen in collections overseen by men’s artistic director Virgil Abloh. The latest Tambour watch is indicative of this mindset, as the Tambour Damier Graphite Race draws direct influence from Abloh’s splashy apparel designs.
Sporty touches come through on the fluorescent-accented black strap, which can be swapped for a bold tonal green version, contrasting a sense of athleticism against the graphite-hued PVD-coated steel case and smoked grey sapphire glass caseback. Graphite Damier patterns grace the dial alongside more hits of bright green, a nod to Abloh’s head-turning runway presentations. “V” — for “Vuitton” — also appears on the face, further juxtaposing statement styling against the timepiece’s traditional mechanism.