Louis Vuitton has been steadily growing its presence in the realm of serious watchmaking, an endeavour that began with its purchase of movement specialist La Fabrique de Temps (LFT) a decade ago. While its recent launches have been extravagant in typical Louis Vuitton style – ranging from a gothic automaton to the casino-inspired jump hours – the brand’s latest is contemporary and low key. Enter the Voyager Skeleton, an open-worked timepiece that incorporates Louis Vuitton’s design language in an unexpectedly minimalist design.
While Louis Vuitton’s top-of-the-line complications are certainly showstoppers, its simpler, regular production watches have historically been a mixed bag. But with a clear change in direction at its watch division, changes seem to be afoot, beginning with the Voyager Skeleton.
Granted, it is hardly an affordable watch at over US$50,000, but it is a good looking time-only watch. The highlight is the styling of the open-worked LV60 movement that is both striking and restrained.
The bridges possesses a distinctive, geometric style that is decidedly architectural. Although the automatic-winding bridge clearly forms a large “LV”, the branding is surprisingly discreet. In fact, the face of the watch has no overt branding, save for the open-worked barrel.
Overall, the execution of the movement is appealing and lives up to expectations, save for one detail – the Etachron regulator looks out of place considering the price.
The Voyager Skeleton comes does cost a hefty €48,000. It’s not quite a value proposition, but it is priced similarly to equivalent watches. The Cartier Tank Chinoise Skeleton in platinum, for instance, cost US$74,000. So the big price tag can be rationalised in comparison.
Conceptualised by LFT and executed by Le Cercle des Horlogers (a movement maker that’s a sister company of Speake-Marin), the LV60 is inspired by the architecture of Louis Vuitton’s flagship stores and the open-worked lattice roof of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the museum in Paris designed by American architect Frank Gehry.
Because the calibre was created by Le Cercle des Horlogers, the layout of key parts like the rotor and balance is identical to the movement maker’s other calibres, most notably those found in Speake-Marin watches. But the movement has given its own style with the bridges carefully trimmed to create linear, open forms.
The watch has no dial; instead the open-worked base plate is encircled by a blue minute ring matched with blued hour and minute hands. The bridges are finished with linear graining on the top and chamfering on the edges, a look typical for contemporary skeleton watches.
The Voyager Skeleton shares the case design of the Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève, an ovoid form with a sloping, flat bezel. At 41 mm wide and 9.1 mm high, the Voyager Skeleton has a low profile on the wrist. It’s being launched with the case in platinum, although other metal variations are expected.
Key facts and price
Louis Vuitton Voyager Skeleton
Diameter: 41 mm by 43.7 mm
Height: 9 mm
Water resistance: 50 mm
Features: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 48 hours
Strap: Alligator strap with pin buckle
Limited edition: 150 pieces
Availability: At Louis Vuitton boutiques
Price: €48,000, or 79,000 Singapore dollars
For more, visit Louisvuitton.com.
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