Louis Vuitton Introduces Tourbillon with Plique-à-Jour Enamel Dial

Translucent enamel akin to stained glass.

Making full use of its recently established enamel workshop, Louis Vuitton debuts the Voyager Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève Plique-à-Jour.

Equipped with a skeleton tourbillon movement bearing the Geneva Seal, the new Voyager features a dial of translucent enamel in a gold lattice that is similar to stained glass.

Initial thoughts

The Voyager tourbillon was unveiled in its original format in 2016. I examined the watch at the time, and came away impressed by both the design and finishing, though I felt it was pricey.

The case was elegantly proportioned and sat particularly well on the wrist, being just over 9 mm tall. And the movement was surprisingly airy while having a high level of decoration equivalent to that found in establishment haute horlogerie names.

The plique-à-jour is essentially the same thing but with an enamel dial. The thickness of the dial adds to the case height, bringing it to over 11 mm, so the new tourbillon doesn’t have the slimness but it remains an elegant watch.

The artisanal dial does add another level of appeal, particularly since this enamel technique is not often used in watches, particularly on the large surface of entire dial. Personally I would have preferred colours other than blue and grey for the enamel, but geometric, repeating “V” motif of the dial is attractive.

As for the price, well, this is an expensive watch, though arguably not as much as in 2016.. Louis Vuitton has come a long way since as a watchmaker, with the brand having gained enough technical know-how to be credible.

The new Voyager tourbillon can compete with the best of the industrial-artisanal brands, like Vacheron Constantin, in terms of quality, but the brand name is still a hurdle.

See-through enamel

The new Voyager tourbillon is all about the dial, which is done in-house at the enamel workshop that was established just over a year ago. Made of white gold, the dial is an open-worked lattice in a repeating “V” that gives it an Art Deco aesthetic.

Each of the cells of the lattice are then carefully filled with enamel in shades of gradient blue. There is no backing on the dial, so the enamel is carefully applied such that it’s suspended between the borders of each cell.

Several layers are applied to build up the enamel in each cell, with each layer requiring a separate firing in an oven. In all, the dial requires five to six layers and firings, a process that needs some 100 hours according to  Louis Vuitton.

But the most impressive detail on the dial is arguably the ring for the canon pinion that holds the hands. Its location is fixed due to the position of the hands, yet the ring is set in place by hand and secured only by enamel, without any mechanical support.

The nature of plique-à-jour demands substantial thickness in order for the dial to be stable. As a result, the new Voyager tourbillon is substantially thicker than the original model without a dial. While that was 9.1 mm high, this is 11.68 mm, with the increased height almost entirely due to the dial.

Though thicker, the platinum case remains the 41 mm in diameter. The case is almost cushion shaped with a round crystal and dial. Typical of the Voyager design, the case has no bezel, but instead a flat plane around the crystal with flared “ears” at both three and nine o’clock.

Visible under the plique-à-jour dial is the LV 104, a manual-wind movement with a flying tourbillon developed by Louis Vuitton subsidiary La Fabrique du Temps (LFT). Based on LFT’s past tourbillon calibres, the LV 104 has a vertical layout familiar in tourbillon movements that results in a vertically symmetrical appearance.

The barrel sits at 12 o’clock, the flying tourbillon is at six, while the going train is in between. On the front the moving parts appear to be floating, secured by barely any bridges.

Over on the reverse, the bridges that underpin the movement are visible. Echoing the geometric “V” motif of the dial, the bridges are open worked to form the same letter.

Importantly, the movement is hallmarked with the Poinçon de Genève, also known as the Geneva Seal. A mark of both decorative and functional quality, the Poinçon de Genève reflects the high standard of finishing, which includes hand-finished bevelling on the bridges and chamfered spokes on the wheels.

The decoration is comparable to that found in movements from Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet, although the decorated surfaces are admittedly few given the skeletonised movement.

Key specs and price

Louis Vuitton Voyager Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève Plique-à-Jour

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 11.68 mm
Material: Platinum and 18k white gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: LV 104
Functions: Hours, minutes, and tourbillon
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3.5 Hz)
Winding: Hand wind
Power reserve: 80 hours

Strap: Leather with platinum folding clasp

Limited edition: No 
 At Louis Vuitton boutiques
Price: €275,000 excluding taxes

For more, visit Louisvuitton.com.


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Omega Introduces Speedmaster Moonwatch with a White Lacquer Dial

Glossy white, stainless steel, and regular production.

First seen on the wrist of actor Daniel Craig late last year, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch with a “lacquered white dial” is now official.

Dial aside, it’s identical to the standard Moonwatch with the cal. 3861. The new Speedmaster is regular production and priced almost exactly the same as the standard model.

Initial thoughts

The new Speedmaster is only a dial variant of the familiar Moonwatch in black. It isn’t substantively novel, though it is notable for being regular production. Historically, Speedmasters with white or silver dials have been either limited editions, like the Alaska Project, or in precious metal, like the model in Canopus gold.

The watch itself, however, is executed well. The lacquered dial is slightly glossy and matched with black-coated hands and markers, with the red “Speedmaster” giving it colour. For only US$100 more than the regular model – which is iconic but also common – this is certainly a compelling alternative.

White, red, and black

The new Speedmaster features a dial with a lacquered finish that gives it a smooth, glossy surface. According to Omega, this is the first Moonwatch with a lacquered dial.

Though the finish is different, the dial retains all of the details that characterise the Moonwatch dial, including the step on its perimeter and recessed registers with concentric graining.

The hands and applied markers also retain the same classic design, but are finished with a black coating for legibility. Notably, the standard model in steel has printed hour markers, with applied markers usually being found only on the solid-gold models.

The rest of the watch is identical to the conventional Moonwatch. The case is steel, while the crystal is sapphire and the bezel insert, aluminium.

Inside is the cal. 3861, the latest-generation Moonwatch movement. It’s a Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre, meaning it incorporates the Daniels co-axial escapement and has passed METAS testing for timekeeping and function.

Like other versions of the Moonwatch, the new model is available on a steel bracelet as well as either a rubber strap or “racing” band in perforated leather.

Key facts and price

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Lacquered White Dial
Ref. 310. (bracelet)
Ref. 310. (“racing” strap)
Ref. 310. (rubber strap)

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 13.2 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 3861
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet or strap

Limited edition: No
Availability: At Omega boutiques initially then also at authorised retailers
Price: US$8,100 on bracelet

For more, visit Omegawatches.com.


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