I’ll be the first to admit, when it comes to looking for truly interesting mechanical watches, the fashion houses are not where I would normally think they’d be found. Today, though, it looks like the folks at Louis Vuitton are proving to be an exception.
LV first introduced the Tambour Twin Chrono at BaselWorld 2013, focusing in on the new complication, a dual-chronograph differential display, that they developed for use in timing a match race. So, first things first – what is a match race?
According to the International Sailing Federaton, “A match race consists of two identical boats racing against each other. This is a one-on-one duel of strategy and tactics and the objective is simple – to be the first to cross the finish line. A match race begins four minutes before the starting time when each boat must enter the starting area from opposite ends of the start line. Each match lasts approximately 2o minutes.” The most famous sailing competition of this sort is the America’s Cup.
So, we’ve got two boats going head-to-head, and as you can see on the watch, we’ve actually got two chronographs (at 4 o’clock and 7 o’clock) able to time the race. These are controlled by the mono-pusher located at the 7 o’clock position. The first press starts both column-wheel chronographs up. When you press it a second time (when the first boat cross the finish), the 7 o’clock counter stops, and the differential (located up at 12 o’clock) measurement starts up. A third push stops the two running counters, giving you the time difference between the boats; and a fourth push resets them all.
While this is all set in a stunning blue enamel dial, the true beauty is actually found behind the sapphire display caseback. The manually-wound movement is made up of 437 components, and manages to keep the column wheel chronoographs in perfect synch. OF note, there are actually two winders here. The one at 2 o’clock winds the three chronograph barrels; the other (at 4 o’clock) winds the barrel used for the regular timekeeping.
Surprisingly, for all that they have stuffed into the movement, the case (in white gold) really isn’t all that large – 45.5mm in diamater, and 14.35mm thick. No word on pricing, but given that there will only be thirty pieces worldwide (and the logo on the dial), I’m betting you’ll want to be able to afford one of these match race boats before picking up this particular watch.
Sure, it’s out of reach for the vast majority of us, and the specific functionality is a bit limited. From a completely technical perspective, however, this movement is a fascinating one, given that I’ve not seen a dual-chronograph quite like this before. Let us know what you think – do you find it interesting, or is this just some pie-in-the-sky sort of exercise?