By combining exclusive high watchmaking caliber with a subversive Vanitas, Louis Vuitton orchestrates a scintillating show with the Tambour Carpe Diem. This virtuoso timepiece writes a new chapter in the history of the jacquemart watch.
Having produced several special orders for watches with automata in secret for a select group of clients, Louis Vuitton decided to lift the veil on the mystery by creating a one-of-a-kind model. It took two years of development for the Tambour Carpe Diem to join the House’s watch collections. «Our aim was to get off the beaten track», explains Michel Navas, Master Watchmaker at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton. «We wanted to bring to the jacquemart our vision of the 21st century with all the energy and creativity characteristic of our brand since it began producing watches in 2002.»
The historic jacquemart on top of the Zytgloggle tower in Bern.
Originally, jacquemarts were automata, mechanised figure of a person, usually made from wood or metal, created to strike the hours on church bell towers. A well-known historic jacquemart is found on top of the Zytglogge tower in Bern, Switzerland for example.
When watchmakers miniaturised them on timepieces, their function became essentially decorative – to add a bit of fun to the dial – and the time continued to be indicated by classic hands.
Today, Louis Vuitton wanted to give jacquemarts back their original meaning. In order to do this, the framework of the Tambour Carpe Diem was built around two major axes, a perfect mastery of this type of calibre in which the automaton is truly functional as it tells the time on demand, without hands.
By pressing a push-piece, the dial’s miniature scenery comes to life on the wrist and the story’s protagonists, the snake and the skull which perform the role of jacquemarts, indicate the time. To this is added another determining feature in the creation of this high-watchmaking timepiece, a unique stylistic approach on the historic symbolic art theme of the Vanitas, tackled in a way that is both positive and subversive. I love this 21st century jacquemart watch!
Photos: © Louis Vuitton and via the city of Bern