Have Watch, Will Travel
August Man SG|Issue 174
Louis Vuitton is not missing a beat when it comes to attracting a new generation of globetrotting consumers who value practicality and style. Enter the new Tambour Horizon Light Up
Jonathan Ho
Over the last three decades, the watch industry has seen momentous changes in aesthetics, trends and directions. Mechanical watches have grown in size, become more outlandish in terms of mechanical complications, or attempted different colours and unusual case shapes. We even saw tourbillons enter a sort of horological arms race, twirling in one, twos, threes and even fours like some weird commentary on the shaving industry (I’m looking at you Gillette). There was also a touch of madness and equally mad prices, anything could be made and every whim catered to for the right price. Then things changed.

The industry entered a period of self-reflection, watches stopped becoming exemplars of aesthetic pompousness. Stylistic arrogance became passé. Collectors started to embrace vintage and neo-vintage references, giving rise to independent micro-brands and kickstarter watchmakers to cater to the trend that caught most of the established watch industry flat-footed. Minimalism came back in vogue, case sizes are shrinking once again, dials are reverting to the classical codes, and some watches are providing tremendous bang for buck.

In that time since, one smartwatch has come of age.

The Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon Light Up is the French Maison’s third-generation connected watch. Yes, time will tell if smartwatches will follow in a similar evolutionary path of iterative changes like their mechanical brethren, but enough time has passed since its first-generation Tambour Horizon that proves Louis Vuitton’s voyage into the innovative world of creative connected watches continues to evolve in refinement and sophistication.

As a Maison, Louis Vuitton does not miss a beat when it comes to attracting a new generation of globetrotting consumers who value practicality and style. Early naysayers who made the obsolescence argument of pricey smartwatches were missing the point. The truth is – just as timepieces evolved beyond their utilitarian functions, becoming objects of expression, so too have smartwatches –becoming an extension of that pocket companion we can no longer live without while still remaining an essential accessory we wear on our bodies. To wit, it is as much a functional item as it is a piece of jewellery that expresses an aspect of your personality.

At the time, the Tambour Horizon watch was the brand’s first timepiece endowed with smartwatch technology, embracing all the current market trends summed up by the three Cs connected, customisable and cool while remaining a smart travel companion for people who appreciate instant access to information, but who refuse to forego style.

Beyond Connected: Spirit of Travel Embodied

Boldly innovative in its embrace of technology, the Tambour Horizon was a pioneering endeavour that nonetheless remained faithful to the spirit of the maison’s founder, Louis Vuitton. Vuitton of course invented a genuine Art of Travel through luggage, bags and accessories that were as creative and pleasing to the eye as they were practical, and the maison has gone on to publish of some of the world’s most luxurious and well-curated city guides.

Since 1998, Louis Vuitton City Guides established themselves as the ultimate travel companions, bringing to life the world’s most fascinating cities for business and leisure travellers alike. What made the Tambour Horizon different from its competition was that it featured an exclusive “City Guide”, extending to the smartwatch the services of the guides edited by Louis Vuitton and their apps. Then, the very best addresses and unmissable sights of seven of the most visited cities in the world are easily accessible on the Tambour Horizon’s touch screen. This raised the smartwatch beyond a simple tool to access Google but rather served as an able digital concierge. To understand why this functionality is so vital, it is necessary to understand why the Guides are considered the world’s finest. To capture the spirit of each city, Louis Vuitton reaches out to journalists, writers and major figures in the world of art and letters, whose contributions together with those of artists, businesspeople and creative talents from many fields make each City Guide a publication like no other.

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