Frank Gehry creates transparent Fondation Louis Vuitton-informed watch


Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry has created a transparent watch for luxury brand Louis Vuitton informed by his Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Louis Vuitton Maison Seoul buildings.

Named the Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève Sapphire Frank Gehry, the watch has a rippling sapphire case that was informed by Gehry’s architecture.

Frank Gehry creates transparent watch for Louis VuittonFrank Gehry creates transparent watch for Louis Vuitton
Frank Gehry has created a watch for Louis Vuitton

The watch’s case, dial, crown, lugs and hands were all cut from a single 200-kilogram block of sapphire.

Its dial was engraved with a rippling form that evokes the architecture of the Louis Vuitton Maison Seoul store’s glass facade and the sail-like form of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève Sapphire Frank Gehry watchTambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève Sapphire Frank Gehry watch
The watch has a transparent case and dial

To determine the waves on the watch face, Gehry crumpled up a blown-up picture of the watch.

“To distil this powerful yet airy signature – a poetic allusion to the movement of a boat’s sails – the architect printed out a large-scale photograph of the 2022 Tambour Moon Saphir and crumpled the paper to create the new model’s dial,” said Louis Vuitton.

“Echoing the glass ship he built for the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Gehry has created a mini-structure in watch form that provides the same impressions of airiness and depth, but on a miniature scale.”

According to the brand, each of the dials for the five limited edition watches took 250 hours to make by hand.

“It took 250 hours to manufacture the dial alone – one of the most difficult ever made by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton and a true miniature sculpture, no thicker than a sheet of paper,” said the brand.

“Artisans sculpted the sapphire – hard to work with – by hand, bringing to life the shapes and reliefs drawn up by Frank Gehry to echo his architectural designs.”

Sapphire watch dial Sapphire watch dial
The dial was informed by Gehry’s architecture

The transparent dial and case were designed to allow the watch’s mechanism, which was made from rose gold and rhodium-plated steel, to be on full display. The rear was engraved with Gehry’s signature.

“The sapphire glass architectural masterpiece allows every millimetre of the gears’ beauty to shine, including the chamfering and satin finishes applied to even the smallest watch component,” Louis Vuitton said.

“The delicately openworked calibre is two-toned to highlight its contrasts. The solid rose gold plate features a concentric satin finish, while the gears and flying tourbillon are rhodium-plated.”

Watch mechanism for Louis Vuitton Watch mechanism for Louis Vuitton
The transparent design aims to showcase the watch’s mechanism

The watch is the latest project designed by Gehry for the fashion brand. Along with the Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Louis Vuitton Maison Seoul buildings, the architect recently designed a range of handbags for the brand and has previously created a series of perfume bottles.

Gehry also designed a gold bottle for the 150th anniversary of X.O cognac for drinks brand Hennessy, which is owned by Louis Vuitton’s parent group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy.



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