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The Louis Vuitton X Frank Gehry Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Sapphire

Frank Gehry’s diaphanous vessel, powered by a flying tourbillon, sails the high seas of contemporary architecture and watchmaking.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 4 min read |

It’s full steam ahead for Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking division, an appropriate metaphor for a brand founded on Monsieur Vuitton’s revolutionary stacking canvas trunks and long associated with the ‘art of travel’. With the incorporation of the high-end watchmaking manufacture, La Fabrique du Temps in 2011, the brand can produce spectacularly complicated timepieces underscored by a strong focus on creativity and a unique design language. The latest timepiece results from a collaboration with the world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. The result: a diaphanous work of art that captures the architect’s love of transparency and volume to showcase a flying tourbillon.

Canadian architect Frank Gehry, the genius behind the iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, designed the spectacular Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris (2014) and the Louis Vuitton Maison Seoul (2019), two landmark architectural sites that capture the architect’s dynamic play of organic shapes and transparencies.

The Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, designed by architect Frank Gehry

Located on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne next to a water garden, Frank Gehry’s Louis Vuitton Foundation evokes the billowing sails of an enormous ship. Composed of twelve immense glass sails supported by wooden beams, the LV Foundation is a spectacle of transparency and movement. The graceful, poetic architecture of the Parisian art museum and cultural centre also inspired Frank Gehry’s design for the Louis Vuitton Maison in Seoul. A miniature version of the LV Foundation in Paris, the storefront is marked by a series of swooping, stepped glass structures that float weightlessly above the roof of the building.

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Two years ago, Frank Gehry accepted the challenge of creating the first timepiece of his career. Moving from the massive dimensions of architecture to the miniaturised realm of watches is a stretch, but the result exalts the transparency and volumes of his celebrated constructions. Gehry explains: “My inspiration comes from the sea, fish, boats, the nautical world because they embody the notion of movement, mobility, speed.” Translating that into a 43.8mm case with a height of 11.27mm was no mean feat, but the result, the Tambour Frank Gehry, marries the transparency and fluidity of sapphire crystal to the constant motion of the flying tourbillon.

The chase chosen for the collaboration was the Tambour Moon Sapphire (2022), and to capture Frank Gehry’s passion for ethereal, transparent structures, the case, dial, crown, lugs and hands of the Tambour are crafted from a single 200-kilo block of sapphire. Notoriously hard to work with, each component is cut from the sapphire crystal block using diamond tools and then polished to exalt its transparency. Like other Tambour models, the brand name is etched into the sapphire case middle, and the crown features the interlocking LV monogram.

Using surgical tools, the signature billowing Frank Gehry sails on the sapphire dial were created by hand. Over 250 hours were needed to craft the paper-thin dial, and artisans relied on microscopes, diamond-tipped tools, and diamond powder to make the matte swirls. However, they had to stop frequently to prevent the sapphire from being damaged by the heat of the drills or the vibrations they provoked. As we noted earlier, even the hands are made of sapphire crystal and outlined with HyCeram Luminex. With the series of matte sails traversing the dial, the addition of some luminescence is no doubt necessary to consult the time.

Frank Gehry’s diaphanous structure reveals the one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, with its carriage decorated with an LV Monogram flower. The brand name appears on the skeletonised mainspring at noon, and the horizontal layout of the manual-winding movement – LFT MM05.01 – is poised on an openworked rose gold base plate. Beating at 21,600vph, the movement delivers an 80-hour power reserve. Every component of the La Fabrique du Temps openworked manual-winding movement is finished to the exacting Poinçon de Genève standards with polished gears, chamfering and satin finishes throughout. Last but not least, Frank Gehry’s signature appears on the sapphire caseback.

The  Tambour Frank Gehry comes on a white taurillon leather strap – LV’s high-end buttery soft leather with a grained, matte texture – with a rose gold folding buckle.

Availability & Price

A limited edition of just five pieces, the Tambour Frank Gehry retails for USD 935,000. For more information, please consult

5 responses

  1. It is not the case that this is Frank Gehry’s first timepiece. He collaborated with Fossil for a number of watches.

  2. Thank god for the luminex or it would be really difficult to see the time. Better yet get rid of the swirls and let us see everything. It could probably all fit in a smaller case and be more wearable for the average wrist.
    And I’m not mentioning the price.

  3. The price is insane and looks like his building a collapsed old barn.

  4. I am very much intrested in The Louis Vuitton X Frank Gehry Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Sapphire,
    Please advice me how I can get the watch as soon as possible

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