Following its launch event in Santa Barbara earlier this month, Louis Vuitton has announced the first collaboration in their five-year programme working with independent watchmakers. The LVRR-01 Chronographe à Sonnerie is the passion project between the luxury fashion brand and renowned watchmaker Rexhep Rexhepi.
Working out of his workshop in Geneva, Rexhep has quickly established himself as one of the greatest luxury watchmakers in the world today. The young craftsman has produced his successful designs under two brand names: the contemporary Akrivia and the eponymous Rexhep. The latter features Rexhep’s multi-award winning Chronometre Contemporain, an elegantly classic piece that epitomises the watchmaker’s principles in paying homage to the history of horology.
The other half of the team is led by Louis Vuitton’s Director of Watches and son of LVMH founder Bernard Arnault, Jean Arnault. The collaboration was formed by Arnault after his recent success relaunching Louis Vuitton’s original watch, the Tambour, in a delicate bracelet design. Despite Rexhep typically avoiding collaborations with big brands, Arnault persuaded the craftsman to join the project and hopes this launch will create a platform for other independent watchmakers to work with the brand in the future.
The LVRR-01 Chronographe à Sonnerie perfectly blends the signature styles of both names through a unique two-faced Chronograph enclosed in a modified Louis Vuitton Tambour case. The Tambour case was reinterpreted by Akrivia’s principal case maker Jean-Pierre Hagmann, resulting in a 39.5mm diameter with a 12mm thick rim.
The front face features a sapphire dial with a window to the inner mechanisms; the tinted colour of the glass helps to highlight the different components and movements visible inside the watch. To complement the blue crystal, six gold cubes were fitted into the even-numbered positions and filled with a fired enamel using a technique known as oblique-à-jour to create an amber-coloured stained-glass effect. This is also where the collaborative logo is showcased, with the Akrivia signature replacing the ‘v’ with the iconic LV emblem and marking the first time Louis Vuitton has combined their logo with another brand. This side also features Rexhep’s innovative tourbillon device, completing its revolution every five minutes; this invention allows the watch to regulate current time while measuring elapsed time simultaneously.
While this face focuses on the mechanisms inside the device, the inverted workings mean that we are viewing the movements of the Chronograph dial on the opposite side. Sporting a white enamel dial, this secondary face juxtaposes the modern aesthetic of the front timepiece in favour of a display reminiscent of 19th-century chronograph pocket watches. This includes the twin scales that appeared on these pocket watches used to measure both hours and minutes simultaneously.
Due to its design, this chronograph dial will not be visible when the watch is worn. The start, stop and reset functions are easily accessed using a button built into the watch’s outer case. Meanwhile, the recording is measured using a steel chiming system to notify the wearer of each passing minute. The production of this ring is visible from the translucent front face, where the black polished hammer can be seen striking a gong.
With only ten articles being made, this elegant timepiece is a valuable addition to any collection. The LVRR-01 Chronographe à Sonnerie will be available at $778,230, with some customers having the chance to receive an exclusive hand-painted trunk to display their stunning new wristwatch.