Louis Vuitton Interview with Hamdi Chatti
For Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking supremo, the new Escale Time Zone was more a question of offering accessibility, despite its attractive price.
The new Escale Time Zone comes a year after the Escale World Time model, presumably because of the success of the latter?
We launched the Escale World Time model last year and many people liked it. But unfortunately not a lot of people can buy it and those who want to do so have to wait. The current waiting list is around six months. Furthermore, it is hardly ever available in stores, only very occasionally at the Place Vendôme or to customers invited to special events.
The Escale Time Zone has the same colourful dial as the World Time model and an appropriate travel-themed complication but it is in a much more affordable price range. How important was price as a consideration in the development this new watch?
Price is not usually the decisive factor in our industry. It may sometimes block a sale but it’s not the main criterion. The main criterion is whether or not you like the watch. Because of customers’ frustration at not being able to see the World Time model, I wanted to make this concept more accessible to more people in the stores so they could see it. We had many cases of people who were coming into the stores to see the watch only to find out that it was not available and there was just a photo.
There was indeed a discussion about price on this model because I wanted it to be accessible in the best sense of the term. I wanted people to be able to see it, try it and perhaps dream of buying it.
It’s almost a shame to view the World Time model on a photo because of the detail on the hand painted dial. Have you considered other ways of illustrating the work that goes into the dial?
Yes, it is complicated. We do have some quite exceptional 3D views that show off the products. But we are after all in a tactile world and it can be frustrating. We are not talking about works of art, because art is something you look at but don’t touch. Watches are there to be touched and felt. So all this new technology, as brilliant as it may be, is for me more a means of taking a decision on a particular design rather than conveying an emotion.
Have you had any demand from female customers for similar types of watches?
We have not had any specific requests for complications but we have had inquiries about things along the same lines. It is definitely something that we are considering, but all in good time. At the same time we wanted to keep the spirit of fine watchmaking alive in the collection, so we have brought together two complications that had not been united before: the world time and the minute repeater in the new Escale Minute Repeater World Time.
The famous trunk maker with a pioneering spirit and all the tradition of a manufacturer has been seeking perfection for almost 160 years. Today, Louis Vuitton continues to expand its knowhow with further innovations, passing on its heritage as it looks to the future.Find out more
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