Louis Vuitton Inauguration of La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton
The companies acquired by Louis Vuitton over the past few years to constitute its in-house watchmaking capabilities are now brought together under the same roof at a new 4,000 square metre facility in Meyrin, on the outskirts of Geneva.
Design, research and development, dial manufacture, miniature painting and watch assembly now benefit from optimal synergies as these individual areas of competence, amassed in part through a series of acquisitions by the brand in recent years, are now brought together inside the new Louis Vuitton manufacturing facility, which was officially opened this week in Geneva.
The new building is located close to Geneva airport, which is perfect for the frequent shuttling by senior management and designers between the Louis Vuitton headquarters in Paris and the watchmaking plant in Geneva. This consideration underscores the importance of the Louis Vuitton brand behind the watchmaking operation and its separation from the other watchmaking activities of the LVMH Group (Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith). The Geneva location is also instrumental in the brand’s plans to produce movements to meet the strict criteria of the Geneva Hallmark, which according to Hamdi Chatti, Vice-President Watches and Jewellery, Louis Vuitton, will be ready in the next 18 months.
Aside from the assembly workshops, where watchmakers assemble complications such as the Spin Time modules unique to Louis Vuitton, as well as the highest level pieces such as the brand’s minute repeater models, the new facility includes in-house CNC and electroplating facilities that allow Louis Vuitton to produce its own dials from start to finish, right down to the individually plated hour markers. This is a key element in the manufacturing chain for Mr Chatti, who considers that the “face” of the watch is one of the areas where Louis Vuitton should excel.
Typical of this is the Escale Worldtime model, the only world time watch to dispense with hands altogether in favour of a system of disks showing the world time. The colourful dial of this piece is divided into two concentric outer sections featuring the world’s 24 time zones and their emblems, all of which are painstakingly painted by hand by an artistic working under a microscope. This delicate phase of the dial-making process alone requires some 40 hours of work.
The new building has clearly been designed to allow the brand’s manufacturing capacity to grow, with plenty of free space already built-in to the working environment. This will be welcome news for the district of Meyrin, which already employs 1800 people in the watchmaking industry, as well as for fans of fine watchmaking, who can already look forward to a new complication for men from Louis Vuitton next year.
Twenty years ago, Louis Vuitton boldly ventured into the world of watchmaking with the unveiling of the Tambour watch. Since, the Maison has dreamt up a growing collection of innovative timepieces driven by unparalleled creativity, savoir-faire, and craftsmanship.Find out more >
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