For more than a decade, Louis Vuitton timepieces had featured a single case, that of the Tambour. With the space of the past three years, the brand has extended its range of cases by introducing the Emprise and the Escale. And now comes a new watch entirely designed from scratch and featuring a new case. Its name is LV Fifty Five, a typographic play on the transition from Roman numerals (LV) to Arabic numerals (55). Above and beyond this entertaining dialogue, this watch is engaging in an even deeper one with the history of the brand, since the LV Fifty Five is inspired by a trunk. The fundamental, quintessential Louis Vuitton object of which hundreds of different types have been made, this rigid and sturdy item of baggage was long considered the exclusive preserve of the rich and famous. It was also astonishingly modern, for by as early as 1892 Louis Vuitton was already offering its explorer clients a waterproof aluminium model. That’s right, 30 years before water resistance became widespread on watches, luggage had already incorporated this eminently useful feature.
One particular example of these trunks appears in the catalogue of the Louis Vuitton museum, set up in the brand’s first workshops in the Parisian suburbs. That is where the Vuitton family home is located and where the LV Fifty Five was presented. Introduced in three sizes, this unisex model is for the time being available in steel only. Round, fairly slim and pleasingly curved, the LV Fifty Five is distinguished by the strong presence of the letter V. Against a green-accented dark grey background, the brand’s favourite letter steals the scene, popping up on the hands, hour-markers, buckle and crown. The trunk-inspired heredity is highlighted on the plaques fixed over the lugs bearing the brand name, add-on parts that also play a functional rule by holding the strap.
The Fifty Five also represents a further innovation in that this is the first time Louis Vuitton is using a strap made from its own in-house crafted leather for its watches – a fact that is all the more astonishing in that the leather is incredibly supple and comfortable.
Louis Vuitton would be nothing without travel, as we are regularly reminded by a number of its collections and communication tools. In addition to its aesthetic inspiration, the LV Fifty Five also features a horological complication clearly designed for globetrotters. The only large-sized version is a self-winding dual-time model. The all-important comfort required for smooth journeys is also enhanced by a new metal bracelet graced with wide single-row links that are every bit as softly rounded as the case itself.