Introducing the Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 Chronographe à Sonnerie
Louis Vuitton kicks off a series of ongoing collaborations with celebrated independent watchmakers with a bang.
Fine watchmaking often tends to pride itself on artful execution rather than radical advancements. Chronographs, tourbillons, and chiming watches have all undeniably witnessed significant technological advancements in recent decades. However, all too often, when incorporating modern materials or pursuing novel visual effects, they tend to diverge from tradition rather than honour it. In contrast, the LVRR-01 Chronographe à Sonnerie achieves an admirable feat by bringing something new to the table in a manner that seems to affirm its place in the rich legacy of horology.
A collaborative creation between the world’s leading luxury brand Louis Vuitton and Geneva-based independent watchmaker Rexhep Rexhepi, the LVRR-01 Chronographe à Sonnerie combines a chronograph with a chiming mechanism that sounds each elapsed minute in passing, along with a five-minute tourbillon. It marks the first watch in a series of five collaborations between Louis Vuitton and five independent watchmakers, all to unfold over the course of five years. The proceeds from the sale of the watch will benefit the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize, established by Jean Arnault, the youngest son of Bernard Arnault. Since entering the family business in 2021, he has made significant strides to elevate Louis Vuitton’s standing in the world of watchmaking. Not only did he revamped the Tambour, but he also revealed plans for La Fabrique du Temps to resurrect the Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth brands as well as created a €150,000 LV Watch Prize to support rising independent watchmakers.
Today, he has led Louis Vuitton to collaborate with one of the most successful stars in independent watchmaking. Limited to 10 pieces, the LVRR-01 Chronographe à Sonnerie is a double-faced watch with a tinted sapphire dial on the front that displays the mean time hours and minutes. It features six gold cubes filled with plique-à-jour enamel, which recalls Louis Vuitton’s signature Spin Time jumping hours display. The dial on the reverse is executed in white grand feu enamel, crafted by Nicolas Doublel, the in-house enameller at La Fabrique du Temps. It features twin scales for the chronographs seconds and minutes which are indicated by a pair of co-axial hands.
The case is a nod to the Louis Vuitton Tambour case, crafted by Jean-Pierre Hagmann. Made in platinum, it has a distinctive profile, characterized by a tall, sloping bezel and long, angular lugs, which perhaps compensates for the incredible discretion in its dial display. It features a predominantly brushed finish with just a hint of polish along the bezel, case middle and lugs. It measures 39.9mm in diameter and 12.2mm high, giving it a compact and reassuring presence on the wrist.
The calibre LVRR-01 within was entirely developed by Rexhep Rexhepi. It has an inverted construction with both the chronograph mechanism and sonnerie hammer and gong located on the dial side instead of the bridge side. As with a standard chiming watch, it features two mainspring barrels – one powers the timekeeping and chronograph gear trains and the other powers the sonnerie train.
The chronograph is a horizontal clutch, column wheel chronograph that is driven off the fourth wheel in the mean time gear train, just as is customary in a standard chronograph. However, its design and finish are unsurprisingly elaborate. It has a fully supported coupling lever that pivots over the drive wheel, itself supported by a black polished finger bridge. Below at the six o’clock position, a 3 Hz free-sprung balance is housed in a tourbillon cage that revolves at an exceptionally leisurely rate of five minutes per rotation, inspired by historical chronometers. Unlike the default one-minute tourbillon, slow tourbillons require a different gear ratio which results in having to install additional gear(s) in the tourbillon cage itself. In this case, it rotates on a fixed (fifth) wheel with internal teeth while a sixth wheel is installed in the tourbillon cage before the escape wheel. This results in a more visually intricate tourbillon. Additionally, the tourbillon is driven by the fourth wheel located on the periphery rather than the conventional pinion beneath the cage. Both the upper tourbillon cage and upper bridge are black-polished with numerous sharp angles.
Yet, the key aspect of the watch lies in the synchronization of the chronograph with the chiming mechanism, ensuring that it produces a chime corresponding to each passing elapsed minute, rather than mean time. Details are scarce at the moment but what we know is that the sonnerie barrel is released when the chronograph is activated via a pusher at two o’clock. It powers the strike train that is regulated by an escapement which has a single pallet interacting with a five-tooth escape wheel. The pallet unlocks the escape wheel each minute, controlling the unwinding rate of the mainspring and ensures that the sonnerie strikes precisely at the top of the minute, every minute that the chronograph is running.
The watch effectively embodies the essence of both brands while bearing no family resemblance to either one of their watch lines. But more than that, it integrates three complications in an unexpectedly surprising and surprisingly captivating way and presents a package that should be plainly appealing – a finely crafted, exotic grand complication by Rexhep Rexhepi for Louis Vuitton. It has a price tag of CHF 450,000 and is delivered in a Louis Vuitton trunk that is painted by hand with a motif drawn from the chronograph scales, and features the signatures of Rexhep Rexhepi, Jean-Pierre Hagmann, and Nicolas Doublel on its interior.
Movement: LVRR-01 calibre developed by Akrivia; manual winding; power reserve of 72 hours; 3Hz or 21,600vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, tourbillon; chronograph à sonnerie
Case: 39.9mm x 12.2mm; platinum
Dial: Smoked translucent sapphire dial with six gold cubes filled with translucent Plique-à-jour fired enamel on the front; Grand Feu enamel on a palladium-gold base on the back
Strap: A Louis Vuitton strap of natural cowhide leather with a unique platinum pin buckle made by the workshop of Jean-Pierre Hagmann that bears the “JHP” hallmark.
Availability: Limited to 10 pieces
Price: CHF 450,000
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FROM THE SHOP
|Movement||Self-winding caliber BR.CAL-301; 42-hour power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date|
|Case||41mm; CuAI7Si2 bronze; water resistant to 100m|
|Dial||Sunray brushed with applied, gold-plated indices|
|Strap||Black calfskin; satin polished bronze folding clasp|
|Limited Edition||Limited edition of 50 pieces|