GPHG 2023 Nominee - Mechanical Exception - Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata | SENATUS

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GPHG 2023 Nominee - Mechanical Exception - Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata
By SENATUS Magazine | 19 October 2023

In unveiling the Tambour Opera Automata, Louis Vuitton continues its journey through the exclusive world of high watchmaking timepieces with automata.

Paying tribute to Bian Lian of the Sichuan Opera, this unique watch’s virtuoso decoration showcases a traditional mask that comes to life and changes expression on demand.

An artistic performance driven by an outstanding movement entirely designed, developed and assembled by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton. This LV 525 calibre, totalling 426 components, has a power reserve of 100 hours and is the subject of several patents.

The time is only displayed when the automaton's button is activated: the engraved pink gold dragon’s head rises to reveal the jumping hours inscribed on the forehead of the cloisonné enamel Bian Lian, while its tail indicates the retrograde minutes. The mask’s expression changes dramatically – its eyebrows frown, its eyelid closes over its left eye, and the pupil of its right eye retracts to reveal a pointed Monogram flower.

Going from joy to sadness through the movement of its chin, the Bian Lian mask expresses a wide range of emotions.

The mechanical complexity of the Tambour Opera Automata is further enhanced by Dick Steenman’s engraving and Anita Porchet’s enamelwork. Every single dial requires more than three weeks of collaborative work.

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