Frank Gehry’s first ever timepiece created for Louis Vuitton

March 2024

Frank Gehry's first ever timepiece created for Louis Vuitton

The masterpiece is the result of a singular collaboration between La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton and the eminent architect. The spectacular architecture of this fully transparent watch offers an uninterrupted view of the flying tourbillon calibre stamped with the Poinçon de Genève seal.


fter designing the Fondation Louis Vuitton building in Paris in 2014 and the Louis Vuitton Maison Seoul in 2019, Frank Gehry agreed to take on a new challenge: creating the first High Watchmaking timepiece of his career. It took two years of discussions between Louis Vuitton and the famous architect for the Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève Sapphire Frank Gehry to see the light of day.

Taking transparency to its zenith while respecting the celebrated Canadian designer’s architectural spirit, all on a mechanical object no more than 48.3 millimetres across, proved to be an extraordinarily complex task. For the dial design of this flying tourbillon watch, Gehry drew inspiration from his work on the Louis Vuitton Maison Seoul, where he created a rippling glass structure that appears to float weightlessly over the roof of the building.

To distil this powerful yet airy signature – a poetic allusion to the movement of a boat’s sails – the architect printed out a large-scale photograph of the 2022 Tambour Moon Saphir and crumpled the paper to create the new model’s dial. Echoing the glass ship he built for the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Gehry has created a mini-structure in watch form that provides the same impressions of airiness and depth, but on a miniature scale. “My inspiration comes from the sea, fish, boats, the nautical world, because they embody the notion of movement, mobility, speed," said the architect at the grand opening of the Louis Vuitton Maison Seoul. “I like to express movement, inject this energy and dynamic into static materials.”

Frank Gehry's first ever timepiece created for Louis Vuitton

In order to transpose this architectural signature into a High Watchmaking timepiece, sapphire was chosen to craft the case and dial. This transparent material allows the curved relief to take shape, giving rise to Frank Gehry’s beloved texture and light effects. La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton crafted the crystalline face of this entirely transparent Tambour Moon from a single 200-kilo block of sapphire. The case, dial, crown, lugs and hands have all been cut from this gem, which is the hardest in the world after diamond.

It took 250 hours to manufacture the dial alone – one of the most difficult ever made by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton and a true miniature sculpture, no thicker than a sheet of paper. Artisans sculpted the sapphire – hard to work with – by hand, bringing to life the shapes and reliefs drawn up by Frank Gehry to echo his architectural designs. The dial makers used medical tools to reproduce the asymmetric forms and curved swirls that define the architect’s style. Their unparalleled expertise and precision is particularly visible in the dial’s satin and matte finishes.

In a supremely delicate operation, La Fabrique du Temps’ artisans mattified parts of the dial using diamond powder and a diamond-tipped drill. They had to stop frequently to prevent the sapphire from getting damaged by heat or the tools’ vibrations. Additionally, the dial’s extreme slimness meant it could not rest on any sort of mount; rather, it had to be held in each artisan’s hand as they peered through binocular microscopes, playing with light and using the naked eye from every angle to make sure that the patterns were perfectly mattified.

The resulting extremely sophisticated finishes only heighten the interplays of light on the sapphire, drawing the eye towards the tourbillon movement that casts its own circle of light. The hands – also made of sapphire – boast luminescent edges for better legibility at night.

The architect’s signature glass sails, billowing as though propelled by wind, are at the heart of the the Tambour Moon Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève Sapphire.

Frank Gehry's first ever timepiece created for Louis Vuitton

This Tambour Moon – the first watch with a sapphire dial and case to bear the Poinçon de Genève seal – is powered by the manufacture flying tourbillon LFT MM05.01 movement that was entirely created, developed and assembled by the master watchmakers at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton in Geneva.

This sapphire glass architectural masterpiece allows every millimetre of the gears’ beauty to shine, including the chamfering and satin finishes applied to even the smallest watch component. The delicately openworked calibre is two-toned to highlight its contrasts. The solid rose gold plate features a concentric satin finish, while the gears and flying tourbillon are rhodium-plated.

Equipped with an 80-hour power reserve, this hand-wound mechanical movement displays a Monogram Flower within the tourbillon carriage, which performs a complete rotation in one minute.

Frank Gehry’s signature adorns the case back, underscoring the uniqueness of the Tambour Moon Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève Sapphire – a timepiece which epitomises Louis Vuitton’s values of boldness and innovation, magnified through the lens of a virtuosic, pioneering architect.

Frank Gehry's first ever timepiece created for Louis Vuitton


Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève Sapphire Frank Gehry

• Case, lugs and crown in sapphire
• Frank Gehry’s signature engraved on the case-back
• 43.8 mm diameter
• 11.27 mm thickness
• Anti-reflection sapphire crystal
• Water-resistant to 30 m

• Sapphire, polished and mattified by hand, inspired by Frank Gehry’s architectural works
• Sapphire hands, outline in HyCeram® Luminex (luminescent pigments)

• Calibre LFTMM05.01: mechanical movement with manual winding developed and assembled by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton
• “Poinçon de Genève” certification, visible on the central bridge
• Functions: skeleton flying tourbillon, hours and minutes, Monogram flower tourbillon cage rotating in one minute
• 160 components
• 80 hours of power reserve
• 21,600 vibrations per hour
• 17 jewels

• White taurillon leather strap

• Rose gold folding buckle

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