Inside Louis Vuitton's Plans to Conquer the Watch World

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At a launch event for Louis Vuitton’s new LVRR-01 Chronographe à Sonnerie in Montecito, California, the watch hung tautly in the center of a ring-shaped, rotating display that whined with every turn. The noise was a necessary annoyance. A collaboration with the revered watchmaker Rexhep Rexhepi, the LVRR-01—made in an edition of 10 and sold for 450,000 Swiss francs (roughly $497,000)—is a watch worthy of the pageantry. The slow-spinning contraption allowed onlookers to appreciate both of the double-sided masterpiece’s faces: the avant-garde skeletonized dial on one side, and the friendly blue-and-red chronograph dial on the other.

The LVRR-01 is a crowning achievement for Jean Arnault—the 24-year-old son of LVMH founder Bernard Arnault—who has headed up Louis Vuitton’s watch division since 2021. (Jean’s brothers, 28-year-old Frédéric and 31-year-old Alexandre, lead Tag Heuer and Tiffany & Co., respectively.) Since joining LV as director of marketing and development for watches, Jean has overseen the redesign of the formerly chunky Tambour model, established the brand’s manufacturer La Fabrique du Temps as a hub of high-end watchmaking, and wooed Rexhepi as the first in a series of five collaborations with high-end independent watchmakers that will be unveiled over the next half decade. This is all in an effort to court a more sophisticated watch consumer. “Independent watchmaking is all the rage today,” Jean said at the presentation of the watch.

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