Thursday, September 21, 2023
    HomeLifestyleFrancesca Amfitheatrof Designs a Jeweled Watch for Louis Vuitton

    Francesca Amfitheatrof Designs a Jeweled Watch for Louis Vuitton


    During the high jewelry presentations in Paris in January, Louis Vuitton quietly introduced a new development: the first jeweled watch by Francesca Amfitheatrof, who became the brand’s creative director of jewelry and watches in 2018.

    Named Mini Malle, it was displayed at the Louis Vuitton flagship on the Place Vendôme as part of the second chapter of a collection called Bravery, designed around the life story of the house’s founder, Louis Vuitton. August 2021 marked the 200th anniversary of his birth.

    The timepiece belongs to the five-piece Mini Malle parure, a grouping that Ms. Amfitheatrof said was inspired by the handbag called the Petite Malle, or small trunk, introduced in 2014.

    The watch revisited in white gold and diamonds some of the bag’s trunklike details, like corner pieces, hinges and domed studs. Its 16.3-millimeter square case contains a quartz movement by La Fabrique du Temps, the brand’s factory, and is mounted on a squared-link chain bracelet; the piece is set with 617 brilliant-, baguette-, square- and custom-cut diamonds.

    Though diminutive — even understated — compared with splashier pieces in the collection like the Multipin necklace, a buckle design set with more than 100 colored gemstones, the jewel marks the first time that Louis Vuitton has overtly positioned high jewelry as unisex.

    In a phone interview, Ms. Amfitheatrof said that she had wanted her first jeweled watch for Vuitton to be small in size and gender-fluid, in part because she had noticed men wearing more timepieces that would have been characterized as feminine in the past.

    “There have been so many huge watches, I felt kind of tired of it,” she said. “I always follow my instinct about what people want to wear, and to me it feels like these proportions are a little more balanced. There’s an openness to it.”

    Other pieces in the Mini Malle parure include a diamond-studded sautoir that can be transformed into a choker and two bracelets, and a signet ring with diamond marquetry and an LV Monogram star-cut center diamond.

    The watch, which the designer said required more than 550 hours to produce, is priced at 400,000 euros ($454,600). Unlike many high jewelry creations, which usually are one of a kind, the brand said the watch could be reproduced or even adapted to a client’s specifications.

    Ms. Amfitheatrof added that incorporating jeweled timepieces into Louis Vuitton’s high jewelry collection opened up a product category with “a new story line” that would complement the highly complicated mechanisms developed by Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking division.

    “Everything has come together so we can make things that are unique,” she said.

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