LVMH opens Louis Vuitton watch manufacture

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The latest result of major corporate restructuring at LVMH’s watchmaking division has seen the launch of a state-of-the-art Louis Vuitton manufacture in Geneva.

La Fabrique du Temps or The Time Factory aims to create innovative timepieces ‘on the cusp of creativity and technology’ offering a home to ‘all’ of the trades that contribute to its watchmaking.

The new 4,000sq m manufacture is equipped with traditional artisanal tools as well as the latest digital technology and will be afforded creative independence.

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Louis Vuitton launched its first watch, the Tambour, in 2002 taking inspiration from travel, a field in which the house has been famed since being established in 1854.

LVMH’s watchmaking division, headed by Jean-Claude Biver, is currently undergoing major restructuring to avoid brands such as TAG Heuer and Zenith competing with each other as well as competitors.

In September TAG Heuer cut 46 jobs in management and production as well as putting 49 employees on ‘partial employment’ it is understood that TAG Heuer will be repositioned to offer an CHF1,000-3,000 (£650-1,950) entry point to LVMH’s watch portfolio.

The brand has ceased production of its own CH80 chronograph movement, despite CHF 10m facilities having only recently been opened in Chevenez, instead focusing on its more affordable 1887 movement. TAG Heuer’s production of leather goods has also been scrapped and questions have also been raised over the brand’s continuing involvement in sports timing and haute Horlogerie.

Much like fellow-LVMH brand Bvlgari, whose timepieces are more niche, Louis Vuitton’s watch brand is likely to sit outside of the core watch offering made up of TAG Heuer, Zenith and Hublot.

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