Louis Vuitton's new smartwatch is more chic than geek

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Over the years, fashion houses have been striving to bridge the gap between fashion and consumer technology. Although many of these luxury brands’ products fall on the fashion side of the spectrum—rather than function—their ambitions survive. (Understood.)

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This week Louis Vuitton (LV) launched a new consumer tech product in its latest attempt to connect the two worlds. Enter the Tambor Horizon Light Up—a stunning digital watch that takes after the statement-making style of its analog counterpart. This year’s Tambour Horizon is the third generation of connected watch, almost five years after the French design house made its first foray into the smartwatch category.

The stainless steel Tambor Horizon features a 1.2-inch circular display crafted from sapphire glass that lights up when a notification arrives thanks to 24 LED lights built under the so-called monogram dial ring. This year LV upgraded the processor on which the Tambor runs, opting for Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform.


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Perhaps the biggest change has been made in the software of the smartwatch. Louis Vuitton decided to abandon WearOS, a Google-made operating system for watches, joining companies such as Motorola, Huawei and OnePlus to develop proprietary operating systems. The absence of WearOS has many implications, but an important one is that Tambor Horizon no longer supports Google Pay. Instead, wearers can turn to Alipay, the hugely popular Chinese payments app owned by Jack Ma’s Ant Group.

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The yet-to-be-named operating system, which is compatible with Android and iOS, has a standard feature set including alarms, stopwatch, notification for calls, emails and messages. In terms of health, there’s heart rate monitoring and daily step counting via the My Day tab. You can also keep track of air quality and weather as well as itineraries or explore LV’s curated city guides in the My Travel section. In terms of personalization, you can choose from various watch faces to replace the Always On display or even add your own initials in a color or font of your choice.


Although LV wants to be seen as a more innovative company, this digital watch isn’t quite built for the average tech consumer (let alone the average consumer) due to its limited feature set, among other reasons. But LV isn’t necessarily what Tech Geek is trying to accomplish. Instead, the uber-luxe timepiece will appeal to fashionistas with big spends in search of technological improvements. After all, this is a haute couture smartwatch from a French heritage brand known for its great products with eye-watering prices. LV has traditionally been synonymous with posh designer handbags, but the French label has over the years expanded its portfolio through high-end consumer electronics. Last year, it launched a portable speaker and before that A range of colorful wireless earbuds emblazoned with their signature logo,

The Tambor Horizon Light It Up went on sale worldwide on Friday through Louis Vuitton’s websites and retail stores. In the US, the Tambor Horizon will start at $3,300 for the polished steel model and rise to $3,600 for the matte black and brown model.

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