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Race AGAINST Time.

Louis Vuitton celebrates the 30th anniversary of the LV Cup by launching, among other things, awatch that salutes the spirit of the sea

SPEED has a beautiful cousin called fragility. When the world's finest sailors take to the water in San Francisco Bay this month for the Louis Vuitton Cup-- a crucial preparatory phase for the prestigious America's Cup-- their craft of choice, the AC72, will leave in its wake a gritty tale of optimism and revenge.

For the first time in the history of the America's Cup, the AC72 will change a lot of equations for the participants.

The legendary multi- hull is both fast and fragile.

It uses wings instead of sails, and hydrofoils that lift its hull out of the water, resulting in extreme-- even fatal-- speeds. Juan Kouyoumdjian, head architect of Artemis Racing and the designer of winning boats in the 2006, 2009 and 2012 editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, says, " Today, the entire world of sailing is focusing on the advances offered by the AC72. But yes, there is an element of risk. It gives you the feeling of ' sailing at the limit'." As if taking a cue from the flamboyance of the bold yachtsmen who will sail the AC72, the French fashion house Louis Vuitton has created a watch, the Tambour Twin Chrono, a single- push bi- chronograph with differential display, to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the LV Cup. Developed by its watch laboratory La Fabrique du Temps in Geneva, the timepiece is equipped with a calibre dedicated to match racing. It features a worldfirst, patent- pending complication that has the ability to simultaneously measure the times of two racing boats and immediately display the difference between them.

According to Hamdi Chatti, watches and jewellery director for the fashion house, " The ultimate objective for our watches is to develop features that become part of the two universes of Louis Vuitton: the art of travel and the art of navigation, due to our strong and historical link with the America's Cup." Designed by Leman Cadrans and hand- made by a master enameller, the Tambour Twin Chrono's dial features a subtly guilloched whitegold plate covered by a deep blue Grand Feu enamel. Limited to only 30 pieces, the Tambour Twin Chrono's unique character is based on the use of a movement composed of four different motors.

Unlike the would- be owners of the Twin Chrono, the participants of the LV Cup will not have it as easy-- the event is touted to be much more complicated than just a single push of a button. First, of the three competing teams-- Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa-- only the winner will earn the right to challenge Oracle Team USA, the American titleholder, in the hope of capturing the 34th America's Cup trophy. Second, because the teams recruit the best sailors, technicians and engineers from around the world, the challenge of synchronisation is immense.

With the Tambour Twin Chrono, Louis Vuitton harbours no such concerns. " Our watches are strong and portray a lot of character," says Chatti. " In the Tambour's case, it has a powerful structure with very distinctive features. So, the owner of this watch is of course a connoisseur but also a man who loves the masculine design particularly expressed by the use of the blue colour." Perhaps it is not as everlasting as the azure blue of the sea from which the fashion house has taken inspiration for over a century- anda- half. However, the Tambour's appeal stems from the fact it has been inspired by the enduring spirit of the sailors who have strived to master the relentless waves forever.

www. louisvuitton. com

Robb Report is considered the world's final word on luxury.

It covers supercars, private jets, yachts, bespoke travel, exclusive fashion, watches and jewellery. In India, it is distributed ' By Invitation Only' to a select readership of ultra- high net worth individuals.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 25, 2013
Words:671
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