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Object Record

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Object Name Wristwatch
Catalog Number 2001.21.1
Collection Watch
Other Name Wristwatch in original box
Date c. 1988
Description Brief description: Gold (18 kt.) round case men's/ladies' quartz movement world timer wristwatch.
Round white metal dial surrounded by six independent white dials, as follows, from center out:
1-Center ring: Moon Phase
2-Hour chapter ring in black Arabic numerals
3-Minutes/seconds track in black Arabic numeral at 5-minute/second intervals.
4-24-hour, second time zone in black Arabic numerals.
5-World Times with city names arranged in time zone order, names in blue
6-Date ring in red Arabic numerals 1-31

Timepiece has five center sweep hands, red hour and minute hands, a gold second hour hand to show time in a second zone on dial "4," a black seconds hand, and a gold date hand with red crescent moons at both ends, extending the entire diameter of the dial, allowing one end to pass the 31st of the month while the other end now points to 1 (first of month).
Crown at 12 or the cylindrical stem at the top sets the time, adjusts the lunar phase dial, sets the 24-hour time zone band, and stops and starts the watch. There are also two concealed pushers in the case: the large one at 6 o'clock sets second time zone, and the smaller pusher at 7 o'clock sets date.

Producer name: Louis Vuitton - IWC movement
Production date: Circa 1988
Made in: Europe, Switzerland
Dimensions: 40 millimeters (case)
Movement: 24 jewels
Case (outside): 0341, R, LOUIS VUITTON , PARIS, SWISS.

Curator's comments:
Louis Vuitton World Timer wristwatch with four extra bands, in original box with informational book, 24-jewel movement, 18 kt. gold case.
Movement by IWC under exclusive contract.

Five leather straps included black, green, dark green, tan, and red. The buckle of each strap is marked "LV," the symbol of Louis Vuitton.
The watches and straps are displayed in a green box with a round top and light-colored velvet interior, with "LOUIS VUITTON / PARIS" on the inside lid. The bottom lifts away to reveal a bound informational book with trilingual (French, English, and Japanese) instructions, promotional material, and diagrams.
To assist those who travel around the world on business or for pleasure and who communicate with the major capitals of the planet, in 1998 the French company Louis Vuitton conceived a very special timepiece whose design was created by Italian designer Gae Aulenti and manufactured by IWC, (International Watch Company) of Schaffhausen, Switzerland. It sold for U.S. $11,500 but, according to Louis Vuitton in New York, was discontinued about 25 years ago.

This ten-function watch gives you a sense of being in all places at once. It indicates the local time, the date, the month, and the current phase of the moon. Simultaneously, its mobile dial can display the current time in any other city or time zone around the world, even distinguishing day from night hours. What makes this timepiece so special and the focus of a review on this feature page is that never before have such complex functions-seven in all-been organized around a "single axis." It truly is a unique mechanism.

Protecting a high-precision 24-jewel quartz movement, its 18 kt. gold watchcase was fashioned from a solid block and hand polished. A special backing protects the mechanism from the influence of magnetic fields.

In calling on Gae Aulenti with the original design of a universal watch-one for the quintessential traveler-Louis Vuitton recognized an architect and designer who had exercised her talents in the most diverse fields. An urban planner in Rome and Caracas, she also designed skyscrapers, interior spaces, and scenery for theaters all over the world. Her furniture and other objects have received international honors and awards. Functionalism is her master word. She likes to associate art with function and preaches starkness of shape and space. Gae Aulenti's creations are considered landmarks in the history of design and contemporary art.

For 130 years skilled craftsmen at the IWC Watch Company in Schaffhausen have been producing first-class timepieces for watch lovers the world over. For 20 years IWC was also well known for its collaboration with Porsche Design during which time IWC pioneered in manufacturing cases and bracelets from titanium. A further milestone was reached when IWC first used ceramics for its cases.

In the course of the years, IWC has introduced forward-looking innovations to the world of watchmaking. Little known, though, is IWC's cooperation with Louis Vuitton whereby IWC developed and manufactured an exclusive timepiece for the company, the "Louis Vuitton - I Universal Time Watch," designed expressly for the traveler.
Let's glance at the many functions as illustrated in the diagram.

A. Watchcase in 18 kt. gold
B. Multifunction crown for:
"setting the red hour and minute hands
"adjusting the lunar phases
"setting the time zone band (cities)
"stopping the second hand
C. Universal time corrector key
D. Date corrector
1. Red hour hand of principal time
1a. Circle of principal hours (12 hours)
2. Red minute hand for principal time, for the second time zone and the universal time (24 hours)
2a. Minutes and second scale
3. Second hand
4. Date hand
4a. Date scale
5. Lunar phase indicator
6. Golden hour hand of second time zone
6a. Red index identifying the second time zone
7. 24-hour disk, with indication of the hours of the day and of the night, on a transparent sapphire disk (universal time)
8. Band with 24 time zones identified by city names and adjustable by crown B
8a. Zero meridian indicator, Greenwich time zone (GMT)
9. Dateline indicator
9a. Auxiliary indicator on the 24-hour disk (7) to determine the date
The crown B allows the setting of the following functions:
Crown pressed in:
This is the normal position when the watch is worn. The crown should be placed in this position after each setting.
Crown partially extended:
By turning the crown in the desired direction, the time zone band (8) is moved as is, in a synchronized manner, the golden hand of the second time zone (6) and the 24-hour disk (7).
Crown completely extended:
The second hand (3) and the watch are stopped. By turning the crown, the two hour hands (1) and (6), the minute hand (2), and the 24-hour disk (7) move in a coordinated fashion. This is the way the principal time is set. The lunar indicator (5) is set by an alternate back-and-forth movement of the red hour hand (1) between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m.

The initial use of this universal time travel watch requires one to make settings in the following order: adjustment of lunar phase, adjustment of principal time (red hands), adjustment of dates, adjustment of universal time.

Once adjusted, the lunar phase indicator does not need to be adjusted for three years; the precision mechanism driving the indicator will show itself, at the end of this period, to have a maximum difference of one day with the real position of the moon.

This timepiece has another unique and interesting feature. If you are temporarily not interested in the indication of a second time zone, you can simply make the golden hour hand (6) disappear under the red hour hand. To do this, use crown B to rotate the city ring (8) until the city corresponding to your principal time is located under the index (6a) and the watch will have one less hand.
Further setting instructions for use are well described in a 4½-inch square hard cover leather bound (what else from Louis Vuitton?) users' manual printed in many languages.

Even the leather strap is different from normal. It underwent special tanning to increase its resistance to moisture. Without pins, screws, or other fastening elements, the strap simply glides across the bottom of the watchcase until it is anchored by a small indentation.

An interior cushion in the band ensures the correct seating of the watchcase. It originally came in a selection of three leathers: buffalo, calfskin, and snakeskin and in four colors: black, green, gold, and red.

Maker Louis Vuitton - IWC movement
Material 18kt gold
Place of Origin switzerland
Notes Accessioned
Serial Number(s) 0341