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Louis Vuitton Teams Up With Akrivia? - The Chronographe À Sonnerie

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The two brands have recently collaborated on a new watch, the LVRR-01 Chronographe À Sonnerie, and it has me a little confused.

When I think of weird partnerships, I think of Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson, or Kate Beckinsale and Pete Davidson, Or basically anyone and Pete Davidson…

Don’t worry, Pete, there's a new couple in town that has taken the mantle as the world's weirdest couple.

Akrivia and Louis Vuitton.

On one side, we have a small independent watch company, making extremely high-end watches out of Geneve, on the other, a multinational fashion behemoth known for its heavily branded products.

The two brands have recently collaborated on a new watch, the LVRR-01 Chronographe À Sonnerie, and it has me a little confused.

Unlike some larger publications out there, I’m not owned by LVMH (yet?, call me Bernard) so I’m going to give my honest thoughts on the collaboration.
But to start, I’ll shoot myself in the foot and say that opinions that anyone has about this watch, outside the ten people who are buying it, are completely irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what we think, and I’m sure the owners will love it.

In saying that, here’s my opinion…

The Chronographe À Sonnerie by Akrivia and Luis Vuitton

Two watches in one

I would be remiss if I didn't discuss the impressive technicality of this Chronographe À Sonnerie, so let’s get that out of the way before we discuss the elephant in the room.

The Chronographe À Sonnerie by Akrivia and Luis Vuitton

The Case

Borrowed from the new LV Tambour, the case has a slight barrel shape and long, sharply angled lugs. It’s executed in platinum but, in a change from most cases of this metal, its finish is mostly brushed. I like it. It’s distinct enough from the usual Akrivia affair to be unique, but it still has that high-end flavour people like. How could it not, when It was made by legendary case maker Jean-Pierre Hagmann. More on him in a future article.

The Chronographe À Sonnerie by Akrivia and Luis Vuitton
The Chronographe À Sonnerie by Akrivia and Luis Vuitton

The Movement

The watch has a new movement developed entirely by Rexhepi, with no intervention from La Fabrique du Temps. The LVRR-01 is an impressive thing to say the least.
We have a five-minute tourbillon, a feature that’s inspired by traditional marine chronometers. It certainly looks impressive in the photos, but I can’t imagine it’s the most dynamic thing to look at, being so slow.

The Chronographe À Sonnerie by Akrivia and Luis Vuitton

Unusually positioned on the dial side, there’s a mono pusher chronograph complication paired with a sonnerie feature. Basically, it allows the chronograph to chime when each minute passes. This seems like an unnecessary detail at first, complication for complication’s sake, perhaps. But when you turn the watch over and realise the Chrono hand is on the second dial on the back, it all makes sense. You can still operate the Chronograph when you’re wearing the watch, listening for the passing of time instead of watching it.

Very cool.

The Dials

Ok, this is where it gets a little controversial for me. I don’t like the dial, well, I don’t like one of them.
Because the movement is flipped over, what would usually be visible through a sapphire case back is on the front. To show it off, they have opted for a tinted sapphire dial.

The Chronographe À Sonnerie by Akrivia and Luis Vuitton

Let’s get this straight, If I’m buying an Akrivia, I want an unobstructed view of the movement finishing, I don’t want a weird tint blocking my view. It reminds me of those weird transition lenses my dad has that darken when he goes outside. Add to that some strange gold squares, and it just looks fussy and confused to me.

The Chronographe À Sonnerie by Akrivia and Luis Vuitton
The Chronographe À Sonnerie by Akrivia and Luis Vuitton

Flip it over, though, and you’re greeted by a beautiful Grand Feu enamel dial for the chronograph. Made by Nicolas Doublel, ‘the man’ when it comes to enamel work at La Fabrique du Temps. It’s a winner.

It’s a shame the owner won’t get to see underneath this second dial, though, the ultra-wide striping and engraving is just incredible.

To sum up the dials, the rear is a winner, front, not so much. Are you with me?

Should Louis Vuitton Be Associated With High Watchmaking?

You might think that LVMH has no business putting their name on a watch like this. Well, In 2011 they acquired Swiss high-end movement manufacturer La Fabrique du Temps, and in doing so, received a sizeable credibility injection. Watches like the remarkable Tambour Einstein Automata Only Watch, and the New Geneva Seal adorned Tamdbour Moon Tourbillon Volant Poinçon are proof that LV can kick it with the big guys.

Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon De Genève Yellow & Green Sapphire
Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon De Genève Yellow & Green Sapphire

The rebirth of Brands like Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth through La Fabrique du Temps is another way LVMH is contributing to the world of high horology. Daniel himself has trusted them to bring his brand back to life, with a tourbillon no less.

At the end of the day, the opinion that they shouldn’t be involved with watchmaking at a level anywhere near Akrivia is a moot point. They are already in the high watchmaking game, and this collaboration makes sense from that standpoint.

As an aside, this is the first time that Louis Vuitton has combined its logo with that of another brand. AKRILVIA. This says to me that they are serious about building something great with Akrivia, a good sign.

Is Akrivia Too Good for LV?

The brainchild of the 34-year-old Rexhep Rexhepi, Akrivia, to me, is the pinnacle of high desirability and low availability. LV and Akrivia couldn’t be more different in target market.

To look at this watch through the lens of an Akrivia Buyer, you might think that it’s a degradation of brand value. Like putting a Toyota badge on a Bentley.  

But, and this is a big but, that group of people is incredibly small. When you look at how many watches Akrivia makes per year, less than 30, they have roughly 990 existing customers. That's basically nothing.

On the other hand, mere mortals like me see this collaboration, and it increases the credibility of La Fabrique du Temps as a serous watchmaker. I'm sure, as a purely marketing play, this will do wonders for LVMH and their new Tambour collection. It’s at least made me take notice.

The Chronographe À Sonnerie by Akrivia and Luis Vuitton
The Chronographe À Sonnerie by Akrivia and Luis Vuitton

So no, I don’t think Akrivia is too good for Luis Vuitton. It just lives in a different world, one that we will see Louis Vuitton growing into in the years to come.

An Interview To Make Your Skin Crawl.

To find out more about the perspectives of the two collaborators, I watched the Hodinkee interview with Rexhepi, Arnault and Ben Clymer. Dear god, was it hard to get through.
Hodinkee is pretentious at the best of times, but this was next level. If their goal was to educate, then fine, it served its purpose, But when you look at the comments on the video, most of them are about their lack of socks. It’s a bit of a joke. I think it’s time for Ben to take a step back and let someone else do these interviews. It's only hurting them and the brands they are associating with.

I won’t link it here, I would rather not put you through the torture of 30 minutes of preppy brown nosing.

A good Idea, With A Big Benefit for Louis Vuitton.

As I said at the start of this video, the only people who have to like this watch are the people that are dropping $400k on it.
There is a larger strategy at play here. One that will affect all of us.
The push from big brands to associate themselves with independents will be happening more and more. We have to be prepared for it.

The AKRLVIA Case
The AKRLVIA Case is pretty cool

Projects like the moonswatch have shown us that brands at both ends of the price scale can successfully collaborate and bring a whole new group of people into the hobby. I don’t think your average LV buyer is going to put their name on the list for an Akrivia, but there will be watch nerds heading to their closest boutique to try on the Tambour, I guarantee it.

Even if it’s just the case profile, to have something in common with Akrivia is a bragging right I think few of us can resist.

More on the LVRR-01 HERE

Cya in the next one x

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