Louis Vuitton's new smartwatch is more chic than geek
The $3,300 Tambour Horizon Light Up is the first Louis Vuitton smartwatch to give Google's WearOS a miss.
Sareena DayaramSenior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
For years, luxury fashion houses have strived to bridge the gap between fashion and consumer technology. Although a number of products from these brands tend to fall into the fashion side of the spectrum rather than the function, their ambitions live on. (Understandably so.)
The stainless steel Tambour Horizon has a 1.2-inch circular display crafted from sapphire glass, which lights up when a notification arrives thanks to 24 LED lights built beneath the so-called Monogram dial ring. This year LV upgraded the processor the Tambour runs on, choosing Qualcomm's top-of-the-line Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform.
Perhaps the biggest change was made to the smartwatch's software. Louis Vuitton decided to abandon Wear OS, the Google-made smartwatch system, joining companies like Motorola, Huawei and OnePlus in developing a proprietary operating system. The absence of Wear OS has several implications, including the fact that Tambour Horizon no longer supports Google Pay. Instead, wearers can turn to Alipay, a hugely popular Chinese payment app owned by Jack Ma's Ant Group.
The to-be-named OS, which is compatible with Android and iOS, has a basic feature set including an alarm, stopwatch, notifications for calls, emails and messages. On the health side, there is heart rate monitoring and a daily step count, served up via the My Day tab. You can also keep track of air quality and weather as well as a travel itinerary or explore LV's curated city guides in the My Travel section. In terms of personalization, you can select from various watch faces to change the always-on display or even add your own initials in a color or font of your choice. Unfortunately, the watch was unable to pair with the companion app, Louis Vuitton Connect, on either my iPhone 12 Pro Max or my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra so I didn't get the chance to test these features. A spokeswoman for LV said a software update will be available on Jan. 14.
Although LV wants to be seen as a more innovative company, this digital timepiece isn't quite for the average tech consumer due to things such as its limited features coupled with a prohibitive price tag. But LV isn't necessarily seeking to cater to tech geeks or the average shopper. Instead, the uber-luxe timepiece will likely appeal to big-spending fashionistas looking for a tech fix. After all, this is a haute couture smartwatch from a French heritage brand known for commanding eye-watering prices for its luxurious products. LV is traditionally synonymous with posh designer handbags, but the French label has expanded its portfolio through high-end consumer electronics for several years now. Last year, it launched a portable speaker and prior to that a range of colorful wireless earbuds emblazoned with its signature logo.
The Tambour Horizon Light It Up went on sale worldwide on Friday via Louis Vuitton's websites and retail stores. In the US, the Tambour Horizon will start at $3,300 for the polished steel model and steps up to $3,600 for the matte black and brown models.
Case diameter: 44 millimeters
Case material: Stainless steel
Front and back material: Sapphire glass
Display: 1.2-inch AMOLED touch screen
Display resolution: 390x390-pixels (327 ppi)
Water resistance: Up to 30 meters
Battery: Quoted to last for one day
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100
Optical heart rate sensor
Colors: Polished steel, matte brown and matte black