Another Sunday, another showdown! This week, two luxury integrated-bracelet sports watches with sub-seconds layouts and micro-rotor calibers face off. In the red corner, we have RJ defending the Louis Vuitton Tambour. In the blue corner, Thomas is fighting for the Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS. Who will emerge victorious? You decide!

Louis Vuitton and Chopard aren’t often mentioned in the same breath. Yet, they offer two rather similar watches. Each can give the other a run for its money. This week, we aim to find out which you, dear Fratelli, appreciate the most.

Watch Hand Styles

Breguet Classique 5157

Last week — Rolex Perpetual 1908 vs. Breguet Classique 5157

But first, let’s have a look at the results of last week’s Sunday Morning Showdown. Jorg and Daan pitted the recent Rolex Perpetual 1908 against the Breguet Classique 5157. The result was very, very clear. A whopping 70% of voters picked the Breguet over the Rolex! Looking at the comments section, however, did not reveal a single definitive reason why so many preferred the Breguet but, rather, a whole range of different motivations. Some people commented that the Rolex’s handset wasn’t quite right. Others simply felt that the Breguet was pure class. Of course, the heritage of Breguet swayed some people too. There was even a comparison of water resistance, which, eh…well, whatever floats your boat! In any case, the Breguet won!

With that out of the way, let’s get into today’s battle. RJ, take it away!

Louis Vuitton Tambour pocket shot

RJ: Louis Vuitton Tambour

When I think of Louis Vuitton, I think of one of our contributors, George Cramer, who sadly passed away last year. Besides being Mr. Cartier, he had an incredible taste for style in general. For example, you could often spot him using Louis Vuitton travel gear, and he was one of the first to introduce me to Louis Vuitton watches. He used to have a Tambour but also bought an Escale Time Zone watch in stainless steel after he wrote about it here on Fratello. From that moment on, I kept a close eye on Louis Vuitton as a watchmaker and was happily surprised to see the brand release a new generation of the classic Tambour, a luxury sports watch in steel, bicolor, and full gold.

Luxury watchmaking Louis Vuitton Tambour

The Tambour is a testament to Louis Vuitton’s dedication

In this week’s Sunday Morning Showdown, we’ve put the seemingly popular Alpine Eagle 41 XPS from Chopard against the new Tambour by Louis Vuitton. We put these two against each other because they both have integrated bracelets, their price points are somewhat close, and they both have a micro-rotor movement.

Now, both brands operate in the luxury market, where Louis Vuitton is also deeply rooted in fashion (and luggage, of course), and Chopard is well known for its jewelry and accessories. However, both brands are also incredibly serious about watches. While Chopard began as a watch company in 1860, Louis Vuitton started making high-end watches later. In 2011, LV acquired La Fabrique du Temps, a movement maker currently located near Geneva. Not much later, the brand also bought Léman Cadrans, a dial maker in Switzerland. Louis Vuitton takes watchmaking very seriously, and the new Tambour is the perfect example. For starters, the integrated bracelet is beautiful and elegant, with a curvier design than the usual suspects.

Louis Vuitton Tambour profile view

The level of detail

Louis Vuitton’s latest Tambour clearly shows the classic Tambour lines, but it’s thinner than before, measuring just 8.3mm thick. The case also measures 40mm wide and 44mm long. It shows a high level of detail, with a brushed profile, polished angles, and a sandblasted bezel with a raised Louis Vuitton brand name. The “lugs” show satin brushing with polished angles and are the starting point of the integrated bracelet. With its satin finish and high-polished centerpiece between the links, this bracelet reminds me of the Omega Constellation bracelet.

Louis Vuitton Tambour dial close-up

Though the dial of the Louis Vuitton Tambour might not have the Grand Seiko flavor that the Chopard Alpine Eagle has, it does have a lot of depth. The sandblasted and brushed sector dial with applied luminous numerals and chamfered indices shows that Louis Vuitton put a lot of care into the design and execution. The central part of the dial has a vertically brushed finish, while the small seconds sub-dial has concentric graining.

Louis Vuitton Tambour case back

Caliber LFT023

Louis Vuitton uses its LFT023 movement, a fully in-house-developed caliber with a 22K rose gold micro-rotor bearing a special “LV” motif. The bridges are quite beautifully finished, displaying sandblasted surfaces and raised, high-polished, and chamfered edges. This chronometer-certified movement also has a power reserve of 50 hours.

Louis Vuitton Tambour lifestyle shot

Is this watch perfect? No, it’s not, because there’s no such thing as a perfect watch anyway. For example, the minute hand does not touch the minute track on the dial. But that also has a particular charm, much like an imperfection on a model.

The bracelet construction on the Tambour is simply better

These integrated-bracelet watches from Louis Vuitton and Chopard offer fresh designs in an industry that thrives on “heritage.” The Chopard Alpine Eagle is a descendant and modern interpretation of the brand’s 1980s St. Moritz watch. The XPS version is the one I prefer from this collection, but sadly, I can’t get over the bracelet construction. The center links are simply caps that hold the screws that go in from the underside of the bracelet. For a watch that costs €24,400, I think that Chopard could have done a more thorough job on the bracelet construction, mainly because it’s such an essential part of this type of watch.

These Alpine Eagle and Tambour watches aren’t for everyone, and perhaps the former demonstrates that Chopard has been around in the watchmaking game longer than Louis Vuitton. Going all “watch snob” on these watches doesn’t make much sense because they target different audiences, and the Chopard probably has the advantage. But the Louis Vuitton Tambour is my pick for its level of finishing and cool design features. The retail price of the Louis Vuitton Tambour is €19,500. If you’d like to read Daan’s review of this watch, you can find it here.

Thomas: Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS

Where do I begin? I feel that the Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS is superior to the Louis Vuitton Tambour in so many ways. But I have felt that way about a showdown and lost before, so let me not cut any corners today. Let me try to make a solid case for the Chopard to ensure that the victory lands where it should.


Let’s kick things off with some good old specifications. Admittedly, these matter to me the least, but I know that they can sway the vote. These watches aim to be thin, and the Alpine Eagle is the slimmer of the two, albeit by a mere 0.1mm. At the same time, it has double the LV’s water resistance, at 100 meters. It also houses double the number of barrels (namely, two), giving it a 65-hour power reserve. The Tambour taps out at 50 hours. Both are chronometers, but the Chopard caliber L.U.C 96.40-L features the Poinçon de Geneve and it is 0.9mm thinner.

Now, if you follow my writing, you know that I would happily discard all of this if the Louis Vuitton Tambour had a significantly better design than the Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS. Let’s have a closer look, shall we?

Lex's Favorite Watches

The Alpine Eagle beats the Tambour in design

I know that we are discussing fashionable watches here, not true tool watches. Still, I feel great watch design always starts with functionality. Design for beauty’s sake only is a valid option, but I feel it raises the bar. You only get away with that if you really nail it. Otherwise, a design loses its relevance.

What I want to address is the dial layout of the Tambour, which is problematic. I have several issues with it, but let me start with the minute track. Rarely have I seen a more prominent, ultra-legible minute track. The minute hand, unfortunately, lives nowhere near it. This means it is just a decorative ring, and, as described above, it had better be stunningly decorative then. It isn’t. It is just a minute track.

Then there are the proportions. The hands are too skinny for the dial, and the sub-dial is too small. Lastly, if you feel the need to write your brand name around the bezel, you have lost me. Admittedly, I do like the frosted finishing on the movement. It contrasts beautifully with the polished edges and the 22K rose gold rotor.

Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS

The Alpine Eagle XPS is a thing of beauty

Okay, let me focus on my contender from here on out. The Alpine Eagle is one of the few newer watches in its genre that is both attractive and not derivative. This version, in particular, rubs me the right way. I don’t see Grand Seiko in this dial at all. The combination of the erratic, deep texture with the salmon color is absolutely unique. I particularly like how coarse it looks, contrasting the very fine and clean finish of the watch’s exterior. I know that Roman numerals are divisive among the watch community. Or maybe they’re more unpopular than divisive per se. On the Alpine Eagle, however, they are almost a necessity. The watch has that ’80s St. Moritz chic to it that is so well represented by the three Roman numerals.

I get RJ’s comment about the bracelet. It isn’t the most solid-feeling one out there, and I do value a nice and rigid bracelet. Stylistically, though, it works wonders with the case thanks to its narrow, polished band and hidden clasp. Putting it all together, the Alpine Eagle is a very attractive, off-the-beaten-path choice. As RJ said, you will have to part ways with €24,400, but I feel the jump from the LV is justified.

Your choice: Louis Vuitton Tambour or Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS

There you have it. Two slim, integrated-bracelet sports watches in steel with micro-rotor movements and sub-seconds at six. Which do you prefer? Do you like the clean and curvaceous Tambour? Or would you rather have the ’80s-chic Alpine Eagle? Cast your vote, and let us know your reasons in the comments section below!

Louis Vuitton Tambour vs. Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS