Louis Vuitton may not be a name that most enthusiasts would ordinarily associate with a sophisticated new high complication but if their past efforts weren’t enough to make technically astute watch lovers take interest, the LVMH firm’s new “Match Racing” chronograph –the Tambour Twin Chrono –ought to make everyone sit up and take notice.

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The Match Racing Chronograph is designed to measure split time, but in an unusual way.  Starting the chronograph starts two separate chronographs, each of which has its own going train, mainspring barrel, and balance.  Pressing the stop button once stops the first chronograph while the second continues to run.  Pressing the stop button a second time stops the first chronograph, and at the same time, starts the “time differential” display while the second chronograph starts to run.

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Pressing the stop button again stops the time differential and second chronograph going trains.  At this point, one can see the first elapsed time, second elapsed time, and the difference between the two.

Finally, pushing the re-set button re-sets all counters to zero.

To coordinate these functions a complex, three level column wheel had to be constructed.  The column ensures proper interaction of the complex system of independent going trains and timing systems.

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There are a total of four balances: one for each of the timing dials, and one for the main timekeeping train.  Stopping each timing system is done by means of a pin mounted on a stop lever which blocks the balance; when the timing trains are started these same levers give each balance a “kick” to ensure that the balance is running at full amplitude, in order to ensure accurate timekeeping.

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The watch wears its complexity lightly –despite the enormous number of parts it’s surprisingly wearable and the lovely deep blue enamel dial gives it a subtle visual dazzle that makes it as much a design as an engineering statement, and a winning new debut from Louis Vuitton for 2013.

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