The Rake of the Year 2023 — Jean's Arc

Jean Arnault’s work in the past year has been beguiling to behold and an object lesson in leadership. In fact, there have been few more deserving winners of the Rake of the Year prize than this 25-year-old dynamo.

The Rake of the Year 2023 — Jean's Arc

Had he accomplished just one of the following things in 2023, Jean Arnault would have been deserving of the Rake of the Year award.

Firstly, he recreated Louis Vuitton’s iconic Tambour watch, which was launched 21 years ago. It is now a sleek, beautiful and unique lugless, integrated-bracelet, sports- chic watch that invokes the signature codes of its predecessor while exuding a fresh dynamic.

Secondly, in picking up the mantle left by Harry Winston and the legendary Opus Watches, Jean has used Louis Vuitton as a platform to showcase the best in independent watchmaking, beginning with his debut collaboration with Rexhep Rexhepi.

Illustration: Supper.

Thirdly, he has become a champion of emerging talent in independent watchmaking, founding the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives to identify and support the rising stars of his generation.

Fourth has been the phenomenal relaunch of the luxury watchmaker Daniel Roth, beginning with a faithful double- sided tourbillon. If you study the watch closely, you will notice that every detail — such as the Kari Voutilainen-created dial — is an elevation in quality from the previous timepiece.

Finally, Jean has staged the first act in the relaunch of the Gerald Genta brand, in partnership with the great designer’s widow, Evelyne Genta. The Donald Duck retrograde minute-jump hour-minute repeater created for Only Watch is a fantastic start to this new adventure. But the fact that 25-year-old Arnault has achieved all of these things in one year is staggering, and a sign that he is becoming one of the greatest leaders in the luxury watch industry.

Just as remarkably, Jean has accomplished these feats while remaining approachable, kind, generous and humble, demonstrating that he is the personification of a new generation of ethical leadership. 

Read the full story in Issue 91, available now.