Hermès Arceau Cheval d’Orient
Inspired by a service set by the Maison Hermès, Arceau Cheval d’Orient highlights the art of French lacquer through three horological compositions.
To give life to these equestrian scenes from a dream-like Orient, all the patience and meticulous care of an experienced lacquer specialist are devoted to taking up the challenge of miniaturisation. Inventiveness is also called upon, since French lacquer craftsmanship on a metal base, instead of the traditional wood or bamboo, requires a partial revisiting of the traditional techniques.
With a fine-tipped brush, the artisan applies the first layers of lacquer – pigments mixed with a copal-based varnish – while respecting three days’ drying time between each coat. Building the work in stages, the lacquer specialist repeats this alternating process of careful gestures for many weeks, adding up to 30 or so coats in order to achieve a deep black base.
Then, after outlining with a pencil the contours of the design on the lacquered dial, comes the preparation of the palette of colours, finely crushing and mixing the pigments to achieve the desired shades. The brush is deftly wielded to gradually bring the colours of the motif to life and reproduce the entire pattern. Ten days of drying are required before superimposing 20 layers of transparent lacquer, which also require lengthy drying. An ultimate polish then reveals the extreme finesse of a design imbued with the subtle depth and vivid colours that only lacquer can achieve.
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Each of these dials is assembled in a 41mm white gold Arceau case, driven by the Manufacture Hermès automatic H1837 calibre. The watches are fitted with a matt black alligator strap, equipped with a pin buckle in 750 white gold. They come in an limited numbered edition of 24 pieces.