Hermès About Watch Complications…
Hermès has taken on a new challenge in its horological career, with style. The maison presents an Arceau minute repeater — queen of watchmaking complications — combined with an equally prestigious flying tourbillon.
The fascination of the minute repeater, born around 1680 and perfected in 1783 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, remains intact today. It is a mine of ingenuity, whose mechanism combines the finesse of the gears and the accuracy of the sound, to ring out the hour (a low tone), the quarters (a high tone followed by a low tone) and the minutes (a high tone) on demand.
Is it any surprise that any ambitious watchmaker ends up crossing paths with the minute repeater? “And why not?" smiles Philippe Delhotal, Artistic Director at Hermès. “With the Arceau Lift Tourbillon Répétition Minutes, we wanted to tell a story about this highly reputed complication, considered to be the holy grail of watchmaking, and offer a different reading of it".
Watchmaking, According to Hermès
The Arceau Lift Tourbillon Répétition Minutes is part of a desire to affirm Hermès' watchmaking excellence, alongside watches such as the Arceau Lift Tourbillon, or the Slim d'Hermès Quantième Perpétuelnor GMT. "Hermès is highly appreciated for its grand complications," said Philippe Delhotal. "The complications known as Temps Imaginaire (editor’s note: a concept introduced in 2011 with the Arceau Le Temps Suspendu) — were developed more for their ability to tell a story than for their complexity. But there is a parallel of know-how between the two approaches, and always with a singular interpretation of time".
Hermès Slim © Joel Von Allmen
A History of Movements
While the brand can count on Vaucher Manufacture — of which it holds a stake — for the production of its mechanical movements, it also willingly turns to other specialists. "We will look for know-how where it is. We are proud of these human adventures," continues Philippe Delhotal. For example, Hermès called on Agenhor's expertise for the Arceau Le Temps Suspendu — with hands positioned on demand according to an imaginary time — as well as for the perpetual calendar module and the GMT module of the Slim d’Hermès. The caliber of the first Arceau Lift, equipped with a flying tourbillon and launched in 2013, comes from the workshops of La Joux-Perret, a tourbillon specialist. The most recent Arceau L'Heure de la Lune includes a module developed by Chronode.
Arceau © Hermès
Arceau © Hermès
The Watchmaker’s Grail, Reached on Horseback
For the creation of the demanding Arceau Lift Tourbillon Répétition Minutes, Hermès once again called upon an expert in the field: master watchmaker Pierre-Laurent Favre (MHC). “It was a very beautiful meeting. He was able to find the direction we wanted to give to this minute repeater. We were very meticulous about the sound, and we had to work on the gongs to give the piece the full sonic scope it deserved.”
Intensely horological — through its mechanism, but also through the traditional decorations of its movement — the Arceau Lift Tourbillon Répétition Minutes interprets the complication according to the codes of Hermès. A horse-shaped opening on the dial reveals the minute repeater mechanism, housed in an emblematic Arceau case. This equine design is still very beautifully declined on the back bridges. One detail so totally Hermès: the rubies are judiciously placed in the composition — as an eye and a muzzle! Or the double H-shaped flying tourbillon cage is based on the "Lift" motif of the Arceau Lift of 2014, inspired by the ironwork of the Hermès store at the Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris, including the elevator, or “lift” in British English, which names the Arceau models with flying tourbillons!
Arceau Lift © Hermès
The Arceau Lift Tourbillon Répétition Minutes is available in unique pieces — for now in white gold with blue lacquered dial and in pink gold with white lacquered dial. Dong, Dong, Dong, Dong, Dong, Dong, Ding/Dong, Ding/Dong, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding! So, what time is it? Time to make your choice of course! Or to dream that you are galloping at full speed through the world of Hermès...