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Hermès - Métiers d’Art watches

Hermès Métiers d’Art watches

Once again, animals and the famous silk squares inspire Hermès’ artistic crafts creations, executed in glass and miniature painting.

Hermès, the French luxury maison par excellence, has celebrated craftsmanship and artistic crafts ever since its founding in 1837. It has invested in keeping these traditions alive, by securing the services of craftsmen. In fact, the first trade represented at Hermès is that of artisan. Hermès’ vaunted expertise in saddle-making, leatherwork and glove-making, and the success of its famous silk squares, rest upon the work of these artisans. So it is not surprising that Hermès should wish to showcase this savoir-faire in its watch creations, as many other watchmakers have done. It has both the legitimacy and the creative resources to do so.

This January in Geneva, Hermès took part in the SIHH for the first time (until now, the company has only attended Baselworld), and celebrated the fortieth anniversary of Hermès’ watchmaking division. Its 2018 collection is varied, with a colourful women’s collection of quartz watches, the Arceau Casaque, the men’s Carré H and the Carré Cuir. But Hermès also presented some more prestigious models, complementing the métiers d’arts pieces that the Maison began producing some years ago.

Crystal

In 1995, Hermès bought the historic Cristalleries de Saint-Louis, which were founded 1586. Since being brought into Hermès’ artistic crafts stable in 2014, glassmaking and watchmaking have worked hand in hand, producing the original highly colourful Arceau Millefiori, inspired by the paperweights created by the Cristalleries in the 19th century. This year there are two new watches in black that build on the “millefiori” technique, the mark of the master glassmaker. A black dye is added to the incandescent glass, which is by the artisan into long rods like candy canes, which are then assembled to create patterns.

In the case of the new Arceau Pocket Millefiori and Arceau Lift Millefiori, the patterns resemble alligator scales. The first model is a 750 white gold watch with a diameter of 48 mm; the dial is made of Millefiori glass, and back cover is lined with matt black alligator leather, mirroring the pattern on the dial. Produced in a run of just ten, the hours and minutes functions of this timepiece are driven by the automatic mechanical movement Hermès H1837, with a power reserve of 50 hours. The movement finish, with its circular-grained and snailed mainplate, and its satin-brushed bridges and rotor, is commensurate with the meticulously finished dial.

Pièces métiers d’art

Arceau Pocket Millefiori, front and back views © Hermès

The Arceau Lift Millefiori has a similar dial, framed in a 43-mm 750 white gold case. The lower part is openworked, and a sapphire window reveals the tourbillon cage and the legend “Lift”. The Swiss made hand-wound Hermès H1923 movement, beating at 21,600 vph, supplies hours and minutes, and a comfortable power reserve of 90 hours. This timepiece comes in a limited edition of three, and is fitted with a black alligator strap with a 750 white gold pin buckle.

Pièces métiers d’art

Arceau Lift Millefiori © Hermès

Square inspiration

The classic silk scarf, the famous Hermès square, has been defying time and fashion for 80 years. With its generous 90 x 90 cm format and precious silk fabric, the Carré Hermès exists in more than 1500 references with as many different designs. Hermès Horlogerie has miniaturised them down to around 40 mm to decorate its watch dials.

The Slim d’Hermès Savana Dance is inspired by the scarf design of the same name, created in collaboration with an African artists’ collective from the Zulu culture. The natural white mother-of-pearl dial is decorated with a highly realistic miniature painting depicting a monkey being hunted by a leopard through luxuriant foliage. The meticulous painting reproduces perfectly the silky fur of the monkey and the petals of the protea. This limited edition of 12 pieces, in a 39.5 mm 750 white gold case, features the automatic Hermès movement H1950, with hand-chamfered bridges decorated with a repeating H pattern.

Pièces métiers d’art

Slim d'Hermès Savana Dance © Hermès

The Carré Mythique Phoenix Coloriages, created by Laurence Berthoumieux for the spring/summer 2016 collection, provides the backdrop for two eponymous new Arceau models, available in red and blue. A phoenix, occupying almost all of the white mother-of-pearl dial, spreads its wings and displays its plumage. The virtuosity of the artist is revealed in the rich palette of colours and the mastery of the design of the feathers and the surrounding foliage. Both versions, limited to 12 pieces, are in 750 white gold, and the hours and minutes are driven by the automatic manufacture H1837 movement. The watches are completed with a matching blue or red alligator strap.

Pièces métiers d’art

Carré Mythique Phoenix Coloriages © Hermès

The brand

“La Montre Hermès” has adopted an epicurean philosophy that values the creation of sober, contemporary timepieces.

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