Hermès Two new Arceau TGM watches
Horses and Hermès are an essential pairing. With the Arceau collection, a stirrup is the inspiration for a supremely elegant wristwatch.
Hermès is one of those brands, along with Dior, Chanel and Cartier, that continues to fly the flag for the French luxury industry all over the world. However, Hermès’ story began, almost by accident, in Germany, in the town of Krefeld, then part of France, where Thierry Hermès was born in 1801. He became a master harness-maker and saddler, and set up shop in Paris in 1837. The high quality of his leather work quickly established a reputation for the Hermès name, well before the company diversified into bags, fashion clothing, perfumes and watches.
From horse to wristwatch
But watches have in fact been part of the Hermès’ story for more than a century. Around 1910, Emile Hermès made his daughter a special pocket watch that she could attach to her wrist, where it was easier for her to consult while riding.
(Or, when horses inspire horological innovation…) After working with various watchmakers including Movado, Universal Genève, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin beginning in the 1930s, Hermès took a decisive step in 1978 and founded La Montre Hermès S.A., headquartered in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. The Arceau, inspired by the shape of a stirrup, was one of the first products to come out of Hermès’ new watchmaking division. Those horses, again…
Poetry and artistic crafts
Designed by Hermès’ artistic director Henri d’Origny, the Arceau, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, is an icon of Hermès’s watch collections. What makes this classically simple round watch subtly different are its asymmetrical bracelet fittings: the larger upper bow stretches between 10 and 2 o’clock, while the lower bracelet fitting sits flush with the case. The slanted Arabic numerals and small round knurled crown are testament to the company’s loyalty to tradition, originality and elegance. The Arceau collection is also home to some of the company’s most iconic, poetic and artistic watch creations, including Le Temps Suspendu, Lift Flying Tourbillon, Millefiori and H Cube.
TGM hazelnut and blue
Hermès is unapologetically French, as its watch model names attest. There are no “XS”, “Large” or “Big” models here. Sizes go from TPM or Très Petit Modèle (very small model) to TGM or Très Grand Modèle (very big model), with in-between sizes PM – Petit Modèle, MM – Moyen Modèle and GM – Grand Modèle. The latest two Arceau models unveiled by Hermès are 40mm TGM variations, in stainless steel with a 30m water resistance. The first has an unusual hazelnut-coloured dial, echoed by a matching alligator leather strap. Vertical guilloché chevrons decorate the centre, with the surrounding numerals set against a sunray-brushed background. Hour, minute and second functions are driven by the self-winding manufacture H1837 movement – the number is a nod to the year Hermès was founded – which has a power reserve of 50 hours, and is satin-brushed with circular graining and snailing. The watch is a picture of elegance both inside and out, and comes with a price tag of 5,000 Swiss francs.
The lacquered dial and matt alligator leather strap set the tone for this deep blue watch, contrasting with the powdered silver numerals, rhodium-plated hands and polished steel case. A Swiss-made quartz movement drives the hour, minute and second functions. The price is 3,050 Swiss francs.