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Hermès - Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente (or the story of Pegasus and the shark)

Hermès Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente (or the story of Pegasus and the shark)

We review the new complication from Hermès and explain the parts that its owner will never see.

Hermès has carved out its own horological niche by playing with our perceptions of time. It all started with the Cape Cod Grandes Heures in 2008, which accelerated and slowed down time at different periods in the day, but it really took off with the Arceau Temps Suspendu in 2010, which won the men’s watch prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2011. This watch allowed the wearer to stop time dead in its tracks at the push of a button (or even reverse time on the ladies’ model. The journey continued with the Dressage l’Heure Masquée in 2014, in which a button had to be pressed to coax the hour hand out from behind the minute hand and to display the second time zone. All of these timepieces embody the intemporal design of Hermès yet add an off-beat dimension to telling the time.

The story now continues on a positive note with a new complication that draws a focus on a particular 60 minute period. It is inspired by the childhood excitement ahead of a particular moment, where the build-up to that moment is often as important as the moment itself. An emotional crescendo builds in anticipation of boarding a flight for a well-earned holiday, for example, or the countdown to a start of a World Cup final. The specific moment of your choice, but the Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente will give the proper horological attention to the build-up.

The Heure Impatiente (“impatient hour” in French, as you probably guessed), allows you to set a specific time of day (it doesn’t have to be in hourly increments) when your one-hour countdown will automatically be activated. You can then watch the 60 minutes before your chosen moment elapse on a sectorial retrograde scale at 6 o’clock before that big moment is welcomed with a singular chime.

Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente (or the story of Pegasus and the shark)

As with all of the playful Hermès complications, the emphasis is on an interaction with the wearer. Yet a complication that seems relatively straightforward is actually quite complicated to implement. Unlike minute repeaters and other striking watches, the Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente only has 60 minutes (from the moment the countdown is started) to accumulate the energy required for the single chime. This is where the shark and the horse come in.

The shark and the horse

The key to the whole complication is a complex piece that has been produced by Mimotec. Since it is cut by light, it can be any shape without costing any more to produce, so the designers at Agenhor, who make the complication exclusively for Hermès, made it in the form of a horse, since its shape lent itself to this form. Dubbed the “Pegasus” lever, this component pivots about a central point. At one end is a feeler that is picked up by a pointed cam that causes the lever to pivot about its axis. This in turn moves a set of teeth at the opposite end to operate the sectorial 60-minute scale that counts down to the chosen hour. At the same time a helicoidal spring is gradually tensioned to power the hammer that will hit the gong to chime the solitary note. The pointed cam could have been just that – a cam with a point whose angle corresponded to that required to tilt the lever, but the movement constructors immediately saw a shark’s fin and thus decided to design and decorate this cam as a shark. Neither the shark nor the “Pegasus” lever are visible through the case back and will thus remain hidden permanently hidden from view to anyone but a watchmaker who may need to service the movement.

Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente (or the story of Pegasus and the shark)

The helicoidial spring

Even though the Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente only chimes once, the mechanism to produce this chime is highly complicated. The unusually shaped “Pegasus” lever only has 60 minutes to store the energy required for the chime, so the optimum use of this energy is vital in producing the long sound required. To achieve this, a helicoidal spring – something very unusual in watchmaking – is used to store the energy. Also unusual is the gong, which has a square cross section and a conical shape that is wider at the end. Agenhor tested no fewer than 28 different prototypes of the spring before they found the right shape. Completing a trio of unusual components that make up the striking work, the hammer also has an odd shape, with a rounded stud on the end to prevent any vertical movement and thus absorb shocks. There is also a spring to return the hammer to its original position as soon as it has struck the gong in order to ensure the purity of the sound.

Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente (or the story of Pegasus and the shark)

The new complication is fitted to the Hermès H1912 calibre and housed inside a Hermès Slim case, the former providing room for the striking complication, the latter room for the clear displays and the numerals with the singular Hermès typeface.

Technical characteristics

Mechanical self-winding, Swiss made
Manufacture Hermès H1912 movement
23.9 mm in diameter, 3.7 mm thick
193 components, 28 jewels
28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Circular-grained and snailed mainplate, bridges and oscillating weight satin-brushed and adorned with the signature H pattern

“Impatient Hour” module
31.96 mm in diameter, 2.2 mm thick
131 components, 8 jewels
Mainplate and bridges adorned with Côtes de Genève

Hours, minutes, “Impatient Hour” function

Opaline silvered
Black transferred Arabic numerals and minute circle
Sunburst chapter ring, snailed centre and counter
4N-coated and sandblasted or blue lacquered baton-type hands

Round, 40.5 mm in diameter
5N 750 rose gold (≈ 38.1 g)
Sapphire crystal and case-back with anti-glare treatment
Water-resistant to 3 bar
20 mm lug width

Abyss blue matt alligator
Pin buckle in 5N 750 rose gold (≈ 4.89 g), 17 mm


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