Hermès Team Test: WorldTempus X Hermès
This week, the editorial team encounters the Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur
Hermès' ability to reinvent itself and to surprise us with an approach to time that is always original and elegant fuels my admiration and confidence in fine watchmaking. Of course, as co-founder of GMT magazine, I am never indifferent to watches that indicate the time in several time zones. The Arceau Le Temps Voyageur d'Hermès is as pleasant to wear as it is to look at, with a very simple reading of the time: home time is indicated in the aperture at noon, and that of local time on the small suspended dial which symbolically changes place according to the place visited, on which it is juxtaposed. The delicate decoration of the rotor on the back remains in the spirit of apparent sobriety of this little jewel, whose tone on tone aesthetic continues with the magnificent Hermès bracelet. The whole is light and harmonious. Enough to cross the time zones with ease.
Arceau Le Temps Voyageur © WorldTempus/Brice Lechevalier
The Hermès watch collections have nothing left to prove. Their creations are always beautiful, refined and elegant, with a certain whimsy that requires enormous know-how to execute. In fact, Hermès always pushes us to look at objects, at time and at the world in a different way. This GMT watch — Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur — is no exception to the rule. Like Galileo overturning our certainties, Hermès does the same by making the time revolve around the earth. Behind this real technical and artistic feat, Hermès offers us a very simple watch. But isn't simplicity the hallmark of ultimate luxury? When effort, material and technique disappear in favour of beauty, the watch becomes Art.
Arceau Le Temps Voyageur © WorldTempus/Jean-Christophe Teigner
For me, the worldtime complication is by far the most useful of all the complications. There isn’t a week that goes by without me typing “What is the local time in city”? into Google at some moment in time. So, imagine having a watch where all you have to do is look at the dial to know if you are in “polite time” or “rudely after hours”! That joy would be multiplied by 100 if I could check the local time of my overseas colleagues on this brand-new Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur made in collaboration with movement master, Jean-François Mojon from Chronode. The beauty of this rather whimsical movement is that it is so much more than a worldtimer complication, Mojon has created a system that is child’s play to both use and read, (N.B: Most worldtimers are not only intimidating to use, but can also be impossible to read if you don’t have super-sonic vision)! The Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is proof that even if complications are incredibly complex to make, they don’t necessarily need to be complicated for the wearer to use, and that is a huge plus for the watch’s owner, not to mention all their overseas friends!
Arceau Le Temps Voyageur © WorldTempus/Sophie Furley
The watchmaking philosophy at Hermès has always revolved around a certain playfulness, an appreciation of the importance of enjoying your timepiece and having fun with it. Even with a highly pragmatic and utilitarian complication such as the second time zone, Hermès manages to express itself with flair and unexpected perspectives. The Arceau Le Temps Voyageur, like many time-zone watches, features a dial depicting a map of the world. If you take a closer look, however, you’ll realise that the map of the world on the dial of the Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is not a map of our world. Instead, it’s a fantasy world, conceived by French graphic designer Jérôme Colliard and first seen on an Hermès silk square — the Planisphère d’un monde équestre. Home time is displayed via an aperture at the 12 o’clock dial position, while local time is indicated by a subdial, which rotates around the map disc with the push of a button on the case middle at the 9 o’clock position and points to the time-zone city with the aid of a small red triangular marker. It’s a refreshing take on this function, stimulating not only to the mind, but also to the touch as — it has to be said — the tactile and sensory feedback of pushing the time-zone button and watching the sub-dial spring around the watch is simply delightful.
Arceau Le Temps Voyageur © WorldTempus/Suzanne Wong