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Hermès takes us on an escape that makes us feel that we can be everywhere at once

Audrey Simon
Audrey Simon5/24/2022 10:06 PM GMT+08  • 5 min read
Hermès takes us on an escape that makes us feel that we can be everywhere at once
Hermès takes us on an escape that makes us feel that we can be everywhere at once
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At every watch fair or exhibition, the focus is always on the timepieces that take centre stage in glass vitrines. What gives these watches a little more than just mere still models are the design that is created around them.
At Watches & Wonders in Geneva this year Hermès gave us an exclusive trip around the world through an installation that guides us into the universe of Hermès time. The inspiration? The Arceau Le temps voyageur watch which is an ode to discovery. It combines the rigorous discipline of an object designed to last through time with a singular approach to mechanical watchmaking, it offers a playful and fantastic vision of the hours of the world.
Tasked to create a booth design based on this vision was Canadian artist Sabrina Ratté, who is well-known for her practice to investigate the influence of digital and physical spaces and the interplay between these surroundings and subjectivity.
Via a video chat, Ratté told Options that the project was a year in the making when she first presented her concept to Hermès. She says, “We had many meetings talking about the watch and the concept of it. To make this concept work, I had to find my take on it and then elaborate it.”


What Ratté found intriguing and in- spiring was that the Arceau Le temps voyageur watch’s design is a reflection of time and space, and how new technology plays with the perspective of time. With this, she has come up with the idea of using satellite imagery by choosing different topography and transforming it the way she sees it.
The Arceau Le temps voyageur watch offers the wearer an escape beyond mere travel: the discovery of an unreal world where borders are erased. Travel is very much the brand’s DNA where we are invited to go on a journey that is unique and conducive to curiosity, wonderment as well as reverie. It is all about setting out to meet the world with an open mind, daring to go further, and
travelling through objects.
Ratté’s work allows us to cross time and space by playing with these possibilities, the artist whisks us from one country to another and leads us through territories transformed by her imagination. Her challenge is the size of the project combined with numerous elements.
She says, “There are so many elements such as window displays that are interactive, so you can control the video and make it move faster or slower. So that you can see the watch from different angles. This is a new language for me and I had to find the right collaborator which was the Arceau Le temps voyageur watch.” To her, any project she works on always starts with images such as the ambience she wants to create.
The images she interpreted at the exhibition feature 12 interactive landscapes echoing various time zones. Inside the atrium, a monumental panorama unfolds before visitors. Looking up, they discover celestial cartography dotted with constellations.
The earth and the sky, seen from space or reflected by fragments of glass, merge in a harmonious choreography where time flows sometimes slowly, almost frozen, while occasionally accelerating and condensing. A kinetic mobile is suspended between heaven and earth, surrounded by watches that gravitate like satellites. Inspired by science fiction, technology and cinema, the terrestrial landscapes imagined by Ratté are transformed before our wondering gaze.

Arceau Le temps voyageur

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For Hermès, time is also an object. Rather than measuring, ordering, and seeking to control it, Hermès dares to explore another time, designed to arouse emotions, open up interludes and create spaces for spontaneity and recreation. This Hermes has done so brilliantly with the Arceau Le temps voyageur timepiece.
Crafted in platinum and titanium or entirely in steel, its round case with asymmetrical lugs reveals a new reading of world time. A gravitational counter that journeys across continents, moving from city to city, flying over time zones, escaping from tangible reality. As it travels, the face of the watch is transformed, opening up other dimensions.
Set against an intense black or deep blue background, the continents and oceans of this dreamlike universe stand out in relief and depth, adorned with subtle finishes: lacquered, sand-blasted, sunburst, transferred, or even powdered silver.
A stylistic, functional and spiritual interpretation of classic Haute Horlogerie complications roaming the hours of the world, the unique “Travelling time” mechanism developed exclusively for Hermès displays 24 time zones using a circular disc. From city to city, the satellite enables observers to discover the world and see all the hours of the planet at a glance.
This mobile counter occupying the dial space, along with the peripheral aperture at 12 o’clock indicating home time, is driven by an exclusive 122-component module, housed within a thickness of just 4.4 mm. Representing a genuine technical and aesthetic challenge, the “Travelling time” complication is integrated within the Hermès H1837 mechanical self-winding movement. The mechanism powers the display of hours, minutes and a dual-time display with city indication.
Two Arceau Le temps voyageur models — a 41 mm-diameter platinum iteration enhanced by a matt black DLC-treated titanium bezel and an all-steel 38 mm-diameter version — are fitted with alligator or Swift calfskin straps crafted in the Hermès Horloger workshops.

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