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Hermès tells time through play and imagination

Audrey Simon
Audrey Simon7/4/2022 03:20 PM GMT+08  • 4 min read
Hermès tells time through play and imagination
Hermès tells time through play and imagination
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All creatures great and small

Hermès tells time through animals in a timepiece that pushes the boundaries when it comes to play and imagination

Hermès Horloger always has a story that accompanies its products. In the case of its latest timepieces, the maison encourages the idea to play like a free spirit. Under the skilled hands of the talented watchmakers and in-house artisans, wood marquetry, miniature painting and engraving are created to embody a unique and playful animal composition.
Here are two amazing examples: Arceau Hermès Story watches capture the essence of fantasy animals such as the tiger and a princess on a wooden horse. The tiger version which only has a 12-piece limited edition features a tiger composed of wood marquetry. The feline with turquoise eyes combines plum, tulipwood, ash-olive, maple and sycamore in 290 pieces of wood patiently cut, stained and assembled one by one. The tiger alone requires five days of work to render all its nuances and subtleties.

Accompanying the tiger who seems to be on his way on a magical journey with butterflies, hummingbirds, turtles and peacocks which make the dial come alive with hand-engraved and painted gold applique. Along with these animals, rabbits and praying mantises are miniature-painted in various layers that endow them with subtle depth achieved after five days of artisanal devotion. This playful yet technical composition is framed by a 38 mm rose gold case featuring a bezel set with 82 diamonds.
Another scene featured on a white gold version in a 24-piece limited and numbered edition only features a miniature painting on mother-of-pearl. This labour-intensive watch is varnished, polished and smoothed by hand, it is adorned with 20 or so layers of multiple colours designed to reveal its subtle nuances and shimmering reflections. Eight days and a few firings in the oven later, the princess appears on her wooden horse at the heart of an animal circle where toucan, turtle, peacock, swallow and rabbit vie for your attention.
These stories come from the brilliant mind of English designer John Burton, who recently designed the Hermès Story silk scarf in the spring/summer 2022 collection. In this work, he reinterprets the uses of social media, the singular art of staging, and an off-beat universe that he depicts beneath the gaze of various fauna amused by the selfie exercise.
The giraffe has donned his best bow tie, the toucan his top hat and the turtle his bowler hat. At the centre of the scene, a rider on a wooden horse in full regalia captures this improbable animal reunion, which has already given rise to a few “likes”.
This fanciful spirit of the Maison has driven the Arceau since 1978 when Henri d’Origny saw a watch with half of it hidden under a leaf. He was amused by the idea — deliberately ditching any idea of perfect symmetry. His Arceau would also have only one lug and he wanted it to be shaped like a stirrup, evoking the equestrian ancestry of Hermès the saddlemaker.

See also: Great achievements require time

Technical Specs
Limited and numbered edition of 12
Movement: Manufacture
Hermès H1912 movement Mechanical self-winding, Swiss-made
Diameter: 23.30mm
Thickness: 3.9mm
Power reserve: 50 hours Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour / 4Hz
Functions: Hours, minutes
Decoration: Circular-grained and snailed baseplate, satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight, with signature ‘sprinkling of Hs’ pattern, rhodium-plated oscillating weight Case: Shape/size: Round, 38 mm diameter
Material: Rose gold, bezel set with 82 diamonds
Glass: Anti-glare
sapphire crystal and case-back Water-resistant to 3 bar
Dial: Dial with miniature painting on agate, wood marquetry, engraved and hand-painted gold appliques Strap: Chantilly alligator

Limited and numbered edition of 24
Movement: Manufacture Hermès H1912 movement Mechanical self-winding, Swiss-made Diameter: 23.30mm Thickness: 3.9mm
Power reserve: 50 hours Frequency: 28,800 vibrations
per hour / 4Hz
Functions: Hours, minutes
Decoration: Circular-grained and snailed baseplate, satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight, with signature ‘sprinkling of Hs’ pattern, rhodium-plated oscillating weight Case: Shape/size: Round, 38 mm diameter
Material: White gold, bezel set with 82 diamonds
Glass: Anti-glare sapphire crystal and case-back Water-resistant to 3 bar
Dial:
Miniature painted on natural white mother of pearl
Strap:
Pastel blue alligator

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