Hermès Presents Seriously Playful Springtime Watches At Baselworld 2014
Hermès’ introduced two exceptional timepieces at Baselworld 2014: a playfully complicated watch called Dressage L’heure masquée and Arceau Millefiori, which features an artisanal crystal dial made by Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis, an Hermès manufactory in Alsace, France.
The new Dressage L’heure masquée (“Time Veiled”) contains a complication that “hides” the hour in dual time zones when a button is pressed. It is a complicated timepiece that is nonetheless dressily masculine in its powerful 42 mm stainless steel or pink gold case. Dressage L’heure masquée is powered by a Vaucher movement, with a Vaucher module enabling the time to be “veiled” on demand.
Hermès owns 25 percent of Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier so the automatic winding caliber H1925 is effectively an in-house manufacture movement exclusive to Hermès. Hermès also fully owns case maker Joseph Erard (Hermès’ historical case supplier) and Natéber, a dial maker in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Quill & Pad talked to Luc Perramond, CEO of La Montre Hermès, regarding these new introductions at Baselworld.
“Our inspiration came from regulators,” Perramond explains. Head of design for La Montre Hermès Philippe Delhotal says that the development of this piece took three years. “We brainstormed with the technical teams at Vaucher to find the best way to express it.”
Time Veiled is in Hermès’ Dressage collection, while the other ultra-playful timepiece launched in 2011, Arceau Time Suspended (Le Temps Suspendu), was part of the Arceau collection. I asked Perramond why the firm chose to spread them around like that.
“Dressage is a strong product line alongside Cape Cod and Arceau, all of which host our manufacture pieces,” he explains. “In 2008, we chose the Cape Cod line to present the Grandes Heures, which was the first singular complication we presented. Then in 2011, Arceau was indeed chosen for Le Temps Suspendu as it is a line that very much reflects the DNA of our equestrian roots. Consequently, we decided to use the Dressage line to bring a high-end manufacture touch and to highlight the high craftsmanship behind this new product.”
Springtime in glass
Alongside this spectacular new complication, Hermès also presents an elegant artisanal timepiece called the Arceau Millefiori (which means “a thousand flowers” in Italian). Both this and a spectacularly feminine pocket watch are outfitted with handmade crystal dials created by the Hermès subsidiary, Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis.
“The idea for these timepieces came about from Saint-Louis’ magnificent nineteenth-century paperweights, which are beautiful creations,” Perramond says. “We were so excited when after several attempts we finally succeeded as this material is so delicate to be cut so very thinly.”
In fact, it is only after the final cut has been made that the hand-blown crystal reveals whether it can be used in one of these rare Hermès wristwatches or not.
This year at Baselworld, Hermès has not shied away from revealing the depths of its commitment to artisanal crafts as displayed by several new watches: the Nantucket Cape Cod with a new silver alloy for its case; the Arceau Cristal Chevaux Sauvages, which features an engraved crystal dial; the Arceau Témari with mother-of-pearl marquetry; and the Arceau Tourbillon Email, a highly limited set of two enamel designs created by famed enameler Anita Porchet.
For more information, please visit www.hermes.com.
Quick Facts Dressage L’heure masquée
Case: 40.5 mm, pink gold or stainless steel
Functions: hours, minutes; second time zone; “veil” of time
Movement: automatic Caliber H1926
Limitation: 500 pieces in pink gold, 1,000 in stainless steel
Quick Facts Arceau Millefiori
Case: 41 or 34 mm, white gold
Functions: hours, minutes
Movement: manually wound Caliber H1912 (34 mm) or H1837 (41 mm)
Dial: Hand-blown and –cut crystal in four different designs
Limitation: 24 pieces for each design and size