Introducing Slim d’Hermès: The Elegant New Backbone Of The Hermès Collection
Philippe Delhotal, creative director of La Montre Hermès, looked a bit apprehensive as he pulled out his new line to show me. He hadn’t had much feedback from anyone outside La Montre Hermès yet, and he was probably more than curious to know what others would think. Still, he needn’t have worried.
The Slim d’Hermès is . . . well, really so Hermès. Born of the desire to create an Hermès staple – in other words a wristwatch for everyday wear – it is the perfect synthesis of the things that Hermès does so well. Which means that it is by no means ordinary and beyond perfect in even the slightest detail.
A new classic
In other words, Delhotal was looking to create a new classic that, while imparting that strong Hermès je ne sais quoi, remains completely wearable in everyday situations: a backbone for Hermès’ expanding and interesting horological collection.
To achieve this, he needed two elements: one is an ultra-thin automatic movement created in collaboration with Hermès’ movement manufacturer Vaucher, which we’ll come back to in a bit.
Perhaps even more important, the second is an original look for the dial. The dial, of course, is the most crucial part of any watch. It is the component that hooks the potential buyer and reels him or her in.
It is the dial that most actually fall in love with, the rest is really just icing on the cake.
Knowing this, Delhotel decided to go the extra mile and hired Parisian graphic designer Philippe Apeloig, who in 2012 had already created graphical elements for the company such as the visual identity of the Saut Hermès event. Apeloig was, by the way, the design consultant to the Louvre from 1997 through 2003, after which he became its art director until 2007.
What Apeloig contributed to the Slim d’Hermès was a whole new typography for the dials’ numerals. As is plainly visible, this simple, elegant, lively typography comprises numerals that also contain a tiny bit of white space. This adds an airy element, gives the dial its own identity, and provides a sense of balance despite the large surfaces left on the dial. In other words: it’s simple, but not boring. Not by a long shot.
The font artistically combines with the elegant case characterized by a completely new lug shape and a reserved, opaline dial with austere baton-shaped hands. All of which works perfectly together to create a design that creates emotion without overwhelming the observer.
A full in-house watch
The quality of this creativity becomes crystal-clear when we also understand that this watch is close to being fully manufactured in-house. The case was made by case maker Joseph Erard, which is owned by Hermès. The dial was made by Natebar, also owned by La Montre Hermès. The straps are crafted right in the brand’s own Brügg, Switzerland factory.
And the movement maker, Vaucher, is partially owned by − you guessed it − Hermès. Since 2011, Vaucher has been developing an ultra-thin automatic caliber for the Slim d’Hermès collection.
The case’s sapphire crystal case back reveals a full view of the movement with its fine finish dominated by a sprinkling of Hs – even on the micro rotor, which neatly fits into the movement architecture and helps keep the height to its svelte 2.6 mm.
Hermès has also filled out the Slim d’Hermès collection with a perpetual calendar. To achieve this, Agenhor (which developed the complication) added a module only 1.4 mm in height to the ultra-thin movement, making for a total height of only four millimeters. For a perpetual calendar!
A complete line
The last time that Hermès introduced a whole new collection at once was in 1992 with the Cape Cod. Times have changed and La Montre Hermès has seriously evolved since then. The Slim d’Hermès perfectly expresses where the brand is today, and will doubtlessly appeal to a great range of customers for a very long time.
In fact, the unisex look is designed from the get-go to do so.
The Slim d’Hermès is available in three sizes: 25, 32, and 39.5 mm. While the smaller two models are driven by a quartz movement, the 39.5 mm size is outfitted with Hermès’ brand-new ultra-flat Caliber H1950.
All cases come in a choice of stainless steel or red gold, and the smaller versions may also be purchased with a ring of 70 Top Wesselton diamonds set into the bezel. The entry price for the 25 mm variation in stainless steel is €2,300.
It is quite a feat to be able to translate such elegance to this many case sizes and complication compositions in such perfect Hermès quality. Chapeau, Philippe and team!
For more information, please visit www.lesailes.hermes.com.
Quick Facts Slim d’Hermès 39.5
Case: 39.5 x 8.14 mm, red gold or stainless steel, transparent case back
Movement: automatic Caliber H1950, ultra-flat at 2.6 mm in height; micro rotor; 21,600 vph; very fine finishing
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds
Price: €6,000 stainless steel; €13,400 red gold
Quick Facts Slim d’Hermès Perpetual Calendar
Case: 39.5 x 9.06 mm, red gold, transparent case back
Movement: automatic Caliber H1950 with Agenhor calendar module, ultra-flat at 4 mm total height including module; micro rotor; 21,600 vph; very fine finishing
Functions: hours, minutes; perpetual calendar with date and month, GMT, day/night indication, moon phases, leap year indication
Price: 35,000 Swiss francs / €28,500
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Quick question. While doing some research on the Slim d’Hermès Perpetual Calendar, why is it that every photo that I’m seeing (not just here on Q&P but anywhere), there appears to be no leap year indicator hand? If I’m missing something I’d feel really foolish, but as I look at the pics, I’m left scratching my head… I figured if anyone could shed some light, it’d be you.
Thanks and keep up the great work here on Q&P!
The Slim d’Hermès Perpetual Calendar has a (shared) leap year hand and dial: it is inside the subdial at 9 o’clock displaying the month: 1,2,3,B (B is for “bissextile,” which is French for leap year). The leap year is indicated by the same hand that indicates the months.
It should be noted, though, that not all perpetual calendars have a leap year hand (to save space), but all perpetual calendars have to have a leap year indicator so that they can be set to the correct year in the four-year cycle.
In this and other reporting about this watch, one is given to understand that the movement was developed specifically for this watch. However, that does not seem to be the case. Revolution reports: “Four years ago, Philippe Delhotal, creative director of La Montre Hermès, stumbled across a beautifully designed timepiece from the 1950s in the maison’s archives. The elegance of this slim timepiece, while immediately catching his eye and attention, captured all the aesthetics and codes of the brand. A short while later, Delhotal was at Vaucher Manufacture, looking at different movements, when he was presented with a unique ultra-thin movement that had never been used before. Suddenly, these two separate encounters came together in his mind as a new collection. “When I saw the movement at Vaucher, I realized that both would go together perfectly; it was such luck,” explains Delhotal.”