Grrrrrin And ‘Bear’ It: The Slim d’Hermès Grrrrr
So often Hermès does exactly what you would not expect a luxury watch company to do, even if you already know this Parisian powerhouse stands for the playful and poetic. And the new Slim d’Hermès Grrrrr is a beautiful case in point.
Like other motifs found on this brand’s artistic, playful timepieces, the Grrrrr’s design originates in a beautiful scarf. The Slim d’Hermès Milles Fleurs du Mexique is another watch whose decorative dial began life as a motif for an Hermès scarf.
The original motif for the Grrrrr was painted for a delicate Hermès silk cashmere pocket square created by artist Alice Shirley for Hermès’s autumn/winter 2016 collection.
Shirley’s artistic disciplines include drawing, painting in oils, acrylic, watercolor, ink, sculpture, print making, and photography. Born in 1984 in London, she writes and illustrates children’s books, including her own edition of Aesop’s Fables (2009, Pavilion Children’s Books) and The Gentle Lion and the Little Owlet (Anova Books, 2012). But what has really brought her attention as an artist is her ongoing collaboration with Hermès Paris, where she has created whimsical designs for silk scarves, enamel jewelry, beachwear, and home objects since 2012.
In an extensive interview with Buro247.sg, Shirley explains why she draws animals.
“I make work about nature to understand it better. Every new piece involves extensive research, whether it is about animal behavior and movement, plant reproduction, mineral deposits from extinct coral reefs, plate tectonics, or the way sea-monsters make me feel about the open ocean. All research helps me understand how the world is put together, and therefore help me understand my place in it better,” she disclosed. “I can explore the emotions that all this information brings and make work that reflects that. Humans are conspicuous by their absence in my work. This is reflective of my opinion that wild nature is best at recovering when left to its own devices, and allowed to re-assert itself.”
Grrrrr: gruff grizzly, well applied
The gruff grizzly on this watch’s dial is a miniature painting in enamel that needed 100 hours of work to come to fruition: several layers of enamel, with intermediate firings, topped off by a translucent fondant to seal it.
The painting is applied with the same sort of precision used to manufacture the movement.
The patient painter begins by sketching the motif lightly onto the dial blank with a pencil. Once satisfied with the outlines, the artist prepares a palette of vibrant paints. Using a very delicate brush containing just a couple of natural hairs, color made up of crushed glass particles is very carefully applied to the motif.
This color process is repeated about 20 times, firing the fragile dial covered with patiently applied enamel in an oven heated to 90°C in between each application so that it thoroughly dries. Only this way can the artist judge the desired shade of the enamel and know exactly when to stop applying it to reach the artistic vision.
In the unlikely event the owner tires of the artwork on the dial side, this Slim d’Hermès timepiece features a sapphire crystal case back to allow the wearer to look in on the tranquil beat of the beautifully finished automatic Caliber H1950.
But that day is unlikely to ever come: while time is certainly secondary in the artistic world of this bushy bear, it certainly is not to the wearer of this exquisite work of art.
For more information, please visit www.usa.hermes.com/watches/slim-d-hermes/watches.
Quick Facts Slim d’Hermès Grrrrr
Case: white gold, 39.5 mm
Dial: white gold with miniature painting in enamel
Movement: automatic Hermès Caliber H1950 with 50-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 6 pieces
Price: €83,000 / 90,000 Swiss francs
Also published on Medium.