Slim d’Hermès Marche du Zambèze: Celebrating Exotic Arts With African Vibes In Every Detail
The dial is the unmistakable face of a watch. What appears at first glance to be so effortlessly flawless is one of the greatest challenges in the process of producing a timepiece.
Like a tabula rasa, this small disk with the proportions of a medium-sized coin offers endless possibilities for composition depending on the genre and purpose of the watch. However, the size of the dial is so limited that every fraction of a millimeter must be given serious consideration since it could change the result drastically. The tiny proportions and aim for perfect balance are the reasons why watch design is considered the top end of the manufacturing scale.
Whereas the majority of timepieces is designed to fulfill the original task of clearly indicating the time, a few watchmakers and luxury brands follow a different approach to bring another aspect to the fore: the arts and traditional craftsmanship.
A time-consuming production process is needed to transform the dial into a tiny canvas by miniaturizing a real piece of art to be worn on the wrist. The result is a masterpiece of unique design, color, and brilliance.
La Montre Hermès belongs to the elite circle of watch manufacturers offering a profoundly poetic expression of timekeeping through its métiers d’art watches. One recent example is the Slim d’Hermès Marche du Zambèze, a vibrant and colorful celebration of African wildlife en miniature.
The Marche du Zambèze takes its cue from one of the house’s silk scarf designs created in collaboration with the artists of the South African ceramic studio Ardmore. Ardmore and Hermès began collaborating in 2013 in preparation for a series of silk scarves to be released in 2016, including this one. This is the first time the Parisian powerhouse has collaborated with a South African firm.
The mother-of-pearl dial of the Slim d’Hermès Marche du Zambèze depicts a vividly painted mother and baby elephant – an African symbol for family and power – with a zebra and a leopard gathering around them.
The intricacies of the exotic beasts and the flora of the Zambezi, the fourth longest African river and habitat to myriad species, are rendered with miniscule brushstrokes and subtle nuances painted directly onto the mother-of-pearl disk before being fired in a kiln to conserve the brilliance of the colors for the ages.
If we consider the front of the watch as a declaration of love to the wild and the exotic, we find no less sophistication when we dive under the dial to the movement.
Hermès equipped this limited-edition timepiece with its H1950 movement, which was developed in collaboration with Vaucher Manufacture.
Introduced in 2015, the automatic movement with micro rotor is exceptionally slim, which allows for an elegantly slender case just 8.24 mm high. Excelling both in aesthetic and technical regards, it boasts a 42-hour power reserve and beautiful finishes such as hand-chamfered edges and an H pattern on the bridges.
For more information, please visit www.hermes.com.
Quick Facts Slim d’Hermès Marche du Zambèze
Case: 39.5 x 8.24 mm, white gold
Dial: miniature painting on natural white mother-of-pearl
Movement: manufacture automatic movement H1950, 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency, power reserve 42 hours
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 12 pieces
Also published on Medium.