Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!: A Ferocious T-Rex With A Flying Tourbillon For Your Pocket
by Martin Green
No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the historic home of Hermès, without a doubt one of the most recognizable names in the world of high-end leather goods.
While leather is at the core of Hermès’ longstanding heritage, for decades the French luxury house has been a serious force in the world of watchmaking. As with all of the products it produces across 14 categories, Hermès injects its high-quality watches with a certain timeless joie de vivre.
This also allows the brand from time to time to insert its watches with a certain quirkiness without being gimmicky. And none of the brand’s watches exhibit this better than the Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!
Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!: prehistoric appeal
The cover of this exquisite pocket watch is like looking through a keyhole in a door opening into a Jurassic Park movie where your astounded stare is returned by a ferocious one from a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The brutish (or smiling) dinosaur on the cover of this artful, limited edition Pocket model is fairly lifelike, both in the way it is portrayed and because it is made of leather.
This image is based on the silk scarf designed by British artist Alice Shirley. As part of the Bestiary Collection of Hermès, Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! follows in the footsteps of the Slim d’Hermès Grrrr! featuring a bushy bear and the Arceau Awooooo, whose dial features a howling wolf.
The distinct difference between Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! and its predecessors is that this model is a pocket watch rather than a wristwatch.
The reason for this is that Hermès opted to make the T-Rex using leather marquetry. This choice is not only a nod to the brand’s rich heritage of leather, it also brings the T-Rex to life – it was, after all, a reptile with leathery skin.
This choice of leather marquetry makes creating the T-Rex rather demanding as thousands of different-colored leather fragments have to be cut with the utmost precision and placed one by one on the cover to recreate the original design.
The dinosaur’s eye is made of oven-fired enamel in a cabochon shape. The result is stunning as it really gives off the impression that a T-Rex is menacingly gazing at you from up close. As this type of image needs quite a bit of depth to truly come to life, it makes more sense as the cover of a pocket watch than the dial of a wristwatch, where both depth and surface are are more limited.
Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!: Caliber H1924 flying tourbillon movement
The charm of the Arceau model designed by legendary Hermès creative director Henri d’Origny in 1978 is a bit lost when converted into a pocket watch. This is simply because it lacks the lugs that differentiate the collection and has a cover over the dial. However, the case remains elegant despite perhaps not being as instantly recognizable as an Arceau.
With a diameter of 48 mm, the size is perfect for a pocket watch. Hermès opted for white gold for the cover and case, even fitting it with a sapphire crystal case back to show off the partially skeletonized manufacture Caliber H1924.
Caliber H1924 is quite an achievement, combining a flying tourbillon with a minute repeater in a caliber only 30 mm in diameter and 8.89 mm in height. Despite this, the power reserve is a very healthy 90 hours.
Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!: dial and case
The dial side, not skeletonized, features Hermès’ signature Arabic numerals and elegant leaf hands. The flying tourbillon positioned at 6 o’clock is framed by a design based on the elevator doors in Hermès’ Paris headquarters at 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Finished with a leather cord made of matte green alligator leather, the Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! is not only a testimony to Hermès’ skills and craftmanship, but also to the perseverance that investing heavily in quality brings: what could have been a highly whimsical-bordering-on-gimmicky theme is elevated to art.
In that light, it is also fitting that the Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! is a piece unique.
For more information, please visit www.hermes.com.
Quick Facts Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!
Case: 48 mm, white gold, cover with T-Rex motif in leather marquetery
Dial: white enamel
Movement: manual-wind Hermès Caliber H1924 (produced by MHC) with one-minute flying tourbillon, 30 mm in diameter, 8.89 mm high, 21,600 vph/3Hz frequency, 90-hour power reserve, partially skeletonized
Functions: hours, minutes; minute repeater
Limitation: piece unique
Price: on request