Hermès Goes High-Tech With H08 In Ceramic And Blue PVD-Coated Titanium
by Martin Green
I believe that the major achievement of Hermès is that it makes its luxury goods so comfortable and casual. These are refined objects made to live with rather than status symbols to carry around for the rest of the world to see.
This marks a distinctly different approach to luxury vis à vis Hermès’ main competitors and one that has proven very successful. This also goes for Hermès watches like the H08, the first edition of which was introduced in 2021.
A not-so-common sporty watch
The watch made quite a few waves upon introduction at the digital Watches and Wonders 2021 as its design cleverly combines elegance with a sportive touch. Personally, I would even go as far as to call it the perfect modern-day sports watch as it does so many things so well.
First and foremost, its design. Thanks to its cushion-inspired shape, the case has vintage flair. And it brings a lot of horological real estate to the wrist without being overpowering.
Dials have long constituted an area in which Hermès excels, and the H08 is no different. The numerals have a bold elegance and are easy to read, yet are also unique from anything else in the market. The same care and dedication went into the date wheel. I am also particularly fond of the second hand, which is smaller than usual and the same length on either side of the arbor. It is one of those playful elements that makes an Hermès watch so pleasant – even if you don’t register why.
If the H08 had been introduced a decade or two ago, I would now be reviewing the gold version of the watch. While I am convinced that it would look stunning in white or even yellow gold, this is not the time we are living in. High-tech materials have taken the place of precious metals in objects of prestige. The H08 in blue titanium proves that this is not necessarily a bad thing, even to a somewhat classically inclined gentleman like myself. On the wrist, it oozes Portofino, proving itself a perfect companion with shorts and loafers.
The titanium case has been given a interesting yet subtle blue hue thanks to a PVD coating. This provides the Hermès H08 with an even sportier look, something that is underscored by the ceramic bezel.
The dial has a similar blue color along with a grainy texture. As a result, the applied luminous numerals seem to float, adding even more depth to the dial. Hermès is a brand that understands the art of subtle gestures, and here the (Hermès) orange details are a stroke of brilliance. There are not many, merely the tip of the second hand and the hashmarks on the anthracite-colored dial ring, but just enough to take the design of this H08 variation to the next level.
In watches like this, I’ll take a carefree, robust movement over a refined in-house one any day. This type of watch usually lands on my wrist during vacation or when I am relaxing and then I like to keep things simple. Hermès, however, offers both carefree and refined with its Caliber H1837.
This movement is by Vaucher, a company in which Hermès purchased a 25 percent stake in 2006. While one can argue whether this truly makes it a manufacture movement, I prefer to focus on the caliber’s performance and looks.
Caliber H1837 can be seen as an elegant workhorse movement. Its architecture is functional yet pleasing, and I remain taken by the decoration featuring Hermès’ famed H pattern. This caliber runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour and delivers a healthy 50 hours of power reserve. A screw-down crown helps achieve water resistance of 100 meters, making it a truly worry-free companion for practically any activity.
The finishing touch is the blue rubber strap, which also has an enticing design. Its textured center lends it a much more high-end look and feel than most other rubber straps on the market.
This strap is secured on the wrist with a butterfly clasp made of titanium. This also plays an important role in the pleasing wearing comfort of the H08. For that, I also need to credit the timepiece’s titanium case back, whose smooth finish makes it feel quite pleasant on the wrist.
All told, this H08 is a very welcome and pleasing addition to the Hermès watch collection and one that I would wear with pleasure on vacation while secretly dreaming of a yellow gold version for when I am not.
Quick Facts Hermès H08 in blue titanium
Case: 39 x 39 mm, ceramic bezel; blue PVD-coated titanium case, 100 meters water resistance
Movement: automatic Hermès Caliber H1837 with twin spring barrels; 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 50-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
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