Hermès 2023 H08 Colorful Additions to the Collection and a Monopusher Chronograph
by Martin Green
Hermès is, in many ways, a unique company. What started as a harness workshop for horses in the Grands Boulevards quarter of Paris grew to become the definition of luxury. Where most conglomerates need at least several brands to embrace the whole spectrum, Hermès does it all by itself. Most imposing is that it all feels natural as well. From a Kelly bag to a colorful scarf and from a soft cashmere blanket to a wristwatch, Hermès is quite literally a one-stop shop for all of it.
The success of Hermès is down to several factors, the first being their passion for craftsmanship. They know that luxury is not only in using exquisite materials but also in how you bring them together. Details matter, and in the luxury industry, they matter even more. Throughout its collection, Hermès has a focus on this.
Hermès has another passion, that for design. Hermès likes clean, recognizable lines, which also happens to make the quality of the details and craftsmanship stand out even more. It gives their products a rather timeless appeal, with an elegance that transcends the time they were designed. This is an essential aspect of creating icons, as many of Hermès products have rightfully earned this coveted term, including a few of their timepieces.
H08, a sporty case for elegance
The H08 is not an icon yet, but that’s expected from a collection that only debuted in 2021. From the first moment, it did make a stir, as it expanded the Hermès signature into more sporty territory. A delicate operation, but one in which the brand succeeded by applying to restrain.
The H08 doesn’t try to be anything but a Hermès. It’s not a diver of pilot’s watch, because like many Hermès timepieces, it doesn’t want to constrain itself to a specific category. Pleasantly thin and not too large, it transcends style and cultures, so now surprise that it was so very well received.
Fast forward two years later, and Hermès is ready to take things up a notch. As we already had the opportunity to get to know, and get used to, this new collection from Hermès, it was time to show a more colorful, and perhaps also more daring side.
This starts with four new time-only models, each with its own color as an accent. While Hermès keeps it fairly subtle, the color does have quite an impact on the perception of the watch, mostly because the rubber strap is quite the statement. Opting for a black one would take things down a notch, but that is the opposite of what Hermès wants with these new additions.
Whether you pick green, yellow, blue, or orange, all four feature a 39 mm by 39 mm large case made from braided glass fiber composite and coated with aluminum and slate powder. The result is lightweight, robust, and quite spectacular. It gives a texture as if the case is chiseled from some high-tech rock.
Hermès combines this with a black ceramic bezel that has a beautiful brushed texture drawing your eye to the dial. There the brand also plays with texture, but now a more grainy one, on which the beautiful numerals stand out like architectural buildings. The relatively short seconds hand with its relatively long balance weight remains also here a captivating detail.
On your marks, get set…
Hermès also debuted a chronograph in the H08 collection. Here they also play with materials that you don’t immediately associate with the elegant brand such as a case made from carbon fiber and graphene powder. When milled and finished in the characteristic cushion shape, it shows a beautiful texture adding an extra sense of refinement to the H08 Chronograph.
To keep the design as clean as possible, Hermès opted for a monopusher operating system of the chronograph and limited the subdials to two. Important choices as this creates a dynamic feel and avoids the busy look that many chronographs have.
Movements made by Vaucher power both the time-only and the chronograph.
As Hermès co-owns this facility, the term manufacture applies, in case somebody sees the relevance in this. Fact of the matter is that both watches are very capable, offering a 50-hour power reserve for the time-only and a 46-hour one for the chronograph.
The automatic movements are visible through a sapphire insert in the caseback and delight with a beautiful decoration of the repeated H-logo from the brand. Look further and you can even admire the circular-grained and snailed mainplate. As a true sports watch, both versions of the H08 are water resistant up to 10ATM/100 meters.
The power of typography
One of the things that makes a Hermès stand out, is the unique typography that is present in most of their watches. The H08 is no exception, as also here it adds to the charisma of the timepieces. The brand also utilized this in the date function, which gives it an integrated look.
On both the three-hander and the chronograph, it is tucked away between the four and five o’clock position. While I feel that this works nicely for the time-only model as a playful touch, I feel that the chronograph could have benefited from a more balanced approach, for example by putting it at the six o’clock position. As it is, there seems to be too much emphasis on the watch’s right side, as also the crown and one of the subdials are located there.
For me, a date function would actually be optional for both models but that is also the watch enthusiast inside me speaking. Hermès, just like Rolex and Cartier, is one of those brands that also caters to people who want a refined and beautiful timepiece but are not collectors. In fact, those are the majority of its clients. They are, just like us, well served with these new models, which show us a new side of the H08 collection.
For more information, please visit www.hermes.com/us/en/story/291790-watches-men/
Quick Facts Hermès H08
Case: 39 x 39 mm, ceramic bezel; braided glass fibre composite coated with aluminum and slate powder, 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
Quick Facts Hermès H08 Monopusher Chronograph
Case: 41 x 41 mm, titanium bezel; Carbon fiber composite case coated with graphene powder, 100 meters water resistance
Movement: automatic Hermès Caliber H1837 (base-movement) with twin spring barrels; 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 46-hour power reserve, module supporting monopusher chronograph complication
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date