Hermès Arceau Millefiori

Hermès’ latest Arceau Millefiori Collection offers exceptional wristwatches and pocket watches that successfully incorporates the fusion of traditional horology and glass-making. These mechanical timepieces, beating to the tune of mechanical calibres produced in the Swiss workshops of La Montre Hermès, are lit up by dials and covers inspired by 19th century paperweights, crafted by the Cristalleries royales de Saint-Louis.

As usual, the work at Saint-Louis begins with the glass-melting furnace known as a pot furnace. The gatherer or ball-maker dips a punty (metal rod or blowpipe) into the mouth of these pots, each containing a colour of crystal or enamel, and twirls the molten matter to form a homogenous bubble-free mass known as a gob. Thus begins the patient work of the master glassmakers, performing a silent ballet known to them alone. The punty is passed on from hand to hand, from breath to breath and from workshop to workshop, until a monochrome crystal sprue is formed which will serve to create the canes that will in turn give rise to the ‘millefiori’ motif (a combination of Italian words meaning ‘a thousand flowers’).

Crafted by applying successive layers of crystal to enamel to reveal the colour, these canes resemble barley sugar candy canes. They are in some cases assembled to form ever-richer patterns. Whatever their colour or design, the process itself remains identical.

A glassworker takes a gob of molten crystal to which a second artisan applies his punty, before moving away as far as the temperature of the matter permits. He pulls or draws with him a several metre-long thread measuring just a few millimetres in diameter, and which will then be broken into several sections. The canes thus created are cut into small ten-millimetre portions that are then vertically placed in a castiron bowl, where they form a bed of flowers.

While one master glassmaker prepares a crystal ‘calotte’ or ‘skullcap’, the part that fixes it to the rod, a colleague brings him the bowl containing the millefiori. With the tip of his punty, the first artisan adds the molten clear crystal, fusing the two blocks so as to encapsulate or “package” the motif in glass. The punty then returns to the port opening in the furnace, and the material is worked with a shaping block or ladle-like wooden tool, meticulously fashioned with a wooden pallet – sometimes even with paper – to achieve the required shape. To set the finishing touch to the paperweight, the glassmaker creates a collar that will enable him to cut off the desired portion of crystal. It is only during the final cutting stage that the crystal reveals the full wealth of its pattern and the unique beauty of the flowerbed with its vividly shimmering colours that will become the dial or cover of one of the Arceau models.

Arceau Pocket Millefiori

Movement
Mechanical self-winding movement, crafted in Switzerland
Hermès Manufacture Movement H1837
Thickness: 3.7 mm
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Jewelling: 28 jewels
Frequency: 28’800 vibrations per hour / 4Hz
Components: 193 components
Decoration: Circular-grained and snailed mainplate, satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight adorned with the special Hermès decoration (H symbols). Hermès Paris engraving
Functions: Hours, minutes

Case, dial and strap
Case: Round, 48 mm , 750 white gold (≈116 g)
Crystal: Anti-glare sapphire crystal and case-back
Water-resistance: To 3 atm
Dial: Shaded grey enamel on 750 white gold base (18.9 g), champlevé white-gold numerals
Front-Cover: Crystal, crafted using the same technique as for the Millefiori paperweights from the Cristalleries Saint-Louis
Strap: Cord-strap and pouch in matt graphite alligator

Arceau Millefiori 34 mm

Movement
Mechanical self-winding movement, crafted in Switzerland, Hermès Manufacture Movement H1912
Diameter: 23.9 mm (10 ½’’’)
Thickness: 3.7 mm
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Jewelling: 28 jewels
Frequency: 28’800 vibrations per hour / 4Hz
Decoration: Circular-grained and snailed mainplate. Satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight, adorned with the special Hermès decoration (H symbols)
Functions: Hours, minutes

Case, dial and strap
Case: Round, 34 mm, 750 white gold (≈37.3 g)
Case set with 60 diamonds (0.76 ct)
Crown set with 1 diamond (0.07 ct)
Quality of diamonds: Top Wesselton V.V.S « Extra white » to « Plus extra white»
Crystal: Anti-glare sapphire crystal and case-back
Water-resistance: To 3 atm
Dial: Crystal, crafted using the same technique as for the Millefiori paperweights from the Cristalleries Saint-Louis
Inter-Horn Width: 17 mm
Strap: Smooth raspberry alligator with 14 mm pin buckle in 750 white gold (≈5.05 g)

Arceau Millefiori 41 mm

Movement
Mechanical self-winding movement, crafted in Switzerland
Hermès Manufacture Movement H1837
Thickness: 3.7 mm
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Jewelling: 28 jewels
Frequency: 28’800 vibrations per hour / 4Hz
Components: 193 components
Decoration: Circular-grained and snailed mainplate, satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight adorned with the special Hermès decoration (H symbols).
Hermès Paris engraving
Functions: Hours, minutes

Case, dial and strap
Case: Round, 41 mm diameter, 750 white gold (≈58 g)
Crystal: Anti-glare sapphire crystal and case-back
Water-resistance: To 3 atm
Dial: Crystal, crafted using the same technique as for the Millefiori paperweights from the Cristalleries Saint-Louis
Inter-horn width: 21 mm
Strap: Matt indigo blue alligator with 17 mm pin buckle in 750 white gold (≈5.37 g)

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