This year, horses have inspired Hermès to create two unique pocket watches, the result of a meeting between Fine Watchmaking and the art of wheel engraving.
Recalling the equestrian origins of the company, the motifs decorating their crystal cover stem from two glasses made at the beginning of the 19th century by the Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis, where the master craftsmen have today breathed life into two exceptional models.
In the peace of the workshops, nothing, or nearly nothing has changed since the origins of these glassmakers. One can still admire the same sleights of hand mastered by a few rare virtuoso engravers amid an atmosphere still pervaded by the same hushed atmosphere entirely conducive to the exercise of their art. Everything begins with a fine, perfectly pure crystal plaque, on which the craftsman reproduces the motif with Indian ink.
Then comes the engraving work in the true sense of the term, which takes 15 days for a single lid, one created on clear crystal and the other on flannel coloured crystal.
With infinite delicacy, the engraver brings the cover right up to the lathe alternately fitted with a copper wheel and then a diamond point: dust flies as soon as they come in contact the crystal. In the course of these meticulous strokes, the engraving gradually takes the place of the Indian ink, firstly around the motif and then on its surfaces.
Throughout this patient work, the engraver uses increasingly finer tools as he gradually removes material, giving life to an ever clearer design. Guided only by his experience and extreme precision, he composes hollows and solids, creates reliefs, shapes and models, playing with the crystal surfaces so as to render them opaque or leave them perfectly transparent. Discipline and meticulous care are required to liberate the magic of the horses, which is revealed by the remarkably fine design.
A true gem of skilled craftsmanship, Arceau Pocket Chevaux sauvages highlights either subtle shades of grey or blue, achieved through the use of Grand Feu enamelling.
To quicken the heartbeat of these two unique pieces in white gold, La Montre Hermès has quite naturally selected a Manufacture-made H1837 calibre, while a dedicated pouch and cord-strap made of smooth elephant grey, or storm blue alligator completes the ensemble.
Model: Hermès Arceau Pocket Chevaux sauvages
Mechanical self-winding movement, crafted in Switzerland
Hermès Manufacture Movement H1837
Diameter: 26 mm (11 ½’’’)
Thickness: 3.7 mm
Power reserve: 50 hours
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour / 4Hz
Jewelling: 28 jewels
Decoration: Circular-grained and snailed mainplate, satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight adorned with the special Hermès decoration (H symbols).
Hermès Paris engraving
Round, 48 mm diameter, 750 white gold (≈116 g)
Anti-glare sapphire crystal and case-back
Water resistance: 3 atm
Shaded blue enamel on white-gold base (≈11.1 g), champlevé white-gold numerals
Shaded grey enamel on white-gold base (≈11.1 g),champlevé white-gold numerals.
Front Cover: Wheel-engraved crystal. Flannel-grey or clear toned. Two different «Chevaux sauvage» (wild horses) motifs
Cord-strap and pouch in smooth storm blue alligator
Cord-strap and pouch in smooth elephant grey alligator