Luxury watch maker Hermès unveils Arceau Cheval d’Orient; an exceptional timepiece collection featuring miniature painted dials using the “French lacquer” technique and “Cheval d’Orient” (Orient Horse) motif. In a cavalcade of motifs inspired by one of the iconic service sets by the Maison Hermès, Arceau Cheval d’Orient highlights the art of French lacquer through three horological compositions.
To give life to these equestrian scenes from a dream-like Orient, all the patience and meticulous care of an experienced lacquer specialist are devoted to taking up the challenge of miniaturisation. Inventiveness is al so called upon, since French lacquer craftsmanship on a metal base, instead of the traditional wood or bamboo, requires a partial revisiting of the traditional techniques.
With a fine-tipped brush, the artisan applies the first layers of lacquer – pigments mixed with a copal-based varnish – while respecting three days’ drying time between each coat, before proceeding to extremely fine sanding and adding the following layer. Building the work in stages, the lacquer specialist repeats this alternating process of careful gestures for many weeks, adding up to 30 or so coats in order to achieve a deep black base.
After outlining with a pencil the contours of the design on the perfectly lacquered dial, comes the preparation of the palette of colours, finely crushing and mixing the pigments to achieve the desired shades. The brush is deftly wielded to gradually bring the colours of the motif to life, by applying them one by one in successive coats until the entire pattern is reproduced. No less than 10 days of drying are required before superimposing 20 layers of transparent lacquer, which also require lengthy drying. An ultimate polish then reveals the extreme finesse of a design imbued with the subtle depth and vivid colours that only lacquer can achieve.
Each of these dials is then assembled in a white gold Arceau model, driven by a Manufacture Hermès H1837 calibre.
These superb and graceful horses decked out in their Persian saddle rugs thus nobly escort Hermes’ enduringly entwined passions for artistic craftsmanship and the equestrian world.
Mechanical self-winding movement, crafted in Switzerland, Hermès Manufacture Movement H1837
Diameter: 25.6 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 bottom plate, satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight adorned with the special Hermès decoration (H symbols), Hermès Paris engraving
Round, 41 mm diameter
Material: 750 white gold (≈ 58 g)
Crystal: Anti-glare sapphire crystal and case-back
Water-resistance: 3 atm
Inter-horn width: 21 mm
Miniature painting on a dial lacquered using the “French lacquer” technique. “Cheval d’Orient” (Orient Horse) motif
Matt black alligator
BUCKLE 17 mm pin buckle in 750 white gold (≈ 5.37 g)
Limited numbered edition of 24 pieces