Hermès unveils a one-of-a-kind creation born from an association between engraving and enamelling. These techniques unite to create an artwork built on a delicate interplay of subtle shades and textures.
Echoing the Hermès annual theme for 2016: “Nature at full gallop”, the great cat featured on the dial of the Slim d’Hermès Pocket Panthère is drawn from an illustration by the artist Robert Dallet, who cooperated with the Maison in the 1980s.
The panther glides its way onto a winter background. Crafted by two masters of engraving and enamel, it stems from a new artistic approach. Building on their respective experience, they combine their skills in an original way. Before work began, each detail of the motif was studied in order define the passages of the engraver’s graving tool and of the enameller’s brush. Together, these artisans break free of the constraints and limitations imposed by their techniques in order to create a vibrantly beautiful work. Materials, shimmering reflections combine to form a harmoniously balanced whole.
The panther – the only non-engraved element – is miniature enamel painted using the “Grand Feu” enamelling technique. The enamel powder is applied with a brush and alternately mixed with water or oil. To fix the material in place and for each new colour, the piece is fired in the kiln at an extremely high temperature. The micro-fragments melt and are transformed into glass. Patience is of the essence, since the dial of the Slim d’Hermès Pocket Panthère involves up to 25 firing cycles.
The match between engraving and enamelling stands out against a snowy backdrop. The white gold dial is crafted on five different levels, with the deepest being reserved for the panther itself. The engraved motifs are then coated with enamel to a variable extent. In some places, the pure metal gleams just below the surface, either shiny or matt depending on the chosen effects, such as the tufts of grass appearing at 7 o’clock. The engraver both begins the work and sets the final touch, by purifying the oxidised zones using a heat treatment and creating the last subtle surface effects.
The matching gold case of the Slim d’Hermès Pocket, the latest newcomer to the watch collections of the Maison, is crafted in its own workshops. Its design embody purity in motion through timelessly elegant and restrained lines. The lugs at 12 o’clock featuring an extremely fine design, frame the crown and accentuate the rounded curves of the case by forming a right-angle shape. Their momentum extends to the spring bars, around which the matt havana alligator strap appears to coil, while the transparent caseback reveals the heart of the movement.
Beating inside the Slim d’Hermès Pocket Panthère is the ultra-thin 2.6 mm H1950 calibre delivering a 42-hour power reserve. Automatic winding is ensured by a technically complex micro-rotor. The finishes, including hand-chamfered bridge, reflect profound respect for watchmaking traditions and like all Hermès movements, Calibre H1950 is adorned with a “sprinkling of Hs” motif.
Mechanical self-winding movement, crafted in Switzerland
Ultra-thin Hermès Manufacture movement H1950
Diameter: 30 mm (13 ¼’’’)
Thickness: 2.6 mm
Power Reserve: 42 hours
Jewelling: 29 jewels
Frequency: 21’600 vibrations per hour / 3 Hz
Decoration: Special Hermès decoration (H symbols)
Distinctive feature: Micro-rotor, hand-chamfered bridges
Shape/size: Round 45 mm diameter
Material: White gold
Glass: Glare-proofed sapphire crystal and caseback
Water resistance: 3 bar
Engraved and enamelled white gold, a design by Robert Dallet
Cord strap and pouch in matt havana alligator