The Arceau watch, designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978, lends itself to a new expression of expertise: wood marquetry. Its discreet gold case, topped by asymmetrical stirrup shaped lugs, frames a dial crafted from tulipwood picking up the design of the Astrologie Nouvelle silk scarf.
Reinterpreted by Cyrille Diatkine in 2012, it expresses the rhythmical cadence characterising the flow and acceleration of time. The designer has infused it with a modern touch, breaking down and alternating the original motifs to form a kind of ‘orderly chaos’. This autumn, Hermès adorns the dial of an Arceau watch with a precious wood inlay.
To freely transpose this theme to the scale of a dial, Hermès artisans begin by miniaturising the motif. They then rigorously select the essence and colour of the material that will serve as a medium of expression: tulipwood. Also known as «yellow poplar» or Virginia tulip tree (its flowers resemble large green yellow tulips), this tree native to North America has a precious heart that changes colour over time, evolving from white to very dark blue. The wood is thus chosen for its shades close to the original design, but also for its fine and firm grain, perfectly adapted to the meticulous art of wood marquetry.
The artisan cuts out the multitude of tiny elements forming the pattern, before assembling them like a jigsaw puzzle, gluing them in place and finishing them by sanding and varnishing. Combining rigorous discipline, patience and dexterity, three weeks of work are necessary to create a dial, which is by nature unique.
The Arceau Astrologie Nouvelle watch, available in a limited edition of eight, comes in a 41 mm-diameter white gold case with a matt black alligator strap. Hours and minutes hands are driven by a mechanical self-winding movement crafted by the Manufacture, as indeed are the dial, case and strap, all governed by the Hermès Horloger rules of expertise.
Model: ARCEAU Astrologie Nouvelle
Numbered eight-piece limited edition
Manufacture Hermès H1837 movement
Mechanical self-winding, Swiss made
Diameter: 26 mm
Thickness: 3.7 mm
Power reserve: 50 hours
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour / 4Hz
Shape / size: Round, 41 mm in diameter
Material: White gold
Glass: Sapphire crystal and caseback with anti-glare treatment
Water resistance: 3 bar