Hermes’ iconic appeal in fashion and luxury goods has now transcended into an impressive watchmaking repertoire over the years and decades, and always with its own unique creativity and take on design. Its current line-up is technically impressive, visually distinct – and easy to wear, even. This year is no exception, with some old favourites returning in new guises, and some new ones that stretch the imagination. Here are some of the Hermes watches of 2020.
Arceau L’heure de la Lune
The Arceau L’heure de la Lune was a horological highlight of 2019, impressing watch fans with a whimsical, simple concept that needed a deft movement to support it. The result is a double moonphase display, for which the two indicators – themselves small dials – for time and date are a key part. They rotate imperceptibly around the dial for each cycle of the moon, remaining correctly oriented to the user all the while, and their position with respect to the mother-of-pearl moons beneath denote the current phase of the moon. It is an elegant, artful display of clever watchmaking in a svelte 43mm package. This year sees a number of new executions, including the vibrant, sparkling blue of Lapis Lazuli dial and rose gold case, and one called ‘Blue Pearl’ that pairs a mottled stone dial with white gold case (RM149,800 each).
The Arceau Squelette (RM38,500) is, in many ways, a pure expression of the classic Arceau of 1978 – a versatile and highly wearable 40mm watch, with trademark design elements such as the stirrup-inspired lugs where the top set differs from the bottom, simple round case, and the playful and curiously angled Breguet-style numerals. But ‘squelette,’ of course, means ‘skeleton,’ and with this timepiece Hermes has mated these design elements with a contemporary attitude thanks to the transparency of the smoked, gradient sapphire dial. There is an unpretentious, industrial appearance to the movement, enhanced by the anthracite finishing to some of the gearing – but the dial obscures just enough to maintain a sense of mysterious allure.
Slim d’Hermes GMT
If the Arceau is throwback, then the Slim d’Hermes is contemporary. The 39.5mm case is a marvel – slender as its name would imply at less than 9.5mm thick, it has elegant curves and is effortlessly refined, and is clearly meant to be an everyday companion. This year sees the GMT version (RM88,800) of the Slim d’Hermes in a new execution – a handsome combination of rose gold case and blue dial that reintroduces just a bit of capriciousness to the watch. It goes particularly well with the quirky font and the even quirkier layout of the silver GMT subdial. Despite the playfulness, the GMT remains notably legible and practical, with day/night indicators for home and local time, and a pusher to adjust time on the fly.
Arceau Lift Tourbillon Repetition Minutes
The Arceau Lift Tourbillon Repetition Minutes is an ambitious watch by any standard, let alone for Hermes. From the dial side, the flying tourbillon is visible at 6 o’clock; this incorporates a double-H into its design, and has an overall architecture inspired by the wrought ironwork of the Hermes boutique on the Faubourg Saint-Honore in Paris. Another unusual cut-out reveals some of the workings of the minute repeater, which, on closer inspection, is in the shape of a horse’s head – as ever, Hermes watches find a way to honour its equestrian roots. There are only two examples of this 43mm watch: one in rose gold (€238,000) and one in white gold (€250,000), respectively in white and blue lacquered dials. Both have already been spoken for.