A Closer Look: A Trip Through Time With The Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur
Even though we cover watches for a living, sometimes our sense of time feels all mixed up. So many spectacular timepieces have been launched since Watches & Wonders 2022 in March that it feels like the event took place five years ago. As much as we want the days to slow down a little, we’re already making mental best of 2022 lists.
One watch we can't help but think of is the Hermès Arceau Le temps voyageur à deux timezone, which last Thursday was honored with winning two GPHG awards. Since then, the world has opened up dramatically and the meaning and symbolism of this poetic complication has only increased. Considering how much the conversation about travel watches has changed, we had to revisit this stunner.
Arceau de Triomphe
Hermès’ Arceau collection already owns a big chunk of our horological heart. The brand is constantly reinventing time telling through the use of poetic functions. Take, for instance, the Le temps suspendu from 2011. This mechanism was designed to stop time on demand. By pushing the button at 9 o'clock, the hour and minute hands reset back to 12 o’clock, essentially making time disappear. The movement keeps tracking the hours and minutes, however, with another push, the correct time is displayed. Practical? Probably not. A unique way to contemplate time? Definitely.
The 2022 version of the Hermès Arceau Le temps voyageur now offers a novel way to contemplate travel.
The Arceau collection has always evoked Hermes’ historic connection to adventure. And the latest iteration of this classic employs a unique dual time zone with cities complication to summon the joy and adventure of travel.
The asymmetric case of the Arceau Le temps voyageur was originally designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978. Over the years, the silhouette, with its nods to equestrian tack, has proven to be a very versatile canvas for Hermès’ creatives.
For example, this year, the Arceau Le temps voyageur is presented in both a 41mm platinum and black DLC-treated titanium case or a smaller 38mm steel case with a blue dial. Both offer very different expressions but are equally attractive.
World of Wonder
Here’s where the poetry comes in.
This dual-time watch takes us on a trip through two worlds: here on earth and then on an imaginary equestrian planet, aka the “Planisphère d’un Monde équestre.” The dial is decorated with a map created by artist Jérôme Colliard. This worldview, originally presented at an Hermès show jumping competition in Paris and then featured on an Hermès silk scarf, reveals an imaginary “equestrian planet” with landmasses named after horsey pursuits (dressage, éthologie équine, soins, etc.).
The charming display of the Arceau Le temps voyageur marries a GMT and world timer. At the top of the dial in the flange ring is a three-wide aperture labeled “Home Time,” and on the left-hand side is a small pusher that connects to the sub-dial to display “Local Time.”
With a click of the pusher, the sub-dial becomes animated! A discreet red triangle moves along with it to point out the time zone indicated on the periphery of the dial. As the sub-dial advances, so too does the hour hand.
World of Whimsy
For Hermès, artistic collaboration is crucial. Just as Colliard can take credit for countless Easter Eggs (the map that appears under the floating satellite dial, for example, features continents that are completely made up), the display is powered by the Hermès H1837 self-winding calibre produced by Vaucher. Additionally, the sun dial is activated with a module created by François Mojon of Chronode.
A lot of work has gone into making this fictional world feel real. Both the background and satellite are galvanized, laser-engraved, and lacquered. The flange ring with the city names is either sandblasted or satin-brushed. The contrast helps heighten legibility. The sensuously-shaped hands also make the time easy to read.
P.S. we’re not the only ones with the need to go back in time. While we didn’t shoot it, the Maison has returned with yet another take on the Arceau Le temps voyageur in white, this time dusted with diamonds.
Pricing & Availability
The Arceau Le temps voyageur comes in two variations: a 41mm-wide gray version with a platinum and black DLC-coated titanium exterior ($28,825), and a 38mm blue version in stainless steel ($22,550).
Visit Hermès’ website for more information.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)