The Ever-Creative Hermès Does It Again With The Galop d'Hermès
The strength of Hermès lies in the excellence of the brand's craftsmanship, its creative power, and a unique ability to think outside the box. The creation of the new Galop d'Hermès collection is an excellent demonstration.
In the world of watchmaking, design is often entrusted to big names from the seraglio. But Hermes cultivates a difference, as its watch collections have already shown original and poetic interpretations of time - the Arceau Temps Suspendu, the Dressage l’Heure Masquée or the Slim l'Heure Impatiente. To create a brand new collection, the Parisian house decided to reach out to the overflowing creativity of a designer untouched by any watchmaking experience: Ini Archibong. Watchonista had the pleasure to meet him.
Hermès' Creative Process
Freshly graduated from ECAL (Cantonal School of Art of Lausanne), Ini Archibong is a design architect. He has his own practice and exhibits many of his creations in New York, London, or Milan. He mainly creates industrial products and furnishings. For him, the function dictates form. As he says himself: "An object is never as successful as when it goes to the essential."
His creative process went through an immersion in the world of the brand. "We must silence the inner dialogue, enter into meditation to give free rein to the creative flow." When he met Hermes, a connection was made immediately. The brief was simple, as he remembers, "They told me to start from a blank page and create an iconic watch for women." Simple.
Ini says in his soft voice, "I immersed myself with the Hermes universe. I started to draw inspired by the stylistic directions of the House... then I realized that I understood the "how" but not the "why." I went back to the basics of Hermès history. At its exceptional saddler. I left the harness to understand why he had these specific forms." The buckles, the belts, the closures marry the forms of the horse to better serve their goals. Their function dictates form, and by studying the shapes of the creations of the legendary saddle, the young designer began to see the lines, shapes that took into account the equestrian heritage of Hermès, and the exceptional know-how of the Parisian house.
"It only remained to solve this equation by adding the fluidity that would make the object more efficient ... and more beautiful." The rest of the process was "multiple round trips to highlight the smallest details, to find the balance between the strength of the design and the meaning of each one of them. It was very serious and very fun." And the result is up to everyone's expectations. Hermès launches a new women's line with a design as identifiable as its name: The Galop d'Hermès is born!
Iconic Ladies Model
As Ini Archibong pointed out, the model had to be "iconic" – easier said than done. And yet, the new collection has everything to achieve this goal. First of all, a unique case that Hermès manufactures entirely in-house. With fixed lugs at 12 o'clock integrating the bracelet and a free arch at six o'clock, it gives the freedom of movement necessary to the riders. As if the watch was suspended from above to land to the birth of the hand naturally. The entire equestrian universe summarized in these tapered features.
Then come the details of the dial. Ini has formed on two levels to emphasize the form. The grainy silver finish of the dial and opaline satin in the center of the dial accentuates the volume. Indices also contribute to this impression of fluidity, of perspective – even the typography is progressive. Smaller and slimmer up, wider, and downward to intensify the sensation of movement.
The last creative wink: a figure eight is stylized via an inverted stirrup. Available in four versions, in steel and 18k rose gold, with or without diamond set bezel set. The Galop collection, which arrives in stores this month, will delight the fans of racy women's watches where every detail evokes a story. Ini himself points out, "Everything is in the details. They are the greatest revealers of meaning."
As with all Hermès creations, there is always an essential and subtle touch of humor. Thus are born the icons through differentiation, excellence, and mischievous creativity.
The last aspect that differentiates Hermes – it is one of the few luxury houses that do not hesitate to communicate about external designers who participate in its creations. Ini Archibong is grateful for that. A welcome transparency and source of additional creativity. Hermes likes to do things differently... And the least we can say is that it works.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)