Expect the Unexpected: Hermès Introduces New H08 and Cape Cod Models at Watches & Wonders 2023
Year after year, we are delighted by whatever watches the house of Hermès releases, and yet still, they always come as such a pleasant surprise.
Hermès is so much more than belts. It’s more than scarves and ties and pocket squares and even bags. That’s right, we said it.
Hermès is better than its famous Birkin, which, for far too long, has pigeon-holed the brand into one branch of fashion, recognized by the masses simply because of its Sex and the City appearances. But Hermès is better than a bag. It’s more than a big-city boutique. It’s an idea and even a way of life for some.
Hermès is indeed a pinnacle; of luxury, of success, and of time. And what the brand offers in terms of its watches is, well, unexpected. And honestly, they probably like it that way. (We certainly do.)
On His Time
Created with men in mind, this edition of the Hermès H08 is simple yet chic, sporty but elegant. And a lot of that has to do with the overall design.
At the helm of the design team for this year’s version of the H08 is Philippe Delhotal, Creative Director of Hermès Horloger. And while the overall style of the H08 is one with which we’re quite familiar, it’s this particular timepiece’s warm hues and matching soft finishes that gets the blood flowing. Simplicity, as they say, is the new sexy, and this watch is as aesthetically simple as it gets while still being a force to be reckoned with mechanically.
The cushion shape of the Hermès H08 case is the first characteristic that catches the onlooker’s eye. But upon further inspection, one can see the watch’s black DLC-treated titanium inner case surrounded by a rose gold outer case middle with a black ceramic bezel only complementing the entire design. The marriage of rose gold against the black DLC, along with the alternating finishes (satin and high-polished), plays with the wearer’s eye while offering a balance frequently unseen in luxury brand watches from maison’s typically thought of as fashion houses.
In terms of timekeeping components, both the central minutes disc and the second hand are treated with black nickel, and the date window, like it or not, appears in a cushion-shaped aperture between 4 and 5 o’clock. And finally, this 39 x 39mm watch is equipped with the Manufacture Hermès H1837 mechanical self-winding movement, which has a 45-hour power reserve.
And Then Again, It’s Her Time Too
Created in 1991 when an idea came to the luxury house’s artistic director and silk expert Henri d’Origny after spending years working with the Chaîne d’ancre (anchor chain) pattern on silks, the Hermès Cape Cod was born.
For decades, the watch has been a staple in the maison’s collection – due, in large part, to its versatility and fashionable appearance. This year’s versions, however, have just a little somethin’ extra.
The Cape Cod Chaîne d’ancre is a quartz timepiece, which isn’t terribly hard to believe given its size (23 x 23mm) and the fact that the brand does tend to sell its quartz watches quite well. But the blueish-gray version’s “Anchor Chain” stamped dial and stainless steel case set with forty-six diamonds is *chef’s kiss* all around. No joke, we should all expect to see on the wrists of celebrities and novices alike in the near future.
This new Cape Cod is feminine without needing some mother-of-pearl dial or pastel colorway that looks more like paint swatches for a baby’s nursery than a luxury watch from a respected brand. And yet, from a design standpoint, the Chaîne d’ancre motif is powerful because, let’s face it, is there anything that symbolizes strength and stability more than a chain attached to an anchor? It’s boating at its sexiest, people! Read between the lines!
Lastly, if you’re not a fan of diamonds but love the stamped Chaîne d’ancre motif on the dial, there is also a dusty rose version with a non-set case that is just downright sultry!
What Hermès has accomplished at the 2023 edition of Watches & Wonders is the same as past editions (or even when they were still showing at Baselworld): By keeping things fresh and light, Hermès not only stays relevant but also manages to create buzz and excite enthusiasts.
Hermès knows exactly who it is. The brand knows precisely who its audience is. And it knows to whom specifically it should appeal for the brightest possible future. Hermès is not an amateur outfit in any of the spaces in the luxury world it inhabits.
We are lucky to have Hermès – and its watches – to get excited about.
Pricing for these pieces was not available at press time. For more information, visit the Hermès website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)