SIHH 2019: Hermès Shows Its Horse Power With The Equestrian Themed Galop d’Hermès
Feminine and masculine at the same time, the Galop d’Hermès collection introduces an entirely new, totemic timepiece to devotees of the luxury house.
While Richard Mille’s audacious Bonbon collection and the divisive Code 11.59 line from Audemars Piguet took most of the focus at SIHH 2019, Hermès also launched a brand new design in Geneva.
Called Galop d’Hermès, this range was designed by American-born, Switzerland-based furniture designer Ini Archibong. He dug deep into the archives of the Conservatoire des créations at Hermès and drew inspiration from objects found in the company’s harness collections.
The result is a shape that was created for women but is not dainty. Rather, the Galop d’Hermès is both muscular and fluid, modern and familiar, male and female.
BACK IN THE SADDLE
Hermès has a long tradition of championing all kinds of artists — whether by commissioning installations like “Here” by co-operative group Tangent that was the centerpiece of the brand’s booth at SIHH 2019, or the dial of the new Arceau Awooooo watch, based on a scarf designed by illustrator Alice Shirley.
As a furniture designer, Archibong was used to working on a much larger scale. Still, his interest in exploring light and open space, which translates well when creating an object of any size. “The material I work with is light,” says Ichibong in Hermès’ press release. “I create shapes to catch the light. I have learned to design aerodynamic shapes and futuristic lines that use surfaces in order to explore light effects.”
Archibong was likewise inspired by Hermès' heritage. For example, how the harnessmaker’s attention to detail isn’t just about producing a stirrup or a saddle, but rather the beauty comes from the form and function of the object.
GOING WITH THE FLOW
Equestrian themes are a house signature, but the Galop d’Hermès reinterprets the bits, bridles, and harnesses of the brand’s stable into something new. The name Galop is a reflection on masculine and feminine verbs. It’s press materials describe it as a witty play on galet (or pebble) and how the flow of time moves like water polishing stones in a stream. The words might not make that much sense but they image they conjour up is apt.
The aerodynamic shape of the case, the asymmetric lugs and the offset placement of the crown recall the Etrier watch produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre for Hermès up until the 1970s. But there’s something completely fresh about the look of this tack-inspired tactile dial.
There are four versions of this time only timepiece. Each has a curved sapphire crystal and a grained silvered dial with an opaline centre. And all feature Arabic numerals with a unique typography. And the numbers are graduated in size. And the 8 is designed to look like a little stirrup. The more we visited this watch over the four days of SIHH, the more we found to love.
SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME
Like all things Hermès, the Galop is effortlessy elegant. From the simplicity of the polished stainless steel with silver-powdered transferred numbers (available with or without diamonds) to the pure luxury of the rose gold model with gilt-powdered numerals and gilded hands (you may think we’re making too big a deal about the numerals, but when you see how the light hits them up close, you would understand).
We’re very excited about this collection and even though we have a few nagging questions about the launch (for example, we love Archibong’s vision but would have liked to see a mechanical movement), we also see lots of room for this range to roam in the future.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)