Watches & Wonders 2020: Hermès 2020 Launches Are Out Of This World
The new Slim d’Hermès, Cape Cod Martelée, and Arceau L’heure de la lune timepieces shine with unexpected finishes.
It’s an interesting experiment to cover Watches and Wonders virtually. Part of the fun of the watch fair is the experience of the booths. Hermès, in particular, always displayed their novelties in an environment that was more like installation art than retail space. For example, in 2018 at SIHH in Geneva, the center of the manufacture’s space was an interactive sculpture by the Dutch artist Levi van Veluw. Last year, the booth featured a huge, rotating moon designed by Japanese artist Hideki Yoshimoto.
While these moments of beauty are always a highlight, we were keen to see how the Maison’s 2020 novelties would affect us when the sensory surroundings were stripped away.
Happily, Hermès' three newest offerings — updates to the Slim d’Hermès, Cape Cod Martelée, and Arceau L’heure collections — do not disappoint. If anything, they remind us of how curiosity and creativity can transform classics.
The Cape Cod Martelée
Hermès learned long ago that having an iconic timepiece such as the Slim d’Hermès means you can play with its design in a million ways, and it will still be instantly recognizable. Created by Henri d’Origny in 1991, the Cape Cod was originally meant to be a square watch. But d’Origny wanted to push the limits of the challenge and instead drafted a square case within a rectangle.
In 2020, Hermès’ designers continue this groundbreaking tradition by adding a hammered finish to the case and dial. It’s a complex and ages-old technique that gives each piece a unique patina-type effect. And the textured dial is also coated with a thin layer of translucent lacquer, in graded shades ranging from anthracite, which further makes this watch look a bit like the surface of the moon. Finally, the Cape Cod Martelée hangs from a distinctive black Barenia calf strap in single or double tour versions.
While this two-hand, stainless steel watch is uncomplicated (it measures at a smallish 23 x 23mm and is powered by a quartz movement), it is also sublime. It is priced at $3,625 for the single tour and $3,775 double tour.
Slim d’Hermes GMT
The newest star of the Slim d’Hermès family is also an exploration of space. On one hand, the Slim d’Hermès GMT has reduced the elements of the GMT to the essentials. And a clean, midnight-blue dial is the elegant setting for two subdials. The day-night indicators are simple dots, and with a snailed surface on both the center dial and date counter, the GMT counter is grained.
This texturing helps to delineate these features subtly. It’s also easy to use. The time in a given destination is adjusted using a dedicated pushbutton. And of course, there’s the playfulness of Philippe Apeloig’s original numeral font.
Based on the architecture alone, the Slim d’Hermes GMT is achingly elegant. But when you add the richness of the ultra-thin (9.48mm) rose gold case, it becomes an object of desire. The heartbeat of this travel watch is the Manufacture Hermès H1950 movement, which measures in at just 2.6mm thick. The GMT module was developed exclusively by Agenhor for Hermès. In addition to the hours, minutes, and date function, this automatic mechanism is equipped with a micro-rotor.
The movement is just as beautiful as the dial. Bridges were hand-chamfered and decorated with the Hermès ‘sprinkling of Hs’ motif. The rest of the mechanism features Côtes de Genève engraving and circular-graining (all of which can be viewed through the sapphire crystal case-back).
And for a last touch of luxe, a matte, abyss-blue alligator strap, crafted in the Hermès leather workshops, keep this trusty travelling companion wrapped firmly around your wrist. This stellar 2020 timepiece is priced at $19,675.
Arceau L’heure de la lune
The most heavenly of Hermès 2020 offerings is the Arceau L’heure de la lune collection. These latest takes still feature the exclusive module and Manufacture Hermès H1837 movement, containing 117 polished and bead-blasted components, but with new meteorite dials and strap combinations.
The L’heure de la lune has always been a unique watch thanks to its simultaneous display of moon phases in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The newest iteration takes the astronomical inspiration of the original to a new level by incorporating a Martian or Black Sahara meteorite dial with inlaid mother-of-pearl moons behind silvery counters.
It is a wholly original interpretation of the moon phase. And while it looks simple, it is quite technologically advanced as the mobiles maintain their horizontal orientation while they whirl around the dial over a span of 59 days. This cosmic dance is made possible by a module exclusively developed for Hermès (for which a patent has been filed).
This haute horlogerie timepiece is fitted with a matte black, Havana, or Veronese green alligator strap in, depending on the dial version. These poetic machines start at $33,200.
(Images provided by Hermès)