For Watches & Wonders 2021, Hermès launches the H08, a new men’s collection with the brand’s characteristic flair for creating enigmatic shapes. Designed as a versatile, all-terrain watch, the Hermès H08 is as sporty as it is sophisticated. Like so many watch collections at Hermès, the hand of the designer makes its mark. In this case, the hand behind the new H08 collection is that of Hermès’ creative director Véronique Nichanian. Presented in a choice of three cases – titanium, black DLC-coated titanium and graphene with ceramic – the H08 is powered by an automatic manufacture movement made by Vaucher.
Design, design, design
The Parisian saddle and harness atelier founded by Thierry Hermès in 1837 has grown to become one of France’s most beloved luxury Maisons. Some would say that Hermès actually perfected the concept of luxury. Synonymous with silk scarves, Kelly bags, the colour orange, horses and the best quality leather in the world, Hermès added watches to mix over 40 years ago. Signature models include Cape Cod, Heure H and Arceau, and like all Hermès products, all their watches are accompanied by a delightful twist.
The ‘twist’ that characterises so many Hermès products comes from the Maison’s approach to design. Mixing a good dose of French philosophical musings about the essence of time with a dash of poetry (L’Heure Impatiente) and ingenious designs by top talents, Hermès watches are très Hermès.
Like the mantra location, location, location, Hermès insists on design, design, design, and pools the best talent. The Cape Cod collection, with its paradoxical square within a rectangle design, was conceived in 1991 by Hermès’ legendary artistic director Henri d’Origny; Philippe Apeloig designed the original font used for the Arabic numerals on the exquisite Slim d’Hermès, and the Carré H of 2018 was designed by French architect and designer Marc Berthier. Even the signature double tour strap of the Cape Cod, which can now be married to the Apple Watch, was designed in 1998 by Martin Margiela.
Three heads think better than one
Véronique Nichanian has been the artistic director of Hermès menswear since1988. The H08 is the result of a three-way collaboration with Nichanian, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the brand’s artistic director, and Philippe Delhotal, artistic director of Hermès Horloger.
The case, which measures 39mm x 39mm, is characteristic of the brand’s penchant for playing with proportions, shapes and volume. Not the easiest case to pigeonhole with an adjective, the case is ostensibly cushion-shaped with a rounded square silhouette and a slight 1970s vibe. The bezel, which does not rise above the dial like a sports watch, varies in thickness as it pinches in at the waist. The middle case is decorated with a vertical satin-brush on the two titanium models, while the bezel features a sunburst satin-brush. The contrasting direction of the finishing clearly distinguishes one element from the other. To deliver more light to the dark dial, the round aperture of the bezel is bevelled and mirror-polished. The small screw-down crown ensures the 100m water-resistance of the case.
Composed of three distinct areas, the dial features a wide chapter ring for the applied hour numerals. Once again, a lot of thought has gone into the original font used for the luminescent Arabic numerals. The shape of the 0 and the 8 evoke the cushion-shaped case and the name of the collection, H08. A second slightly darker ring with baton markers and the date window tucked between 4 and 5 o’clock frames the central disc with the white transferred minutes track. Although the hand corresponding to the minutes extends beyond the minutes track, it has a skeletonised area that frames the minute in question. Both the black nickel-coated hour and minute hands are treated with Super-LumiNova and the central seconds hand has an Hermès orange arrow tip and a cushion-shaped counterweight.
Variations on a theme
The H08 kicks off with three models. The darkest and most expensive of the pack is the ultra-light graphene model with its polished black ceramic bezel and crown, black gold-coated dial and black rubber strap with a titanium butterfly clasp. A second model, available with a black or orange rubber strap or a blue or black/anthracite band with webbing, has a titanium case with matte black DLC coating, a brushed titanium bezel and a black nickel-coated dial. The third model has a satin-brushed titanium case and bezel, and a black nickel-coated dial. This model is available with either a black or orange rubber strap, a black/charcoal or blue band with webbing and, more importantly, a groovy titanium bracelet with brightly polished middle links shaped like rounded rectangles and sleek brushed outer links.
When it comes to mechanical watches, Hermès has consolidated an impressive portfolio of players. In 2006, Hermès acquired a 25% stake in Vaucher, a sister company of Parmigiani. By 2013 Hermès had taken over case maker Joseph Erard Holding and Swiss dial maker Natéber. The calibre H1837 inside the H08 is made at the Vaucher manufacture. Operating at 28,800 vibrations per hour, this high-grade automatic movement can store up to 50 hours of power reserve. The rotor and bridges are decorated with the brand’s signature H pattern.
Availability & Price
The Hermès H08 is available now at hermes.com and in stores. The graphene model’s retail price is USD 8,900; the two titanium models vary from USD 5,500 to USD 6,050 depending on the choice of strap or bracelet. Last, the retail price of the DLC-titanium model is USD 5,700.
More details at www.hermes.com.