In 1837 founder Thierry Hermès began making harnesses and saddles to cater to the equestrian locomotion requirements of the day. When Emile Hermès took the reins of the Maison in 1920, and horses and carriages had been replaced by automobiles, he had to find a way to channel his craftsman’s skills into new products. Harnessing an all-embracing concept of elegant products for travellers, Hermès focused on stylish luggage, handbags, scarves and even timepieces. However, Hermès has always cultivated a special place in its heart for equestrian motifs, and the fanciful design of the Arceau watch was taken directly from the shape of a stirrup. The latest Arceau model is this poetic Petite Lune moon phase floating in a radiant aventurine night sky with celestial bodies crafted from semi-precious materials.
The asymmetric design of the Arceau was concocted by Henri d’Origny in 1978. D’Origny was the famed artistic director who defined le gout Hermès during his six decades at the Parisian Maison. Drawing on the equestrian past of the company, the Arceau featured asymmetrical stirrup-shaped lugs, and the sloping numbers were designed to evoke the speed of a galloping horse. Revisited over the years with complications like Le Temps Suspendu (made in collaboration with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht) that can suspend time on demand or as a canvas for métiers d’arts, like the recent Arceau WOW models, the overriding approach to all Hermès’s watches is one of creativity, fantasy and originality.
serene cosmic beauty
The Arceau Petite Lune follows suit and delivers a poetic, très Hermès representation of the phases of the moon. Housed in a 38mm Arceau white gold case with a rose-cut diamond in the crown, the bezel emanates the light of 70 brilliant-cut diamonds. The galactic landscape is staged against a sparkling aventurine glass background enhanced with five different-sized diamonds to evoke twinkling stars. Defying convention, the recessed moon phase aperture floats in an unusual position at 10:30 on the dial, eclipsed somewhat by the presence of three large celestial bodies dominating the night sky.
Rising from the right lower side of the dial is a large milky-white moon crafted from a sliver of lustrous freshwater mother-of-pearl. Opposite the rising moon at 10 o’clock is a planet made of aragonite, and at 2 o’clock, an opal star is suspended amid the constellation of smaller twinkling aventurine and diamond stars. To enjoy the full effect of the serene cosmic beauty, the dial is bereft of hour markers and relies on elegant rhodium-plated leaf-shaped hands to indicate the hours. The only inscriptions on the dial are Hermès Paris and Swiss Made.
The Arceau Petite Lune is powered by the automatic movement H1837, a reference to the year that Hermès was founded. Designed in collaboration with Vaucher Manufacture in 2012, this lean 3.7mm automatic is fitted with a double barrel, runs at a frequency of 4 Hz and delivers a power reserve of 42 hours. The movement is decorated with a circular-grained and snailed mainplate with a sprinkling of ‘H’ motifs on the satin-brushed bridges and rotor.
As you would expect, the finishing touch is an Hermès sapphire-blue alligator leather strap with a white gold pin buckle.
Availability & Price
The Hermès Arceau Petite Lune joins the Arceau collection and retails for CHF 44,290 / EUR 40,000 / USD 47,350. For more information, please consult hermes.com.