Hands-on with the Slim d’Hermès Email Grand Feu
There is something about Hermès. The singularity of the Parisian house lies in a distinctive, enduring perception of elegance where craftsmanship, creativity, integrity and patience are carefully preserved. The new ‘Slim’ Hermès watches with their pure, artful simplicity are no exception. Their refined style, at once modern and timeless, is now enhanced with an exquisite enamel dial.
The world of Hermès is like no other. A rarefied world with its own values and an ethic of no compromise. Over the past 10 years, the brand has worked on boosting and consolidating its watch credibility with determination. Things really started in 2006 when the brand took a 25% in Vaucher manufacture, a movement maker belonging to the Sandoz Family Foundation together with Parmigiani Fleurier and other watch industry suppliers. In 2012, Nateber a dial manufacturer in La-Chaux-de-Fonds was acquired. A year later, Hermès took control of Joseph Erard, specialized in watch cases. This vertical integration strategy was complemented by the inauguration of new production facilities near Biel and an in-house strap production workshop since 2009.
Presented at Baselworld 2015, the Slim d’Hermès was truly one of the highlights of the fair. The collection reflects Hermès efforts to elevate in watchmaking while retaining the understated, distinctive style of the brand: elegant, well-thought-out, reserved but with a different twist conveyed by uniquely written numbers designed by Philippe Apeloig.
This year, the collection is enhanced with the Slim d’Hermès émail grand feu, identical to the existing 39.5mm models but with an enamel dial made the traditional way with Donzé Cadran. ‘Grand feu’ enamel dials are fired in a kiln heated at 830°. The enamel powder fuses with the dial copper plate on which it is dusted. Several layers are applied successively to obtain a unique inalterable white. The numerals and other indications are added by means of pad printing. The dials are completed in three different parts delicately soldered together. This painstaking, time-consuming process results in a superb balance, subtle volumes, a remarkable depth and an intense, pure white sheen. This remarkable piece of craftsmanship is completed with minimalist baton style hands.
Looking at the rose gold case from all angles, the balance is remarkable with slender lines, a well-proportioned slightly inclined bezel and elegant thin lugs. It is 39.5mm in diameter, a versatile, modern size, and features a sapphire case back.
At the heart of the Slim d’Hermès beats the H1950 ultra-thin movement developed and manufactured with Vaucher. Its elegant micro-rotor offers the convenience of automatic winding while making possible a reduced height of only 2.6mm. Its diameter is a large, pleasing 13’’’ ¼ (30mm) perfectly adapted to the case. Its balance runs at 21’600 vibrations per hour for a power reserve of 42 hours. The movement decoration is dominated by Hermès’ signature H pattern covering its bridges and micro-rotor.
The Slim d’Hermès émail grand feu is worn on a matt Havana alligator strap – magnificent as you would expect from Hermès – with pin buckle.
Designing a fine dress watch is not an easy task. Perfection is in the details and the Slim d’Hermès impresses in every respect. If there was one thing to regret, it might be having more contrast with regards to the movement decoration, for instance with a different finishing for the micro-rotor. With the Slim, Hermès created a superb watchmaking classic while retaining the brand’s distinctive elegance. Its new enamel dial is just exquisite. Hats off!
Technical specifications of the Slim d’Hermès Email Grand Feu
- Case: 39.5mm – pink gold – sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating– 30m water resistant
- Movement: calibre H1950, in-house (Vaucher) – automatic winding with micro-rotor – 42h power reserve – 21,600 vibrations/h – hours, minutes and small seconds
- Strap : Matt Havana alligator
- Price: 21,400 CHF
- Limited edition of 100 pieces
Truly lovely modern watch.
Love the dial, which on vintage pocket watches, is called , I think , “double sunk”.
Just something about an enamel dial.
Thank you for the article.