For the first time Hermès joined SIHH this year. Based on their exceptionally stylish booth decorations at Baselworld, everyone including us expected something similarly inimitable Hermès at the Palexpo in Geneva. In the Year of The Game, we visited the company at SIHH 2018.
“Time, a Hermès object – Rather than measuring, ordering, and seeking to control it, Hermès dares to explore another time, designed to arouse emotions, open up interludes and create spaces for spontaneity and recreation.”
True to how they defined it, Maison Hermès presented a new vision of time with a unique exhibition space at SIHH2018, designed with Denis Montel and the RDAI Interior Architecture agency. Founded in 1972 by Rena Dumas, the Rena Dumas Architecture Intérieure (RDAI) have been collaborating with Hermès since 1976. Denis Montel is the internationally acclaimed designer behind the Louvre boutique and bookshop in Paris as well as Hermès boutiques in Singapore, Paris and Copenhagen among other projects.
For the SIHH he designed an inviting yet refined, contemporary setting. Their key aspiration was to offer serenity through the furniture, the colour selection, just like the sounds and lighting. In the atrium each watch is revealed in a glass cube.
An interactive installation by contemporary multi-disciplinary Dutch artist Levi Van Veluw (winner of numerous prestigious awards including the Photographer of the Year by the International Photo Awards, USA) is in the focal point of the layout. With its sharp edges his “cave” standing in the centre of the atrium reminded me of a LEGO structure, which invited visitors to play both in- and outside. Discover more here.
Hermès’ horology embodies the essence of the brand: timepieces are objects that evoke wonder, playfulness and a kind of generosity with time. As Laurent Dordet (CEO La Montre Hermès) underlined during the presentation: the topic of this year is the “game”, which is also the sun in the Hermès universe.
Time is not a strict concept for them – although the Maison has stakes in the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, they are not competing with watchmaker brands on the utmost precision of watches.
“Over and above technical performances which seek to measure, order and control time, Hermès dares to explore another time. We want to awaken a playful relationship with time through an object that is true to its function” explains Axel Dumas (CEO Hermès) to Wallpaper.
Let me introduce you some of their novelties in this spirit.
Henri d’Origny has worked with the company since 1958 – first as designer, later as artistic director and creative partner. He has imagined many objects, like silk scarves (“Cavalcadour”, “Mors et Gourmettes” or “Grand Manège”), “Chaîne d’Ancre” (or anchor chain) which appeared on porcelain, jewellery and watches. The Clipper (1981), the Cape Cod (1991) and the Arceau are also associated with his name.
He created the Arceau watch in 1978 – the case features asymmetrical stirrup-shaped attachments, recalling the Maison’s equestrian heritage. It has been re-interpreted through many updates and variations, but its angled Arabic numerals have remained a signature.
This year Hermès introduced the 36mm steel Arceau Casaque – without the numbers -, inspired by a classic French children’s board game. The dial is crafted using a rhodium-plated base, decorated with champlevé enamel and lacquer techniques (in red, yellow, blue and green) and a matt tone-on-tone transferred chevron motif.
Another famous d’Origny design is the Cape Cod watch. He created the first versions in 1991, representing a “square inside a rectangle”. The shape of the case and the contours of the numbers are reminiscent of the Chaîne d’Ancre pattern. The piece also embodied the style of the American sandy peninsula encompassing most of Barnstable county and south-eastern Massachusetts.
Last year the Maison surprised us with an edgy version – the Cape Cod Shadow in full black.
Now Hermès presents three new models: a watch with a rhodium-plated dial and coated with a precious translucent lacquer (it is available in large and small, with Milanese mesh bracelet). There are two other variations with a single or double tour étoupe or a Malta blue strap. The dial of the first features a black gold treatment, while the second is blue lacquered (they come in the large version only).
Marc Berthier is a French designer and architect who has collaborated with a number of design and furniture companies (such as Lignet Rose, Lexon or Magis). He has received many important awards for his creations, some of which have been selected to be included in the permanent collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne, the Arts-Décoratifs Museum and the Fond National d’Art Contemporain in France, and the MoMA in New York.
He designed a leather pouf for Hermès and around 2006 he started to sketch watches for the company. In 2010 the Carré H watch debuted, limited to just 173 pieces – a piece for each year of Hermes’ existence since being founded in 1837.
In 2018 the two new Carré Hs were enlarged to 38x38mm and have a 316 L steel (this stainless steel is an extra-low carbon version of the 316 steel alloy) case with polished and microbead-blasted finish. Both versions have an opaline guilloché centre, finely grained chapter ring either in dark grey or black. Interesting details are the font of the numerals; Marc Berthier uses the zero also in the single digit numbers. The black model has a black strap and a touch of red on the second hand, while the grey is completed with a natural Barénia calfskin strap and a neon yellow second hand.
Hermès presented an Acreau chronograph, which is so cool that we selected it in our “Girls don’t just wanna have fun” series. Continue reading…
Photo credits: Hermès, Loupiosity.com.
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