An open face – a hidden secret. Take time to view this masterpiece.
The Paris based Hermes company has since 1837 been synonymous with styliish leather goods, initially designed for the well heeled male traveller. Hermes luggage is still a desirable companion for any tour or cruise but their product range now aso appeals to a wide female audience who are prepared to wait months for the joy of owning a Hermes Birkin handbag.
Hermes has, as might be expected of a Paris based company, links with the world of fashion. Style and quality empitomise its products and in keeping with Paris’ fame for fashion, fine prorcelain and beautiful glass, Hermes has extended its portfolio, a smooth evolution.
Watches have been a recent addition to the range, introduced in 1978. As a producer of fine watch straps it was a natural progression. Hermes has maintained its product integrity with the establishment of its own small watch factory in Biel, Switzerland.
Clean lines, clear faces, sometimes understated but with a visual impact derived from an uncluttered style. Hermes have a diverse range offering variations in style, shape and form to meet the preferences of its customers. Compare for example, the boldness of the Clipper Classic with the Arceau Skeleton provocatively displaying its movement and the bejewelled Cape Cod Torneau.
Seeking a movement of quality worthy of its beautifully fashioned cases and straps Hermes invested heavily in Vaucher so that its watches are not simply stylish but honour the traditions of watch making skills and expertise, adhering to the principles of design and craftmanship throughout.
The latest addition to Hermes’ range is the Arceau “Le Temps suspendu”. At first glance you are presented with a deceptively simple design of watch and strap, clear lines, aesthetically pleasing but then take time to view it critically and focus on each feature.
The strap is unadorned, understated, not distracting from the flowing lines of the face. The upper wire attachment blends gently with the case, not interrupting the smooth sweep of the watch body, in harmony with the graceful curves of the face. The bevelled softened lines of the case cradle its face. Case and face have a fluidity of shape, seamless, unbroken.
Look more closely at the face. It gains momentum from the angling of the numbers. Note the sweep of its inner arc depicting the date. Each takes the eye on another curving journey, giving movement and momentum. The winding crown, strategically placed at 2 o’ clock does not intrude on the symmetry of the design. Guilloché work featuring a delicate heringbone pattern on the dial, enhances the whole. The cursive copperplate of its name “Le temps suspendu” adds another dimension to the fluidity of line but reads against the gentle sweep of the hands. They are almost aerodynamic, a curvaceous outline contrasting with its slenderness of the sweeping second hand, their blueness adding to the drama.
A model to suit you
If, however, the drama of the featured model its stainless steel case and black leather strap are not your preferred combination Hermes has two alternatives – the warmer gold case with brown leather strap and the bold black faced model for the more daring.
In focussing on the grace and form of the exterior the technical specification should not be ignored. This is a watch which is true to the best traditions of haute horology with a retrograde date, Guilloché, blued hands, circular graining and “Côtes de Genève”.
The name of the watch “Le Temps suspendu” derives from an attribute which makes the watch so special. It hides its secret within. An unusual feature allows the hands to stop and leads the calendar to disappear from view but then to be recalled at the push of a button! It is a marriage of time and time suspended. It’s magic! This is not a showman’s trick, a sleight of hand, but a unique masterpiece of design developed and patented by Hermes. A sophisticated mechanism and an addtional module with 24 jewels incorporated in the design rest beneath the innocent face so that whilst time appears to stop, it continues its hidden progress.
An Inner Secret
Don’t be deceived. Whilst the open face presents the time to its owner with great clarity, it is a face which hides an inner secret.