Hermès Arceau L’heure de la lune
The Hermès Arceau L’heure de la lune presents the prevailing time and date on two separate dials. As these dials rotate within the watch case, they reveal the moon phase below.
Moonphase indications have been around for aeons. For example, the Antikythera mechanism, often described as the first analogue computer, dating back to circa 200 B.C, displayed celestial time using a number of different hands. These hands comprised of one for the Moon, one for the Sun and one final hand simultaneously displaying the time on Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn and Venus. A rotating black and silver ball showed the phase of the Moon. The Antikythera helped predict astronomical events such as eclipses and the position of planets at a specific point in time.
The moon’s gravitational pull on earth causes those oceans facing the Moon to bulge upwards in response to the moon’s gravitational influence, leading to high tide. Conversely, where the ocean waters are furthest from the moon, the moon’s influence is comparatively weak.
Many birds use the moon as a tool when migrating as well as for general navigation. In addition, the moon phase is often used by animals to plan optimal moments for reproduction. The moon has also been linked with circadian rhythms which influence sleep patterns of animals and humans. Furthermore, the moon has also inspired works of art and literature.
This brings me to the new Hermès Arceau L’heure de la line, a watch that ingeniously and poetically shows the moon phase when viewed from both the northern and southern hemispheres. Two identically-sized, discrete displays, one indicating the date and a second showing the hours and minutes, rotate beneath a sapphire crystal. As the two circular displays circumnavigate the dial area, they cover two representations of the moon and, by default, show their respective phases.
In order to create this ingenious system, Hermès worked closely with movement specialist, Chronode, and its esteemed technical genius, Jean-François Mojon. The resultant model, the Hermès Arceau L’heure de la lune, perfectly demonstrates the luxury brand’s breathtaking creativity and stunning design capabilities.
The brand’s press release
Travelling in another dimension, cosmic and dreamlike. Setting foot on the moon and losing one’s sense of time and space. The Arceau L’heure de la lune watch offers a unique vision of Earth’s satellite with the simultaneous display of moon phases in both northern and southern hemispheres. Two mobile counters gravitate on a lunar, Martian or Black Sahara meteorite dial, revealing mother-of-pearl moons in step with an exclusive module, coupled with a Manufacture Hermès movement.
An offbeat expression of a classic horological complication, the Arceau L’heure de la lune watch offers an original interpretation of Hermès watchmaking expertise. Framed by a white gold or platinum case, the mechanics adopt a light, barely-there role. Meteorite inlaid with mother-of-pearl form a cosmos in which satellite dials float above hemispherical moons. These mischievous displays have swapped cardinal points, with the south above and the north below. A topsy-turvy direction inviting observers to lose their bearings, with their head in the stars…
The horse, representing the origins of Hermès, gallops elegantly into the world of dreams. At 12 o’clock, the moon is adorned by a Pegasus designed by the “dreamer-designer” Dimitri Rybaltchenko. Entitled Pleine Lune (Full Moon), this portrayal of the winged horse hints at a passage between two worlds, where magic and reality merge. On the other side, at 6 o’clock, the view of the moon from the northern hemisphere provides a realistic depiction of its surface.
The mobile counters displaying the time and date turn weightlessly to reveal the moon discs, while maintaining their horizontal orientation. This contemporary dance is choreographed by a module exclusively developed for Hermès and for which a patent has been filed. With a total thickness of just 4.2 mm, its 117 polished and bead-blasted components are incorporated within the Manufacture Hermès H1837 movement: a technical challenge designed to preserve the slenderness of the overall mobile chassis, which sweeps around the dial in 59 days. The mother-of-pearl moons set into the stone display the lunar cycles in the northern and southern hemispheres. This mysterious game of hide-and-seek reveals nothing of its technical complexity, so as to give pride of place to dreams.
Within this space-time, metal, stars and rock seamlessly merge the watch exterior with the movement to form an unprecedented technical and aesthetic display of simple and graphic readability. The double moon here eclipses a traditional aperture-type display, instead covering the entire surface of the dial. The result is a free-spirited and impertinent vision
of mechanical watchmaking according to Hermès. The Arceau case with its asymmetrical lugs, designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978, becomes a lunar crater made of meteorite stone, while the lacquered dials, gravitating like satellites, display Arabic numerals with a distinctive sloping font. This Haute Horlogerie timepiece is fitted with a matt alligator strap in black, Havana or Veronese green, depending on the versions.