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Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!

The Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! is a white gold pocket watch featuring a cover adorned with a playful depiction of a T-Rex. However, its movement is a serious example of Haute Horlogerie, pairing a flying tourbillon with a minute repeater. Once again, Hermès demonstrates its prowess for artistic crafts and high-end watchmaking.

Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!

Image – Copyright © Claude Joray

Hermès has recently unveiled a one of a kind pocket watch with a cover embellished with a stylised T-Rex motif. This cover features marquetry, leather mosaic and grand feu enamelling. The design is inspired by one of the Maison’s legendary scarves and made in collaboration with English artist Alice Shirley.

While the cover of the pocket watch is rich with artisanal craftsmanship, it is slightly mischievous and fun. Even the name of the watch, the Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!, evokes a smile.

Beneath its lighthearted exterior, this watch contains incredible watchmaking know-how. Firstly, the movement features a flying tourbillon, whereby, similar to a ‘regular’ tourbillon, the escapement and regulating organ are placed within a rotating cage, mitigating the adverse influence of gravity on the regulating organ. Where a flying tourbillon differs from a regular tourbillon is that it eschews an upper bridge, affording greater views of the cage, escapement and regulating organ in motion. Only the most accomplished watchmakers are entrusted to work on such a complication.

Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!

Image – Copyright © Claude Joray

However, the watch also features a minute repeater, arguably the most challenging complication of all. A minute repeater chimes the hours, quarter hours and minutes on demand. It is comprised of two wire gongs that are struck by two hammers. The gongs have to be shaped, heated and quenched on a repeated basis. There are numerous variables which have to be mastered. For example, the method of quenching the gongs is a closely guarded secret, albeit it’s known that some watchmakers have used horse urine on occasion!

The two gongs are affixed to both the movement and the case using a plot. Moreover, they are positioned in parallel and never touch each other. The watchmaker, having spent many days making the gongs, then files them carefully to achieve the desired sound. Caution should always be exercised, if too much material is removed, the gong is no longer of any use.

The H1924 movement within the Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! is fitted with a centrifugal governor. This ensures the time interval between each hammer strike is equal.

It is always wonderful when a brand showcases its creativity and demonstrates a sense of humour, however, be under no misapprehension, the H1924 is a serious piece of watchmaking.

The brand’s press release

The Arceau watch, created by Henri d’Origny in 1978, lends its classic yet distinctive round shape – with its asymmetrical stirrup-inspired lugs – to infinite expressions of Hermès creativity, style and expertise. Its timeless white gold silhouette stages an alliance between leather craftsmanship and Haute Horlogerie in a one-of-a-kind pocket watch. Beating to the rhythm of the Manufacture H1924 minute-repeater and tourbillon movement, the Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! frames a refined white enamel dial, protected by a cover adorned with a tyrannosaurus composed of marquetry and leather mosaic.

Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!

Image – Copyright © Claude Joray

After the gruff bear of the Slim of Hermes Grrrrr! and the wolf howling in the moonlight of the Arceau Awooooo, the Arceau Pocket Aaaaaargh! watch is joining the bestiary imagined by English artist Alice Shirley. On this model, the «king of the tyrant lizards» with half-open jaws and an attentive eye comes to life under the expert guidance of Hermès watchmakers, after a month of meticulous work using exclusive techniques developed in its leather workshops.

Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!

Image – Copyright © David Marchon

The design of the tyrannosaurus, which appears to be peeking through a porthole, stands out against the cover and involves a combination of several demanding skills. The head and scales are made in leather mosaic: thousands of finely hand-cut multicoloured leather fragments are applied one by one to faithfully reproduce the original pattern. The domed eye of the dinosaur, visible on both sides of the cover, is made of cabochon- cut Grand Feu enamel. Finally, the jaw and tongue are crafted in leather marquetry: fine tesserae are cut from various coloured leathers, previously thinned to just 0.5 mm, before being juxtaposed on the enamel base. Setting the final touch to this miniaturised leather artwork, a matt green alligator leather cord-strap is secured to the rectangular stirrup and accentuates the overall design.

Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh!

Image – Copyright © Claude Joray

Further reading

https://www.hermes.com/

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