Hermès loves to play with shapes and, inspired by the kinds of children’s games that combine colour and volumes, the Maison has created a new unique and playful watch; Arceau Wow.
The Wow effect
The watch takes its name from the brand’s silk scarf, designed two years ago by the young comic book artist Ugo Bienvenu and emblematic of Hermès’ signature equestrian heritage.
It comprises small square comic-book-style panels within the large square shape of the silk scarf and depicts a heroine (the Hermès woman) crossing Paris on jet skis, rollerblades, in cars and on horseback, observed by two amused golfers. It’s not only the pattern that makes this a Wow piece, but the way in which it is created; each side has its own colour scheme, with a multicoloured interpretation on the front and a monochrome version on the back.
From Paris to Switzerland
Bienvenu’s design inspired the Swiss horology workshop of Hermès Horloger and a double-sided dial. Thin and translucent like the silk thread of the scarf, it features mother-of-pearl, a dainty, elegant and feminine material through which the movement of light allows for a playfully radiant motif. The first side is initially reproduced in black ink, visible on both sides, with the entire décor of the motif hand-painted. Then pastel hues are painstakingly applied one by one: thick enough to give depth to the design, yet thin enough to let the light shine through — around 20 layers bring out every nuance of this design, each fired in the kiln at 90 °C to solidify the precious pigment.
Photos © David Marcho
The horse and heroine
The second face corresponds to the upper dial side of the watch with a sharper, denser effect for the Hermes woman and her steed. Together, they literally burst out of the dial. And silky, muted solid colours painted on the reverse side of the watch provide contrast. It takes more than 35 hours to produce one of these single dials. Finally, the timepiece is presented in an Arceau case designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978.
The Wow is available in two versions, both powered by the same Manufacture H1912 self-winding movement. One has a dial in soft pink tones, while the other boasts bluish accents. Paired with a Hermès calfskin strap and in white gold, they feature a bezel set with 82 diamonds and have been issued in a 24-piece limited edition.