Recently, there is a trend that major watchmakers revive some of the old and almost forgotten crafts on their latest timepieces. This is especially evident on new Hermes Arceau Pocket Volutes timekeeper. It is a pocket watch that turns the spotlight to the crafts of gold marquetry and hand engraving which are used to make a magnificent looking and exceptionally elaborate volutes motif on the cover of the timekeeper. The one-of-a-kind newcomer by Hermes does not only look good, but has a strong horological dimension which is achieved with the inclusion of a hand-wound mechanical movement by Vaucher.
Design of Henri d’Origny
Still, the most amazing trait of the watch is certainly the aforementioned volutes motif made from gold, which is evident from the mere fact that it gave the name to the product. The styling of the decoration draws its inspiration from the design envisioned by Henri d’Origny. The design was presented back in 1972 and interestingly, first presented on a silk scarf by Hermes. However, the creation of these spiral intermingled decorations is far more demanding when it is made from gold, as in this case. In order to complete just the surface for the cover, an experienced craftsman works meticulously for nearly 150 hours.
Gold Marquetry, Step by Step
At the start of the complex process in which the scrolling motif comes into fruition, an artisan first makes two gold discs, one of white and the other one from red gold, which are subsequently joined and welded onto each other by being exposed to extremely high temperatures in a furnace. After the plates are removed from the furnace, the first curves of the delicately engraved upper red gold plate are exposed. Nevertheless, a hard task of styling them into the desired final motif is just beginning at this point. By using a type of chisel known as a scorper, a master goldsmith starts using a decorative technique known by the name of ramolayage. At this stage, the craftsman creates subdivisions to the already existing volutes which gives them volume and makes them appear much more refine.
Needless to say, styling of the perfectly eye-pleasing curves from gold and making them reflect the light is far from an easy task. The following procedure is hammering whose purpose is to blacken the surfaces. For this task, a master craftsman uses a chasing-tool which emphasizes the differences between the polished and blackened surfaces made from white gold. Next, the treated component is coated with a protective varnish and then dipped into ruthenium color. When the protective varnish is removed, the final result reveals gold components in three different shades: rose-pinkish tone, dark gray and light gray.
Chocolate Grand Feu Enamel Face
Though undoubtedly phenomenal in its intricacy, as well as because it revives ancient and nearly forgotten decorative technique, the volutes motif pattern is not the only feature originating from the good old times when these crafts were cherished; the dial of the timekeeper displays grand feu enamelling technique. Its remarkable chocolate brown transparent face has darker shades of brown at its outskirts and lighter ones in the center of its face, which is caused by different amounts of enamel coating being present on the white gold base.
Quality Package Backed With the Movement of the Same Kind
Hermes Arceau Pocket Volutes timepiece is fitted into the substantial circular casing made from 750 white gold. The manufacturer uses precisely 116 grams for the gold casing which guarantees water resistance to 300 meters. Naturally, the watchmaker used a sapphire with a glare-proof coating for the crystal.
Inside the round golden case with the lovely decorations beats manufacture Vaucher H1928 movement with the diameter of 11 ½ lignes (25.6 mm) and the thickness of 3.5 mm. When fully wound by hand, the watch has a power storage which lasts for about 55 hours. H1928 beats at the frequency of 4 Hz and integrates 32 jewels in its construction. The only supported functions are hours and minutes, while among the finishing of the movement, one can detect hand-bevelled and polished bridges and mechanisms, as well as a gold oscillating weight. For the attachment, Hermes used a cord-strap made from matt Havana alligator leather which is the material likewise used for the pouch.