Hermes has released three lovely watches which display the maison’s savoir-faire in the painstaking technique of French lacquer. The trio of watches is unified in a single theme – Cheval d’Orient – which is French for “Oriental Horse”. This is an often used theme by Hermes that draws its inspiration from Persian miniatures and displays motifs with equestrian scenes of yesteryears. Each of three watches with elaborate and lovely motifs of horses on its dial is released in a limited edition of 24 pieces. Moreover, they are all made with white gold cases and base their functioning on self-winding mechanical caliber H1837. The only supported functions are hours and minutes.
The Oriental Horse
The Cheval d’Orient is a collection whose motifs are visible on a multitude of various different products by Hermes. The series inspired by ancient Persian miniatures depicts horses which are often coated with colorful saddle rugs. It has an overall romantic styling, while its goal is to evoke the past times of olden silk caravans. The common equestrian motifs of the Cheval d’Orient collection are now used for the creation of three superb looking timekeepers. In order to depict the horses on three striking types of dials, Hermes artisans employed artistic techniques of French Lacquering and miniaturization.
Demanding and Time-Consuming Process
However, there is a catch. The selected technique commonly uses bamboo wood as its basis. Since the dials have a metal surface as a background, the process is even more demanding than it is usual and it requires several alterations. In order to create these three lovely scenes, a Hermes’s artisan uses a brush with a very fine tip. The brush is utilized to apply lacquer pigments which are mixed with varnish based on copal.
The initial stage in the making of the dial is the creation of a pitch black background for the equestrian motif. In order to make an immaculate setting for the scene, the maison’s artisans had to apply more than 30 different coatings of black paint. Since there is a necessary period of drying between each of the coatings which lasts for three days, it takes three whole months just to create the background of the dial.
Then, the real artistic part of the work begins. This phase of the process starts with the drawing of the contours of the depicted scene. The following stage is the creation of the desired colors, which is achieved by crushing and mixing of the pigments in appropriate proportions. After this is done, Hermes artisans apply different colors one by one until the entire scene is completed. When this laborious task is completed, it is time for another drying period which lasts for additional ten days. Lastly, the final stage commences. It involves the application of as much as 20 coatings of transparent lacquer, which gives the image an unparalleled quality of depth characteristic for the technique.
Automatic Caliber Exclusive for the Brand
Since these three models with the Cheval d’Orient motifs require so much skill and since they are true works of art, it comes as no surprise that Hermes chose to make them with just two central hands, for hours and minutes. The functioning of the watch is enabled by the inclusion of self-winding caliber H1837 with 28 jewels which was made exclusively for Hermes by a renowned Swiss movement manufacturer Vaucher. It is a caliber with the diameter of 11 ½ lignes (25.6 mm) and a very slim profile of just 3.7 mm. It runs on the frequency of 28,800 vph and has a power reserve which lasts for around 50 hours. As it is expected for a high-end piece, the watch is finely decorated. Its main-plate is with circular graining and snailed motifs, while its bridges and rotor are adorned with the brand’s special decoration with H symbols. The oscillating weight is also graced with an engraving that states “Hermes Paris”.
Nearly 65 Grams of White Gold
Trio of Hermes timekeepers with the Cheval d’orient motifs are placed inside round cases of the recognizable Arceau design. This type of housing features the distinctive stirrup shaped lugs and it was originally envisioned for the maison by a renowned artist, Henri d’Origni, in the late 1970s. In this instance, the case is made of 750 white gold (whose weight is approximately 58 grams). It has the diameter of 41 mm, waterproofness of 30 meters and includes anti-reflective sapphire glasses on both of its sides. The wristlet of choice is a matt black alligator strap which fastens with a pin buckle which is just like the case made of white gold and which has the weight of around 5.37 grams.
Three Different Scenes
As it has been said, there are three versions of Hermes Arceau Cheval d’Orient timekeeper, each made with a slightly different equestrian scene on the dial. The first of them with the reference 040826WW AR8.790.11/MNO depicts two horses which are facing in the opposite directions. On the other hand, the version 040827WW00 AR8.790.110/MNO shows a pair of horses which are both facing the right side. The third version, the version 040828WW AR8.790.112/MNO, depicts a mare and a foal. Each of the watches is launched in a restricted series of 24 copies, where each specific watch is individually numbered.