It is always nice to see a skilful use of traditional arts in a watch, as it is the case with Hermes Arceau H Cube which features straw marquetry on its dial, thus giving it the appearance and the quality of a proper art piece. The bright-colored dial with a charming geometric pattern shows the skill and the precision of the brand’s craftsmen in such level that is even hard to believe the dial is made from pieces of dyed straw. As for the horological aspect of the watch, it is likewise very strong, since the timepiece includes a self-winding mechanical movement. Since the production of the timekeeper is an extremely laborious task, the watch is made in a very restricted series of just 10 pieces, while its price is just under $55,000.
Stages of Straw Marquetry Miniature Making
Straw marquetry is one of traditional beautification disciplines of watchmaking that certainly adds to the prestige of the timepiece and through it the brand itself. Needless to say, the entire process of creating a miniature marquetry artwork is extremely complex and requires a host of patience. The plants used for the artwork are cultivated on a single farm and are stemming from a particular variety of the plant that is suitable for the task. Only an experienced artisan can detect usable parts of a long and smooth rye stem which are subsequently hand-scythed and dyed. The following procedure is washing and drying of the stems that results in the creation of bright colors with very subtle highlights.
After this, an artisan does his or hers little magic and combines the strands according to their colors, directions and shades with the upmost precision. Each piece is then carefully cut and assembled in a minute space in order to give out an impression of perspective. The final product is a lovely dial which depicts a geometric pattern known as H Cube which was envisioned by the designer Henri d’Origny, just like Arceau watches altogether (the new limited edition is a part of the Arceu collection). The colors used to create the pattern are orange, claret-red, fuchsia, coral and purple.
A Vaucher Automatic Movement in a White Gold Housing
The newcomer by Hermes is placed inside a round case which has the modest diameter of 41 mm. It is constructed from 750 white gold with the approximate weight of 53.36 grams. Sapphire with anti-reflective coating is used on both front and a transparent rear side of the case. The construction of the housing guarantees that it is water proof to 30 meters.
Inside the white gold case and visible through the back, there is a self-winding mechanical movement which was created for Hermes by Vaucher Manufacture from the Swiss town of Fleurier. It is caliber H1837 which integrates 193 components and 28 jewels in its construction. The movement has the width of 11 ½ lignes 26 mm), the thickness of 3.7 mm, and it operates at the rate of 28,800 vph. As for the functions of caliber H1837 which is supplied with a power reserve of 50 hours, the only supported features are hours and minutes (indicated via rhodium-plated spindle-shaped hands) which is quite understandable since the main charm of the timekeeper lays in the magnificent straw marquetry dial with the H Cube motif. In the haute Horlogerie tradition, the movement shows off a fair amount of decorations. Its mainplate is circular-grained and snailed, the bridges are satin-brushed and, just like the oscillating weight, ornamented with the special Hermes symbol engravings.
The final touch in the latest creation by Hermes is a smooth ember colored alligator leather strap which fastens with a 11 mm wide pin buckle constructed from the same material as the case of the watch and has the approximate weight of 5.37 grams. As it has been mentioned, Hermes Arceau H Cube will be released in a restricted series of 10 pieces and each watch will be individually numbered. The price of the timekeeper is exactly 50,000 Swiss Francs which is just under $55,000.