Until the 1950s, the philosophy at Hermès was “leather, sport, and a tradition of refined elegance.” With its roots in the carriage trade, Hermès watches have always embraced that spirit with pieces such as the Cape Cod with lugs inspired by the anchor chain used on boats or the Clipper, whose preppy looks evoke a day spent sailing.
And when Hermès creative director Henri d’Origny created the Arceau watch in 1978, he wanted to loop back to the luxury brand’s equestrian roots with an asymmetrical shape inspired by stirrups.
Over the years, the Arceau has been reinterpreted many times, coming to be known more as a dress watch. But with its latest incarnation, the Hermès Arceau Chrono Titane, it is swinging back to a sportier feel.
Because of Hermès’ dedication to excellence, there is not much separation between the design and haute horology departments. D’Origny joined Hermès in 1958, designing everything from silk scarves and ties to more than 20 watches and alarm clocks. Basically he was at the forefront of creating the Hermès aesthetic that we know and love today.
Back in the Saddle
Since the Arceau was introduced in the 1970s, it has been re-interpreted through many updates and variations. This new version, Hermès Arceau Chrono Titane, however, is the sportiest yet.
While it retains the classic Arceau case, at 41mm it is the biggest in the collection. But the size helps balance the display of the Chronograph function (and the grey ring around the running seconds dial is a nice call back to the round watch face). It also feels lighter thanks to the bead blasted, grade 2 titanium material.
Also familiar are the playfully off-kilter, white transferred Arabic numerals—unique fonts are a Hermès signature, after all. The rhodium-plated and red hands are also set off nicely against the galvanic slate dial. And the three counters and the date are arranged harmoniously to create a nice, balanced effect.
And in another nod to Hermès saddle-making days, the Arceau Chrono Titane is outfitted with a saddle-stitched strap in either a natural or black embossed Barenia calfskin.
While the Arceau Chrono Titane is powered by a solid, self-winding, Swiss Made, 37-jewel mechanism, to further keep you on track, this chronograph features hours, minutes, and small seconds at 3 o’clock, a date window nestled in between 4 and 5 o’clock, a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, and a central 60-second chronograph hand.
Other fine features include a 42-hour power reserve and water resistance to 3 bar.
The Hermès Arceau Chrono Titane is priced at $5,100, and will be available in February 2018. Visit hermes.com for more details.