Watch of the Week: Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente

Courtesy Hermès

Hermès unveils a new watch that takes a poetic approach to playing with our sense of time and anticipation.

 Just last month at Baselworld, Hermès unveiled a brand-new watch that’ll make you think about time a little differently. As a follow up to its delightful Le Temps Suspendu (Time Suspended) watch unveiled in 2012, which enabled the wearer to stop time with the push of a button so as not to see its passing, the French fashion house toys with the concept of anticipation with the brand-new Slim d'Hermès L’Heure impatiente (Impatient Hour).

The Making of the Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente

To create the L’Heure impatiente, Hermès once again turned to famed watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht of Swiss watchmaking lab Agenhor, who also devised its charming, playful predecessor. Unlike Le Temps Suspendu, however, the L’Heure impatiente timepiece required an entirely new complication in order to present the watchmaker’s poetic interpretation of an alarm system.

The mechanism works by way of two subdials working in tandem: one at 6:00, labeled “l’heure impatiente,” which displays a countdown scale of 60 minutes, and a second to its right, which displays the hours 1 through 12 in a counter clockwise direction. A pusher controlling the second dial sets the time of a reminder within a 12-hour window. One hour before the set time, the countdown on the other dial begins from 60. Once the hour has passed, a chime sounds the alarm.

The complex operations, which took five years to develop, are made possible via a separate mechanical module engineered by Wiederrecht positioned on top of an ultra-thin Hermès H1912 self-winding movement (produced by Vaucher). The complicated module uses a special spring and a host of other top watchmaking feats, but Wiederrecht brings even more whimsy to the design with components shaped to resemble animals. The tooth of the cam, for instance, is modeled after a shark’s fin, and the rack that activates the hours takes after the winged horse Pegasus.

Main features of the Slim d’Hermès L’Heure Impatiente

The watch is crafted in 5N 18-karat rose gold and measures 40.5mm in diameter. It features an opaline-silvered dial with baton-shaped hands in blue lacquer and an anti-glare sapphire crystal and sapphire caseback (allowing for viewing of the meticulously finished movement). Topping it all off is an alligator strap in a brand-new shade of blue. The watch offers 42 hours of power reserve and is water resistant to 30 meters. In yet another feat, the watch—whose movement consists of 193 parts and additional module an extra 131 components—is still slim enough to fit beneath a shirt cuff.

Price and Availability

The Slim d’Hermès L’Heure impatiente watch will be available for sale in Hermès and authorized retail jewelry stores starting this summer for $39,900.

For more breakthrough watches, see our reviews of the Christophe Claret Maestro and the Corum Golden Bridge Rectangle.