Flash News: Hermès Arceau Lift Chevaux en Camouflage

By Thierry Ané on June 12, 2014

When you come from the world of fashion, it is always difficult to establish your credibility as a purveyor of Haute Horology. La Montre Hermès, the brand’s watchmaking subsidiary, followed the same approach to watchmaking they have adopted with all their range of products: avoiding mass-production and putting quality and authenticity first. Through clever partnerships with independent watchmakers like Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (Agenhor), as well as a real dedication to manufacturing its own movements, the brand gradually gained legitimacy in the world of Fine Watchmaking.

The introduction of the Arceau Lift Flying Tourbillon in 2013 was undeniably an important step in that direction. Developed in collaboration with La Joux-Perret, the brand’s first ever tourbillon movement is also a tribute to its history: the double-H topping the tourbillon carriage is inspired by the elaborate design of the lift door in its Paris Boutique at “24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré”. This is where the double-H emblem, symbolising the marriage between Thierry Hermès’ grandson Émile-Maurice Hermès and wife Julie Hollande, was first seen.

This year, the brand unveils two limited editions that combine the mechanical mastery of the Arceau Lift Flying Tourbillon with the artistic beauty of cloisonné enamelling. The rose gold and white gold versions of the “Arceau Lift Chevaux en Camouflage” are both powered by the H1923 calibre and the double-H tourbillon still sits on a plate decorated with raised chevron motif on the lower part of the dial.

These “Arceau Lift Chevaux en Camouflage” also use the same 43 mm round case as last year’s model. The back is again engraved with Hermès’ iconic logo of the horse and carriage and presents a see-through aperture just behind the tourbillon. The rose gold model is mounted on a Hermès Havana brown alligator strap while the white gold version features a Hermès black alligator strap. Both are secured by a pin buckle crafted in the same material as the case.

What makes both models so special, though, is the upper part of the dial reproducing, in cloisonné enamel, a motif inspired by a Hermès silk carré called “Chevaux en Camouflage”. Gold wires are used to trace the outlines of a group of wild horses that are then filled with enamel powders in a large palette of brown or blue hues depending on the model. Through successive firings the subtle nuances of the enamel are gradually revealed to produce these amazing motifs so characteristic of the brand’s iconography.

What I truly like about these “Arceau Lift Chevaux en Camouflage” is that the decorative side of the piece does not overshadow its mechanical heart. When you look at it you see a stunning technical feat as much as you see a piece of art. And what is even more impressive is that whatever part you look at, what you see is purely Hermès!

The rose gold version will retail for CHF 210,000 and the price tag on the white gold model is CHF 230,000. Each version is limited to 24 pieces.

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