Like Harley Davidson, Nike and Montblanc, watchmaker Hermès is synonymous with brand superiority. The most fervent of collectors – the wristwatch experts, specialists and fanatics – wait on tenterhooks for its next press release or the launch of a new product. The truth is, Hermès rarely puts a foot wrong. So, it’s no surprise it’s latest watch is a real beauty. The Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune Watch (which roughly translates as ‘arch/hoop hour of the moon) has a simply gorgeous face. Its internal display depicts a pair of static moons made from mother of pearl. These moons are complemented by two delightfully unique lacquer dials. They appear to float inside the display as they rotate slowly around its interior.
And it doesn’t just look beautiful. There’s a level of detail on show here that’s bound to thrill even the most familiar Hermès fans. For instance, the floating watch dials make a full lap of their display only once every 59 days. If you look carefully – and check up to date moon readings – you’ll see the dials cover and conceal the pearl moons in accordance with the current moon phases in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Clever, huh?
Now, your appetite is whetted, let’s dive right in and take a closer look at the new Arceau L’Heure De La Lune Watch from Hermès.
The Appeal of a Themed Wristwatch
It should be clear by now that the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune is a themed addition in the Hermès collection. To be specific, it’s what you’d call a moon phase watch. While it’s not the first time the manufacturer has combined innovative mechanics with creative concepts, it’s arguably the most successful. For one thing, it has two clock faces, a highly unusual feature that watch fans don’t see often. One of the dials counts hours and minutes. The other tracks the date. The watch’s already quirky arrangement is made even more fanciful with purposefully inverted moons. The uppermost moon depicts the phase in the southern hemisphere and the bottom moon the northern hemisphere’s phase. But wait, there’s more. It’s time to reveal what is, without a doubt, our favourite part of this stunning watch.
Each floating moon contains a delicate but detailed design created by artist Dimitri Rybaltchenko. He refers to the artwork as Pleine Lune or, simply, Full Moon. On the upper moon, there’s a dreamy Pegasus icon. On the bottom moon, there’s a fascinating recreation of our actual moon’s lunar surface. It’s a concept that, if done with anything but complete dedication and precision would likely look twee but, in Hermès’ hands, it’s exquisite.
Musing on the Mechanics of Time Keeping
Hermès is offering two slightly different versions of the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune watch. You can get your hands on a watch with an aventurine dial or one with a dial made from meteorite. The former comes with grey lacquer disc dials and the latter with white dials. Both versions come with a 43mm signature Arceau case in white gold. And, wait for it – only one hundred of each have been produced.
These wristwatches are very limited edition. And, being Hermès timepieces, they’re highly sought after. If you’re looking for a classic watch, with familiar styling and features, the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune is probably not the right choice. But if you’re a collector, of rare wristwatches or Hermès watches in particular, it might just end up as the showpiece of your collection. It’s imaginative, light hearted and a great deal of fun; plaudits not often used in the serious, studious watch industry.
The Arceau L’Heure De La Lune is impeccable in both concept and execution. The organic majesty of meteorite, mother of pearl and aventurine is undeniable. In fact, it’s difficult to say which of the watches’ two versions is the better. Where the meteorite form is moody and dramatic, the aventurine is decadent and charmingly iridescent – both offer an interplay of subtle contrasts and mirrored forms that is effortlessly delightful.
The only gripe we have the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune watch is its size. At 43mm, it’s certainly on the larger side. If you have slender wrists, it’s not only going to look bulky, it may also feel heavy to wear. With that being said, the quality of such a rare and beautiful timepiece is hardly going to wane with infrequency of use.
When you do wear it, if you do wear it, just make sure the occasion deserves it.