The Shape Of Time

For Watches and Wonders Geneva 2024, Hermès teamed up with artist Erin O’Keefe to present a visual display inspired by the simple shapes of the new Cut collection.

Boldly merging a sharp-edged profile with clean, soft lines, in one smooth creative stroke, the collection combines a free-spirited round form with the perfect geometry of the circle, resulting in a pure and inspiring design.

Echoing Hermès Cut, Erin O’Keefe’s immersive scenography explores the shapes of time. The American artist’s colourful structures evoke both the simplicity of cave art and the formal simplicity of modernist sculpture as she turns sculptor for Hermès, for the first time conceptualising a magnified – in every sense of the term – version of her creations.

The New York-based artist offers an immersive experience of playful disorientation that challenges perception and unlocks a series of new possibilities.

Featuring optical as well as sensory magnification, Erin O’Keefe’s installation is a call to sharpen the senses, an invitation to go beyond the known limits of perception. It’s a world of games and trompe-l’oeil.

Vision is transformed by movement. Each step opens up an unexpected perspective, each glance unveils a new dimension, like the bevel of the Hermès Cutwatch that reveals itself only from a certain angle.

Within this whimsical setting, everyone can give free rein to their imagination. Fiction becomes reality, optical illusion reigns supreme and one enters a world where habitual landmarks fade away to make way for daydreaming. A haven of peace amid the hustle and bustle of the world, the installation is an invitation to an inner, dreamlike journey, a pause in the onward rush of time, the better to feel the calm simplicity of the present, its essential pulse.

Hermès Novelties For Watches and Wonders

Hermès Cut

Transforming matter into a timeless object, Hermès Cutis a creation by Philippe Delhotal, expressing the vivacity of inspiration that is at once innately feminine and universal.

Hermès Cut celebrates simple shapes through its powerful style. A circle. A round shape. Hermès Cut plays with the vocabulary of geometry dear to the house. Sharp angles and crisply drawn lines endow this universally appealing watch with a distinctive identity.

The balanced proportions of the satin-brushed and polished case and the gleam of its clean-cut edges accentuate its character. The crown, boldly positioned at half past one and embellished with a lacquered or engraved H, stands out for its originality. Playing with light and shimmering effects, the bevel-cut bezel frames a generous dial with a curved edge, punctuated by luminescent applied Arabic numerals. The unique embossed font complements the simplicity of the watch and enlivens time read-off.

The watch is powered by a Manufacture Hermès H1912 movement. This mechanical self-winding calibre, revealed through the sapphire crystal caseback, drives the display of hours, minutes and seconds. Polished, phosphorescent and partly openworked, the elegant baton-shaped hour and minute hands, along with a large seconds hand bearing a luminous dot, sweep over the silver-toned dial with its grey and orange-accented minutes track.

The seamlessly integrated metal bracelet features supple links with a rounded profile and alternating finishes picking up the case design. In addition, a rubber strap is available in a range of eight colours drawn from the Hermès palette – white, orange, gris perle, gris étain, glycine, vert criquet, bleu jean and capucine – while a clever interchangeability system makes it easy to play with styles on a daily basis.

Whether all in steel or in an elegant two-tone combination of steel and rose gold – with 56 bezel-set diamonds or without – the Hermès Cutwatch asserts its versatile and timeless personality.

ARCEAU Chorus Stellarum

Featuring mobile appliques, engraving and miniature painting, the Arceau watch comes to life in a whimsical and mischievous equestrian universe.

Despite its classical appearance, the Arceau watch designed by Henri d’Origny loves playing the transformation game. Its round case topped by asymmetrical stirrup-shaped lugs welcomes a wealth of remarkable and demanding artistic crafts. Embellished by engraving and miniature painting, its timeless yet singular aesthetic becomes an object of Hermès creativity and expertise.

Two exclusive interpretations reveal a decorative world that is at times fantasy-tinged and at others futuristic, inspired by the Chorus Stellarum silk scarf designed by Daiske Nomura. The characters – dashing skeleton riders astride their noble steeds – are embodied in mobile yellow gold appliques, engraved and painted by hand. Driven by a spring mechanism linked to the nine o’clock pusher, these gothic vanities swing into action at the flick of a thumb in a smooth ‘on-demand impulse’ animation that sees them prance around a gilded constellation created using the champlevé technique. Like a celestial painting, this new zodiac featuring symbols subtly borrowed from the Émile Hermès collection reveals the equestrian skies in a dazzling canvas of colourful lacquer-coated motifs, enhanced by applied rhodium-plated stars.

These combined forms of craftsmanship reinterpret the festive and esoteric theme of celebrating the passing of time, conceptualised by the Japanese illustrator who revels in staging and diverting various Hermès emblems, associating them with contemporary cartoon, manga and gaming culture.

This alliance of art, relief and radiance is highlighted by a slender white gold case measuring 41mm in diameter, set with 70 diamonds on the version adorned with a skeleton horsewoman. Beating at the heart of the case, the Manufacture Hermès Hermès H1837 movement – complete with its fine finishing and the sprinkling of Hs motif adorning its bridges and oscillating weight – can be admired through the sapphire crystal case-back. A matt abyss blue or pearl grey alligator strap highlights the vibrant colours of these two watches, each issued in numbered limited series of six.

ARCEAU Duc Attelé

Haute Horlogerie and equestrian emblems meet and mingle in this grand complication Arceau watch: a unique composition featuring a triple-axis tourbillon and a minute repeater.

The classic design of the Arceau watch makes it an ideal showcase for expressions of horology and craftsmanship that are as creative as they are demanding. Designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978, its round shape with asymmetrical stirrup lugs is reinvented with the inherent ease of a resolutely timeless model. The understated yet distinctive 43mm polished titanium or rose gold case of the Arceau Duc Attelé highlights the alliance between Hermès style and expertise. The central triple-axis tourbillon and the ‘tuning-fork’ minute repeater are in harmony with the Hermès world of Haute Horlogerie and equestrian aesthetics.

The association of these two major complications with a high-frequency movement – a first – is revealed at the heart of the watch, where every technical and stylistic detail reveals its share of unexpected elements and meticulous care. On the dial side, a sapphire dome tops the triple-axis tourbillon and its triple mirror-polished titanium carriage shaped with interlacing double Hs, symbolising the union of Émile Hermès and Julie Hollande in 1900. These entwined letters echo the ironwork adorning the lift in the original Parisian boutique at 24 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré. Embodying a feat of mechanical miniaturisation, this tourbillon featuring three separate axes and rotation speeds (completing one full turn in 300, 60 and 25 seconds), operates within a curved, eccentric hour-circle. The hours-minutes display is punctuated by Arabic numerals inclined like a galloping horse. To enhance the visibility of this horological achievement, claw-shaped hands appear around the rim of the chapter ring. Their blue hue complements the 48-hour power-reserve indicator appearing at the base of the dial.

Evoking sound-wave propagation, the dynamic striped guilloché decoration of the titanium model echoes the minute repeater hammers sculpted in the shape of a horse. Chiming the hours, quarters and minutes via a dedicated slide on the side of the case, these hammers strike the elongated U-shaped branches of the long hardened-steel gong visible around the edge of the dial and whose tones are reminiscent of cathedral chimes. This ‘tuning fork’ structure ensures optimal resonance, amplified by the material used for the case that is both lightweight and endowed with excellent acoustic properties.

Hand-wound via the three o’clock crown, the Arceau Duc Attelé watch beats to a precise rhythm thanks to its Manufacture H1926 movement equipped with a high-frequency balance (5 Hz). The reference refers to the year in which major renovation work was completed at the Paris boutique on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré. All this can be admired through a sapphire case-back inviting observers to contemplate a singular décor. The remarkable gears feature a cut-out design inspired by the wheels of the Duc attelé: a canopy-top, four-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses. A celebration of an image closely bound up with the name Hermès and inspired by a drawing by 19th century French animal painter and master of equestrian art Alfred Dreux, which Émile Hermès acquired in 1920.

The mainplate and bridges of Calibre H1926 feature an anthracite PVD treatment accentuating the light colour of the chiming mechanism, its horse head-and-mane rack and its toothed wheels picked up from the Hermès carriage emblem. The openworked sapphire-crystal strikework bridge further enhances the sound of the minute repeater while revealing the movement’s hand-finishing, its gold chatons, generous jewels and mirror-polished screws. Available in titanium or rose gold versions – each issued in a numbered 24-piece limited edition – the Arceau Duc Attelé watch is paired with a matt anthracite or matt abyss blue alligator strap crafted in the Hermès Horloger workshops.

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