The “Robe du Soir” silk-scarf pattern arrives on the rose gold Arceau dial with a mosaic of tiny leather fragments. A magical work of craftsmanship!
Mosaics have existed since Antiquity, for around 6,000 years, and are basically made up of terracotta or stone fragments put together to form tiling or a pattern. Over time, the practical technique became a refined and elegant form of decorative art. It has also been miniaturised, sometimes using less common materials like in the Arceau Robe du Soir model, a beautiful watch available in just 12 pieces, which celebrates a new form of art on the dial: the leather mosaic. Is it any wonder? Not really, since leather-making was Hermès’ original business and elegance its leading feature.
To make the miniature format of the Robe du Soir silk-scarf pattern, designed by the very talented Florence Manlik, the artisans from the Parisian firm painstakingly cut out tiny square fragments from full-grain calf leather. In all, 2,200 minute fragments form the colourful profile of a harnessed horse’s head against an electric blue background. The animal with a brown coat and beige mask is dressed in striking colours such as bright red and deep turquoise. At the centre of this profusion of colour are a pair of gilded, leaf-shaped hands unobtrusively moving around the hours and minutes. The hands are driven by the H1837 calibre, a self-winding movement made in-house by Hermès and providing 50 hours of power reserve.
The leather mosaic is shown to advantage in an Arceau case with asymmetrical lugs. It is 41mm-wide, made of rose gold and attached to the wrist with an electric blue Swift calf leather strap, rounded off with a tang buckle.
Price: CHF 52,000 hermes.com
By Sharmila Bertin