“We had the opportunity to work with Robert Dallet’s drawings, because big cats epitomize the power of nature”
DA MAN: How does this year’s theme “Nature by Hermès” extend to watchmaking? Philippe Delhotal: The theme is chosen by the group’s artistic direction of Hermès. It’s sort of a red thread that should be followed by the whole company to create watches, scarves, leather goods, etc. For watches, the theme is broken down to depictions of animals and flowers, hence the Arceau Tigre, Slim d’Hermès Mille Fleurs du Mexique and Slim d’Hermès Pocket Panthere. DA: It seems that a lot of the motives are coming from the scarves. PD: We do work mainly with the Carrés scarves. It’s a very creative source for us, because it’s related to the house’s craftsmanship and is a signature of Hermès. DA: Robert Dallet’s works for scarves are now reimplemented on the watches. How did that idea first come up? PD: Nature is very rich as a theme. It’s very diverse. Obviously, we don’t want to place horses in all of the watches. Instead, this year we had the opportunity to work with Dallet’s drawings, because big cats epitomize the power of nature. Dallet himself was a very important designer for us in the 1980s. So, this year, we decided to pay tribute to him since he passed away in 2006. DA: Beside Robert Dallet, you also brought in Anita Porchet again and Olivier Vaucher. PD: We have worked with Anita since many years ago, and we do so when we want to achieve an excellent level of enameled masterpieces. With Olivier Vaucher, it began with an unexpected encounter. I met him one day and told him that I’d like to see what he was doing. He opened his drawer and showed me a beautiful project he was working on. So, a watch creation is not necessarily a product of complex ideas. In this very case, I was really thinking about the technical approach, as Olivier was able to bring in the technical parts while Hermès brought the design. So, it’s a really close collaboration. And it is the first timepiece Olivier has done for Hermès, and that technique is exclusive to the house as well. DA: Speaking of technique, why did you pick white enamel for Slim d’Hermès this year? PD: That’s my favorite piece! I was looking for a very traditional yet at the same time very modern dial in enamel. The white color exudes a sort of contemporary look but also requires a very traditional approach. That piece was essentially conceived for connoisseurs and collectors who love simple and high-end timepieces. DA: Why enameling? PD: Because this is a raw material that I love personally. It allows you to create many different things. It’s not a passive material, but very much active in the sense that you can do something modern with it.