24-7 (Singapore) - - F For .... Fashion Forward -

Over at Hermes, they’ve fo­cused on lux­ury watch­mak­ing in earnest only for the past 13 years. Yet, the achieve­ments of the 176-year-old com­pany in this arena have been me­te­oric.

De­spite its youth, La Mon­tre Hermes (the com­pany’s watch di­vi­sion) has chalked up im­pres­sive mile­stones, the lat­est of which is last year’s launch of its first in-house au­to­matic move­ments – the H1837 and H1912. This year, the H1837 move­ment is mod­i­fied into the H1925 au­to­matic chrono­graph move­ment, which drives the new Dressage Chrono­graph col­lec­tion.

For the unini­ti­ated, the abil­ity of a watch brand to pro­duce in-house time­pieces is re­garded as a horo­log­i­cal apex. It is an am­bi­tion of many watch com­pa­nies, as it en­sures creative con­trol and pro­duc­tion au­ton­omy.

“We are renowned as the world’s best silk and leather man­u­fac­turer, and we have that same am­bi­tion with our watch pro­duc­tion,” says Luc Per­ra­mond, CEO of La Mon­tre Hermes.

The com­pany’s in­vest­ments in man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties were key to its de­vel­op­ment surge. In 2006, Hermes ac­quired a 25 per cent stake in Vaucher Man­u­fac­ture, a move­ment-mak­ing com­pany, for 25 mil­lion Swiss francs. Last year, it added case- and dial-mak­ing fac­to­ries to the set-up.

Be­sides be­ing a newly minted mem­ber of a se­lect band of watch com­pa­nies with in-house move­ments, La Mon­tre Hermes is also gain­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as a mar­que with po­etic spirit.

A re­cent ex­am­ple is the Time Sus­pended com­pli­ca­tion from 2011, which al­lows one to lit­er­ally “sus­pend” time. By press­ing a but­ton on the left side of the case, the hands snap to a static 12 o’clock po­si­tion. De­spite look­ing like it is not work­ing, the me­chan­i­cal move­ment con­tin­ues to keep track of the time. To switch back to the nor­mal dis­play, press the same but­ton, and the hands will re­turn to the cur­rent time and date. The timepiece won the Best Men’s Watch award at the 2011 Grand Prix d’Hor­logerie de Gen­eve; this year, it is avail­able in a 38mm ladies’ ver­sion.

“In­stead of de­vel­op­ing highly tech­ni­cal watches just for com­plex­ity’s sake, we want to share our phi­los­o­phy of time and in­ter­pret it in a beau­ti­ful way,” says Per­ra­mond.

It’s an ethos that has paid off, as La Mon­tre Hermes has re­ported dou­ble-digit growth in most mar­kets. “Be­yond sales fig­ures, we are sim­ply happy that Hermes’ po­si­tion and stand­ing in the lux­ury watch in­dus­try has risen sig­nif­i­cantly,” he adds.

Hermes’ Fall/ Win­ter 2013 show

The Dressage Chrono­graph is pow­ered by an evolved ver­sion of Hermes’ H1837 in-house move­ment launched

last year

In The Pocket wrist­watch

Luc Per­ra­mond, CEO of La Mon­tre Hermes

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