On the aes­thetic de­mands of Her­mès, the in­ven­tion of orig­i­nal and ex­tra­or­di­nary com­pli­ca­tions Dres­sage L’Heure masquée.

Esquire Malaysia Watch Guide - - Special Feature - Cre­ative di­rec­tor and de­vel­op­ment of Montre Her­mès

ESQUIRE: Tell us about your de­vel­op­ment at Her­mès, and your pre­vi­ous role in the field of watch­mak­ing brand.

PHILIPPE DEL­HO­TAL: I came to Her­mès about six years ago. I came from the tra­di­tional watch­mak­ing man­u­fac­tures [Jaeger-LeCoul­tre and Patek Phillippe], and when I got to Her­mès I left the field of strictly watch­mak­ing to a brand that de­vel­ops 14 dif­fer­ent trades. It took me a year to adapt be­cause I came from a dif­fer­ent uni­verse. When talk­ing about Her­mès, it’s fash­ion, per­fumes and prêt-à-porter. It is very dif­fer­ent from what I ex­pe­ri­enced in tra­di­tional watch­mak­ing. But I re­alised that is an ad­van­tage, be­cause in cre­ative terms it is much richer, shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences with col­leagues from other de­part­ments, be­cause we all have dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties.

ESQ: What comes first at Montre Her­mès, tech­ni­cal de­sign or the move­ments?

PD: Be­fore there was only quartz. Ex­cept in the ’50s, when ev­ery­thing was me­chan­i­cal. Now we’ve also cre­ated the part of the mech­a­nism. This is an evo­lu­tion of Her­mès watches to po­si­tion the prod­uct dif­fer­ently.

ESQ: Which watch is more im­por­tant in terms of po­si­tion­ing, the Temps Sus­pendu or Arceau Lift?

PD: They are com­ple­men­tary. On one hand, the Temps Sus­pendu is a piece with com­pli­cated mech­a­nisms that trans­lates a cer­tain idea of time. On the other hand, for the Arceau Lift, we wanted to launch a dif­fer­ent tour­bil­lon to the ones in the mar­ket, more for tra­di­tional com­pli­ca­tions. They are com­ple­men­tary but con­vey dif­fer­ent mes­sages.

ESQ: Will you con­tinue to pur­sue var­i­ous com­pli­ca­tions like Temps de Sus­pendu or go­ing for the likes of tour­bil­lon, sec­ond time zone or some­thing more tra­di­tional? PD: We will con­tinue the line of unique and par­tic­u­lar me­chan­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions, but we also have a range of tra­di­tional move­ments. But if we do make a good piece of minute re­peater to­mor­row, it should have a phi­los­o­phy of Her­mès. If we make a fur­ther com­pli­ca­tion in the fu­ture it must be dif­fer­ent from the other watch­mak­ers be­cause com­pe­ti­tion is very tough.

ESQ: What was the cre­ative process in­volved for Dres­sage L’Heure Masquée?

PD: We wanted the Sus­pendu Temps to be a smooth process, which was not easy be­cause the bar had been set very high. The idea came one day while watch­ing a reg­u­la­tor in which, as you know, the larger hand is the minute hand and the hour hand is smaller. So the start­ing point was to show more of the minute hand and hide the hour hand. That is why it is called L’Heure Masquée Dres­sage. It is a self­ish clock that marks the time for one­self.

ESQ: In terms of move­ment, will you con­tinue with a mix­ture of quartz and me­chan­i­cal?

PS: We will main­tain a high pres­ence of quartz move­ments. Although the brand gains more value with the im­por­tant pieces with me­chan­i­cal move­ments, we must not for­get that we are, first and fore­most, a brand aimed at the fe­male mar­ket. We are al­ready in­tro­duc­ing some me­chan­i­cal move­ments for women, but that is only re­cently.

ESQ: Pocket watches are a won­der of Her­mès.

PD: Be­cause of their size, the pocket watches al­low us to show the artis­tic as­pect of Her­mès, be­cause the crafts­man­ship best fits the size. I do not see them as watches, but rather as art ob­jects; we will con­tinue cre­at­ing them be­cause they are beau­ti­ful and be­cause Her­mès col­lec­tions have al­ways been pocket watches.

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