Metiers d’arts in luxury watchmaking has now become a permanent feature within many of the industry’s top brands but there is one particular maison that’s constantly finding fresh and modern ways to interpret these age-old crafts: Hermes. Says its creative director, Philippe Delhotel: “Our goal is not to keep finding new techniques to introduce. Rather, it is to bring something different and unique to our customers. All the big brands today do enamel, but we differentiate ourselves with creativity, colour, patterns and so on. We bring a unique brand of simplicity to our products.”
Some of Hermes’s latest artistic creations include the Arceau Cavales and Slim d’Hermes Les Zebres de Tanzanie. These watches work with Hermes’s favourite themes, horses and naturalist scenes, and introduce to collectors the art of leather marquetry, which is a new form of handcraft never before seen in the works of other haute horlogerie manufactures – and with good reason. “We don’t have a patent on leather marquetry but it’s such an obvious signature of Hermes that if other watch brands want to attempt it, we’ll bid them good luck, for what interest would they have in using leather? It’s not their environment at all, it’s not in their DNA,” Delhotal elaborates.
Leather marquetry has already been done on Hermes home objects and about a year and a half ago, Delhotal decided to bring this savoir faire into the timepiece division. Laser-cut leather pieces in an array of colours and shapes form a picture