Playful design meets chic heritage in the Hermès Kelly watch

The new Kelly watch from Hermès rethinks the original 1975 timepiece

The girl is wearing a watch
Hermès’ new Kelly watch invites customisation from the wearer
(Image credit: press)

Sartorial and horological codes are intertwined in the new Hermès Kelly watch, as the house draws on its rich history to create a playful yet chic new timepiece.

Originally created in 1975, the Kelly watch stays faithful to a design first established by Robert Dumas in the 1930s, with the distinctive trapezoid shape of the ‘Kelly’ bag he created here rethought in the clean lines of the padlock. Available in either steel or rose gold and with or without diamonds, the new watch can be worn in multiple ways, inviting customisation by the wearer.

Gold Hermès Kelly watch

(Image credit: press)

When attached to a metal bracelet, the padlock watch can be left to dangle freely; lock it into place with a flick of the mechanism and it becomes a fixed form, making for comfortable and distraction-free wear. When detached and worn on the black boxcalf or alligator clochette leather cord, the watch becomes a sautoir necklace.

Dumas, the son-in-law of Émile Hermès who later became the head of Hermès, created what was a wholly new, modern design in the bold silhouette of the ‘Kelly’ handbag. Its clean outline encapsulated a geometrical mash-up of the trapezoid shape, triangular flaps, handle and side straps. Later, Dumas played with the classic form in mischievous rethinks, paving the way for the ‘Kelly’ to be reborn in everything from belts, to wallets, clutch bags and watches.

It was an iconic shape that became instantly popular with a glamorous clientele, including Grace Kelly. Her use of the bag to allegedly cover the signs of an early pregnancy in the 1950s is rumoured to have prompted its name, cementing its place in fashion history.

Silver Hermès Kelly watch

(Image credit: press)

Watch on black leather strap

(Image credit: press)


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.