Hermès’ new watch calls on its equestrian roots

Hermès’ new watch calls on its equestrian roots

Intricate craftsmanship lays at the heart of the Hermès Arceau Cheval Cosmique

The intricate horse saddles Thierry Hermès hand-stitched in the 19th century, marking the beginning of French house Hermès, were also the start of a lasting equestrian love affair.

The new Arceau Cheval Cosmique nods to both this history and the enduring links between style and function with a white gold horse gently trotting across its dial. The timepiece is a development of the original Arceau, designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978 and here rethought by artist Gianpaolo Pagni.

hermes watch

Pagni’s artwork is a reinterpretation of a horse from Émile Hermès’ private collection; juxtaposed against swirling waves, it cuts a fluid silhouette. Pagni begins by drawing a series of simple, graphic – and if possible, modular – forms from which he can explore concepts. ‘For this motif, the relationship between the horse adapted from a historical engraving and my stamps composed of concentric lines guided the project towards a concept of motion along a path, a circuit,’ he says.

Working with a motif already swathed in symbolism was not without its challenges: ‘When I choose a historical document as part of my project, I have to actually like the design,’ Pagni says. ‘In this case I found this horse imposing and statuesque. The challenge was somehow to make it move and travel as well as adding meaning and a story, even if it is very symbolic.’

Once the outline of the horse is complete, it is transferred to the dial, where it rests against the undulations of waves defined with black lacquer. The surrounding space is filled with either aventurine or enamel and mother-of-pearl before the horse is secured into place. §

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