Hermès Arceau Wow | Transporting Equestrian Spirit Into The World Of Comics

THM Desk
2 Mar 2023 |
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A square inside a circle, or a bunch of little squares inside a big one. Hermès is renowned for its playful use of geometric forms. Inspired by long-forgotten color-and-size-mixing games from your childhood, Hermès has created a watch that is both distinctive and fun. Double Face is another name for Recto/Verso, which was also considered. The word "wow" fits much better.

Like his creative thinking a lot. Young comic artist Ugo Bienvenu created an unexpected silk scarf for Hermès two years ago. There was a name for it, and it was Wow. What's the big deal? For the simple reason that it successfully transports Hermès' cherished equestrian spirit into the medium of comics.

Arceau Wow © Anita Schlaefli

The designer leapt into the saddle and planted his foot in the stirrups to present a large square silk scarf with numerous smaller square panels, reminiscent of comic books. Circles, spheres, moving pictures, etc. The heroine makes her way across Paris by jet ski, rollerblade, car, and horse. The two golfers laugh and wonder who the brave female is. Amazon, spy, or heroic Parisian? She is the epitome of the Hermès woman and more besides.

From Paris, the concept traveled to the Hermès Horloger workshops in Switzerland. The dial turns on both sides? Absolutely, provided it is as fine and transparent as the silk thread upon which it is based. Mother-of-pearl was the natural choice because it is a delicate, elegant, and feminine material that would allow the ray of light to shine through and provide the craftsman with the means to create a playful radiant motif.

Timekeeping Expression

The traces of the sci-fi bent in Arceau Wow come as no surprise given Ugo’s penchant for the genre and it wonderfully plays as a complement to the undeniable creative spirit of Hermès. When it comes to the brand’s artistically poetic inceptions in the horological endeavours, the latest iterations of the feminine Arceau models naturally illustrate the playful essence of the brand’s vision of timekeeping with a contemporary expression.

Arceau Wow © David Marchon

For connoisseurs of the horological creations, things can start to get a bit repetitive. However, with the latest Hermès Arceau Wow models, you get a pleasing aside from the innumerable designs which yield to channelling the default aesthetic. The Arceau models from Hermès pose as unique references for the brand’s horological prowess and are definitive for captivating the artistic nuances so richly rooted in its creations. The timepieces in Arceau line-up have carved a prestige for being mechanically complicated as well as aesthetically superlative and the latter is observed in beguiling design glory in the latest Arceau Wow models.

We observe a playfully radiant nod to the company’s rich saddle making history in the Arceau timepiece collection which is defined by the asymmetrical hoop lugs posing as tasteful designs for case attachments. With the latest Arceau collection of timepieces from Hermès, the brand has cemented its own distinctive charm in the elegance-inspired sweepstakes.

Arceau Wow © David Marchon

The impeccable precision timekeeping eminence and pinnacle craftsmanship making their way from Paris to Switzerland and the workshops of Hermès Horloger reign in a superlative charm in Hermès Arceau Wow. The exuberant display of colours in amalgam with a distinctive dynamism of geometrical shapes makes these offerings eye-catching in every sense of the word!

From Silk to Mother-of-Pearl

The Double Face, or Recto/Verso dial on the Hermès Arceau Wow is hand-painted as a miniature pastel hued version of the artwork as featured on the double-sided Wow scarf and is a multi-faceted embodiment of the original artwork with the front side illustrating its multi-colored rendition and the reverse face showcasing a monochromatic aesthetic.

The choice of mother-of-pearl for the dial is a given with the material replicating the thin and translucent aesthetic of its true inspiration, the silk thread. The pastel colored motif is meticulously hand-painted taking about 20 layers of colour to achieve the desired hue with subsequent firing in kiln at 90 °C after each application to solidify the precious pigment.

Arceau Wow © David Marchon

The final result showcasing the horse and the ever-amusing heroine in their distinctive vibrant hues so lively in their allure and contrasting tones of spirited colours stems from a wealth of meticulous and diligent work which is a devoted investment of 35 hours of painstaking hand painting achieved at a micro-level.

The Design Philosophy - True Ethos of Hermès

With the Arceau Wow, you’re presented with something different. The exuberant ethos of the Henri d’Origny designed Arceau case style originally from 1978 which is an unconventional asymmetric case attachment aesthetic inspired by the brand’s equestrian spirit is proudly featured in these Manufacture H1912 self-winding calibre powered Arceau Wow timepieces. Maintaining a perpetually elegant charm, the watches portray a distinctive curvaceous aesthetic.

Although the watch at 38 mm is nostalgic in its proportions, it remains contemporary in its wrist presence. This timepiece can be considered as an all-rounder and can truly be worn for just about everything except aquatic exploits as it is rated to 30m or 3 bar water resistance.

Arceau Wow © David Marchon

An Aesthetic Language Complemented by Engineering Genius

The Arceau Wow watch has a distinctive personality of its own, something the brand has long been exceptional at across the high fashion industry. But don’t think the Arceau Wow is all about appearances because the calibre of watchmaking here goes all the way to the likes of the very best in the industry. Although the value isn’t hidden in plain sight with the panache and glamour of the ‘Hermès Woman’ exhibited in all its handcrafted glory, Hermès has truly succeeded in elevating the mechanical competence of the timepieces as well and this owes to the Maison’s commitment towards its movement manufacture department with the purchase of 25% stake in Swiss movement manufacturer Vaucher, granting the brand access to requisite competence and expertise for creating its own calibres.

Arceau Wow © David Marchon

The timepiece has a 50 hour power reserve from the H1912 calibre decorated with circular-grained and snailed mainplate and an oscillating weight as well as bridges featuring the brand’s signature ‘H’ motif engravings. The watch beats at 28,800 vph with hours, minutes and central sweep seconds functionality.

Brilliant-cut 82 diamonds adorn the bezel of each of the Arceau Wow models issued in a 24-piece limited edition. The watches feature Hermès Brighton Blue and Sakura Pink buttery smooth calfskin straps for ultimate comfort and an inherently feminine aesthetic.

Truly, a work of art!

Limited and numbered edition of 24

Movement: Manufacture Hermès H1912 movement
Mechanical self-winding, crafted in Switzerland

Diameter: 23.9mm

Thickness: 3.7mm

Power reserve: 50 hours

Frequency: 28,800 vph (4Hz)

Functions: Hours, minutes