In order to bring the spirit of a drawing made for a silk carré onto the face of a watch, the Parisian maison has called upon the creative know-how of the métiers d’art and thus presents a duo of limited editions.
Five years before the Hermès Slim d’Hermés Cheval de Légende was born in 2015, artist Benoît Pierre Emery imagined the Parisian maison’s emblem in “a celestial ride done in gold stippling on silk” affixed to a carré. More than a decade later, this drawing of the animal’s almost mysterious silhouette is used to decorate the dial of a watch, the Slim d’Hermès Cheval de légende, offered in two versions, each limited to 24 pieces. For this unique creation, Hermès called upon a rare expertise which, like any other art, requires meticulous skill.
Because it has a face that is wide open to the world, defined by a thin bezel here lined with 52 baguette-cut diamonds, the Hermès Slim d’Hermés Cheval de Légende lends itself magnificently to the talent of the craftsman who, on a white enameled disc, has carved tiny alveoli to nestle beads in rose gold or bluish enamel. The dial is then fired so that the high temperatures amalgamate and fix these small marbles, thus materializing the contours of the galloping horse designed by Benoît Pierre Emery. At the center of this delicate picture, two long, slender hands, typical of the collection, mark the hours and minutes. The time information is provided by the H1950 caliber, an extra-thin automatic manufacture movement with a micro-rotor winding system that guarantees a 48-hour power reserve, housed in a white gold case measuring 39.5mm in diameter. This pair of watches by Hermès is worn on a matte alligator leather strap, chantilly colored for the variant with gold beads or sapphire blue for the model with enamel beads, closed with a pin buckle.
The Hermès Slim d’Hermés Cheval de Légende was released about three years ago in late 2015, and I’ve always held it in high regard due to its original & whimsical design, quality, and price of $7,650. The Slim d’Hermes provides so much solid value in an industry and category that seldom does so. Even so, the difference between those watches that reach truly “timeless” status and, well, everyone else lies in an enduring appeal that can transcend ephemeral trends.
So, the question here is, has the French fashion house & watchmaker done this with the Slim d’Hermes? Funny enough, it’s probably too early for me to make that call. But, three years in and I am hard pressed to find a dress watch at this price point that excels in so many aspects while having a design that doesn’t rely on being derivative. Quality in finishings, perfect proportions, and a dial that perfectly utilizes the underrated art of typography come together and result in the one dress watch I’d ever need.
The purpose of this article isn’t really to serve as a typical “review” that we do, but rather as a rundown of the piece I spent several weeks with followed by an extensive survey of the “slim dress watch” landscape across similarly priced watches and those priced somewhat lower and higher than its $7,650 price tag. I think time and distance is necessary when evaluating a simple time-only piece that contends to be a “modern classic” and that is one reason I held off for so long before reviewing the Slim d’hermes three years after its initial release.
The Hermès Slim d’Hermés Cheval de Légende was a hit when it came out in 2015, but there’s been a lot of Hermes news since that’s overshadowed this humble dress watch by now. Most notably, the relationship between Apple and Hermes is stronger than ever, with the latest Apple Watch Series 4 Hermes edition retaining its status symbol reputation. Of course, it’s a deserved, if somewhat tenuous, reputation as being the smartwatch priced at around $1,500 (that’s about a $1,000 premium over the standard Apple Watch).