Issued in a numbered 24-piece limited series, the Hermes Arceau Lift tourbillon répétition minutes so black watch by Hermès features a black grand feu enamel dial revealing part of its captivating mechanism. It combines two magnificent horological complications. The complex mechanism of the double-gong minute repeater can be admired through the horse-shaped dial cut-out. The flying tourbillon is revealed through a round aperture at 6 o’cloc
The double-H tourbillon structure of the Hermes Arceau Lift tourbillon répétition minutes so black watch is inspired by an emblematic motif of the Hermès boutique in the Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. This distinctive design surmounting the carriage and barrel bridge echoes the shape of the wrought iron adorning the entrance, railings, staircase and elevator of the Parisian establishment. Swept over by slender, hollowed-out hands, the dial is punctuated by sloping numerals evoking a galloping horse, the signature of the Arceau line. The dial cut-outs and the sapphire case-back reveal the Manufacture Hermès H1924 mechanical hand-wound movement ensuring a crystal-clear chime for the minute repeater. The titanium case measuring 43 mm in diameter is fitted on a matt black alligator strap.
Hermes Arceau Lift tourbillon répétition minutes so black watch is on a tear this year, like a runaway horse pulling a carriage full of the GPHG awards it racked up a few weeks ago. The brand won both the Mens’ and Ladies’ complications categories with their respective Arceau Le Temps Voyageur models. It still may come as a surprise to a lot of the watch community, however, that the maison has so many complicated offerings in its catalogs that many haven’t even made it to its website.
Case-in-point: Hermes Arceau Lift tourbillon répétition minutes so black watch. Though not GPHG award-nominated (I’d imagine it would be in the running for any “longest name” category) it’s still a technical marvel. In this case, the achievement is not just making a watch with a tourbillon and a minute repeater, rather, it’s the fact the designers have paid homage to the brand’s heritage, showing their confidence that Hermès can hold its own against the big names of the watch industry. Assuming there’s not a lot of crossover between the Birkin bag crowd and the general watch world, I’d suspect that quite a few people would look at the Arceau Lift Tourbillon Repeater (as I’ll call it for some semblance of brevity’s sake) and not understand why a horse is staring back at them through the partially skeletonized dial. I didn’t really even see the horse on the dial at first, nor did I question why the Arceau watch, with its peculiar lug design, looked the way it did in the first
How foolish of me, in hindsight. But each motif is there for a good reason – reasons that lead me down the rabbit hole of creative and horological design at Hermès. Inside the case is more than just a tourbillon and a minute repeater, it’s also a lesson in what makes Hermès Hermès. It just so happened that Laurent Dordet, the CEO of Hermès Horloger, was in New York for the grand reopening of Hermès flagship boutique on Madison Avenue. Despite a late celebration the night before (packed with celebrities, food trucks, and its own musical), Dordet met me over lunch to help me better understand both the watch and the brand – straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.