Hermès has called on the services of one of Switzerland’s foremost silicon experts for a creative project sculpted using nanotechnology.
Neuchâtel-based Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM), which has developed technical silicon-based watchmaking solutions for Patek Philippe, Girard-Perregaux and Swatch Group, first met with Hermès Cape Code Crépuscule in 2018 to discuss the venture.
The decision was made to create a dial from a silicon wafer featuring the “intimate and refined Crépuscule” motif from design and graphic artist, Thanh-Phong Lê.
The appearance and color of silicon is dependent on how much of the material is deposited on the 0.5mm thick dial plate during production, allowing “an infinite palette of subtle and unique shades.”
Through photolithography, blue light is used to print the motif before a final “gold-coating stage.”
The 29mm x 29mm stainless steel case is paired with a blue calfskin strap, while a quartz movement keeps time. Known for the «square in a rectangle” case formed by two «anchor chain» half-links, the Hermès Cape Code Crépuscule watch is now available with a blue-tinted monocrystalline silicon dial.
In 2018, Hermès initiated a meeting with the Neuchâtel-based Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) as part of its search for a technological innovation that would be dedicated to creativity. This gave rise to a project for a dial made from a silicon wafer, which was to feature the intimate and refined «Crépuscule» (dusk) motif by designer-graphic artist Thanh-Phong Lê. The dial with its slender gilded hands reveals the bluish shades sprinkled with yellow gold achieved by this unique method combining creativity and nanotechnology. A navy blue calfskin single or double tour strap crafted in the Hermès Horloger workshops sets the final touch to the Cape Cod crépuscule watch.
Used in microelectronics for its semiconductor properties, the silicon wafer was chosen here for its purely aesthetic qualities, representing a first. Depending on the amount of material deposited during production, its colour varies across an infinite palette of subtle and unique shades. This Hermès Cape Code Crépuscule highly technological process is carried out by specialised engineers in the CSEM labs. The dials of the Hermès Cape Cod crépuscule Hermès are created from a single 0.5 mm thick plate, which is coated in an extremely precise manner with a tiny (72-nanometre) film of silicon nitride to obtain the desired intense blue colour.
Then comes the photolithography stage, during which Hermès Cape Code Crépuscule the wafer is exposed to a blue light so as to print the pattern. The process involves several successive baths, before the gold-coating stage, followed by other baths to remove any superfluous material. Finally, the plate is precisely cut to the shape of the Cape Cod case.