Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune

Continuing its tradition of creating watches that combine interesting mechanics with whimsical ideas, Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune has released one of the coolest moonphase watches I’ve ever seen. The Arceau L’Heure De La Lune presents a pair of stationary mother-of-pearl moons with a complementary pair of floating lacquer dials floating over the top that rotate around the dial once every 59 days, covering and uncovering the moons to to indicate the current moon phase in both the southern and northern hemispheres at once. One of the floating dials shows the hours and minutes, while the other counts the date. Hermès has further amplified the dreamy effect by inverting the moons, with the the top one showing the southern hemisphere and the lower one the northern hemisphere. Finally, the moons show different designs, with the lower moon featuring a transfer of the luner surface on top and the upper moon baring a subtle pegasus motif by artist and designer Dimitri Rybaltchenko (a work he calls “Pleine Lune” or “Full Moon”). You have a choice of two executions, one with a meteorite dial and graduated grey lacquered discs and the other with an aventurine dial and white lacquered discs – both utilize the same 43mm white gold Arceau case. Each version is limited to 100 numbered pieces.

You’re probably wondering at this point how this unusual complication works. Inside is an Hermès caliber H1837 movement fitting with a module called the “Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune” that was designed specifically to create this display. The module alone requires over 100 components and is 38mm across (which is the resulting “wingspan” of the rotating discs), and there is currently a patent pending for the mechanism. I’ll admit it: I actually let out an audible “Whoa!” when this one landed in my inbox. I’m already a big fan of what Hermès does, on both the more classic side and the more idiosyncratic side, and this one does not disappoint at all. If you told me about this Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune watch or only handed me a spec sheet, I think I’d probably assume the watch to be a little too over-the-top despite the fun idea, however Hermès has executed an already great idea with great skill too, resulting in a watch that’s beautiful in both concept and form. There’s the natural beauty of the meteorite, aventurine, and mother of pearl, sure, but I think it’s the way the various colors and textures interact that makes this one really sing – it’s all about subtle contrasts and mirrored forms. I’m not sure which of the two I prefer – I keep going back and forth – but if you asked me today I’d have to go with the meteorite version. The fact that the watch looks just a little bit different each day you wear it is awesome and I enjoy the idea of a dramatic but slow complication.

To come back down to Earth for a minute (get it?), a 43mm white gold Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune watch is probably a little more than my relatively small wrist can handle, and the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune is a lot of look to sport every day too, but that doesn’t make me wish I could rock one of these any less. Now if there were only a desk clock version I might be in business…

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