Hermès continues their journey with Métiers d’Art by a special Wild Singapore edition woven with gold thread and adorned with miniature painting on the dial of the Arceau watch revealing a majestic lion in the heart of a lush setting. This new edition is available in 4 versions, each a limited edition of 24 numbered pieces. Here is our live photo essay on one of these remarkable pieces.
Photo Essay: Hermès Arceau Wild Singapore
Retail price for the review sample shown in our photographs here, case size 34mm in white gold with diamonds is SGD 122,400. A rose gold version in 34mm case with diamonds on the case is also available at the same price. Two further versions in a larger 41 mm case in rose gold and white gold, no diamonds are also offered, and is priced at SGD 120,500. All prices include GST. Each of the 4 versions is limited to 24 pieces, making a total of 96 for the collection.
The base watch is the Hermès Arceau, a watch created by Henri d’Origny in 1978, and is a classic aesthetic providing a palette for Hermès skills. The case is in a traditional round shape, crafted in white gold, but with lugs which are unique- stirrup inspired asymmetrical loops.
The Arceau then is the frame for the remarkable Métiers d’Art depicting Wild Singapore. The miniature painting is a reinterpretation of the eponymous silk scarf designed by Alice Shirley for the 2021 Spring-Summer collection. The lion motif of the scarf, which emerges from a foliage of leaves and fauna is repeated, but reinterpreted with a blue base instead of the scarf’s red. In the version we photographed, the case is in white gold and set with 60 diamonds totalling 0.7ct. A 0.7ct rose cut diamond adorns the crown.
The design pays tribute to the biodiversity of Singapore, a green island where migratory birds stop over on their journey between North Asia and Australia. This abundant theme depicts several nocturnal rainforest animals. The lion, symbolic of the “Lion City”, where the nation draws its name from the Sanskrit सिंहः, translated as siṃhá, or in Malay Singa, is enthroned in the center of the composition, watching over the island.
The technique to create the miniature painting is one where gold thread is welded to depict the feline and its equatorial environment on the dial. The base begins as a gold plate. A varnish is applied and the motif transferred. The meticulous painting of the elements that will appear under and around the gold threads is executed next. Shapes and colours come to life through a multitude of layers of micro-painting, successively applied with a brush and dried in a hot kiln to create the effect.
Then, like careating an embroidery, the artisan assembles on the dial surface, a multitude of threads – three times finer than a human hair – to give the scene depth. This process is complex, and involved determining a starting and ending point for each thread, before holes are hollowed out to make divots to anchor the ends. Gold is then poured into these attachment points which are fused with the threads. Each thread is placed in a specific order and position in order to create a play on transparency and light.
The work takes a week, and the dial is then fitted inside the 41mm white gold case. The movement is the Manufacture Hermès H1837 self-winding movement, made in Fleurier by the maison’s joint venture with Vaucher.
The collection, together with other Métiers d’Art pieces, can be viewed in Singapore. Contact Hermès Singapore for more information.
Photographed at the Hermès Boutique Event Room at Liat Towers Singapore. Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC 4/120, Profoto strobes.
Hermès Arceau Wild Singapore Technical Specifications
Numbered limited edition of 24
Manufacture Hermès H1837 movement
Mechanical self-winding, crafted in Switzerland
Diameter: 26 mm
Thickness: 3.7 mm
Power reserve: 50 hours
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour / 4 Hz
Functions: hours, minutes
Decoration: circular-grained and snailed mainplate;
bridges and oscillating weight adorned with a ‘sprinkling of Hs’
Shape / size: round, 34 mm in diameter with 60 diamonds (0.7ct) set on the case and 1 rose cut diamond on the crown (0.7ct).
Material: white gold
Glas: anti-reflective sapphire crystal and case-back
Water resistance: 3 bar
Miniature painting and gold thread
Abyss blue alligator