The Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune was without a doubt one of the more exciting releases in recent years that would appeal to those interested in novel complications and also those who prefer a subtle conversation starter.
For a brand that is likely better known for their leather bags rather than high end timepieces, this piece released at SIHH is definitely a watch enthusiast’s attention. Hermès’ complications have been whimsical and dreamy, while living up to their high standards and elegant styles.
Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune
At SIHH, we had a touch-and-go experience logged here. Now we managed to get our hands on a fully functional prototype (all 200 pieces are sold out since the release in January) and here’s what we thought of this watch.
The case, dial and hands
The case measures 43mm, and wears slightly smaller than that because of the asymmetrical lugs on the classic Arceau Case. This design can be traced to their equestrian roots, designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978. In both references, the case is made of white gold.
The main dial photographed here sports the Meteorite dial, while the other reference has a Aventurine dial.
Our personal preference would have been the Aventurine dial, as it creates a star filled galaxy backdrop for the two moons, giving it more depth and dreamy look. The meteorite dial feels more grounded, and would likely appeal more to men.
At the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock are the star of this piece, the northern and southern hemisphere moon.
The moons are made with mother-or-pearl and the designs by transfer printing. The quality of the print here is nothing short of extraordinary. The southern hemisphere moon is displayed at the 12 o’clock and is famed for the Pegasus printed on it. The Pegasus, designed by Dimitri Rybaltchenko, pays tribute to the brand’s saddle making origins. Typical of Dimitri’s designs, the Pegasus is enchanting and has the effect of galloping off into the celestial realm. The northern hemisphere at 6 o’clock has a realistic representation of the moon.
The floating dials, or mobile counters, have grey graduated lacquer which carries a hint of sparkle and white transfer markers. On the Aventurine dials, the mobile counters would have white lacquer dials, black transfer prints and also blue hands. The markers on the mobile counters are also in the iconic slanted arabic numerals.
The Movement: Caliber H1837
The watch is built around a base movement, Hermès caliber H1837. This is an exclusive movement developed by Vaucher, where Hermès now have a 25% stake. The movement is nicely finished, with the signature “H” pattern on the base plate and rotor. The monogram is very neatly executed.
The ingenious moonphase movement is a semi-modular customization to the base movement that creates the planetary rotation of the mobile counters. The additional module itself has a thickness of 4.2mm, and 117 components. This clever representation of the moon uses the floating dials to cover the stationary moons embedded on the main dial. The floating dials take 59 days (or two moon cycles) to complete a full round each, and can be fully set through a single crown and a hidden pusher.
The Competitive Landscape
There aren’t that many double moon phase watches available in the market, and even fewer, if any, that has such a poetic way of showing it. In this special way, the Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune stands alone.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar features a double moon phase complication, amidst a slew of complications (date, day, month, year, power reserve and hacking seconds). The recent 250th Anniversary edition with a Platinum case retails for USD 53,300.
The Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune is a gorgeous time piece with on point execution. At a price point of under CHF30,000 and having such limited production, it is no wonder that all 200 pieces were sold out.
Hermès is certainly stepping up their game in the horology department, and the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune has set new expectations of their timepieces to come.