We do a deep dive on the new Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur, a new two timezone watch from the house of Hermés.
Review: new Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur
The Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur in 38mm as reviewed retails for USD 22,550. There is a 41mm version, with an anthracite dial, retailing for USD 28,825. Both watches are in stainless steel cases.
We chose the 38mm model for review as we find it to be more attractive of the duo, especially with the mesmerising blue dial, and also the size is perhaps a better fit for most wrists than the larger 41mm case. Also, from a purist point of view, as both watches share the same movement, the larger case uses a movement ring to hold the movement, while the 38mm case fits the movement almost perfectly.
The case, dial and hands
The case of the Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is the standard Arceau case – a round shape a polished, curved bezel. The lugs are the standard asymmetric stirrup shaped and are soldered directly to the case middle. The design language is distinctive of the Arceau lines, designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978. Henri was the celebrated artistic director of Hermès, and defined the le gout Hermès during his six decades at the Parisian Maison.
Perhaps the most famous iteration of the Arceau was the poetic and much loved Arceau l’Heure de la Lune, with its rotating indications and two moons, won the Calendar and Astronomy watch prize at the GPHG 2019. The same rotating concept is applied to the Le Temps Voyageur, with the time module taking the place of one of the moons, while the other moon is deleted. Of course, the mechanism driving the module is totally different, and particularly suited the task of this as a traveller’s watch.
The time module with the hour and minute indication is built into a wandering sub-dial. To set the watch, use the pusher at 9 o’clock to move the red pointer to the local city. Pull the crown to the first position and set the time as normal. Then pull the crown to the second position to synchronise the time in the aperture, so local time = home time. The watch is ready to travel. On arrival, use the pusher to align the arrow to the local city, and you have the home time in the aperture (in 24 hour mode, so you know if its day or night at home), and local time indicated on the time module.
At first glance, the dial seems to be a world timer, as the city ring is obvious. However, the watch is not able to simultaneously tell the time in each of these cities, and by our books, this is not a world timer. Nor does Hermès pitch it as one. The watch is introduced to us as a two timezone travel watch, and this it does with style. The play of the various shades of blue on the map where the time module wanders around is superbly well done. On the outermost perimeter is a flat ring with an aperture open at 12 o’clock to reveal the home time. This is indicated by the engraved rehaut over the area. The inner part of this perimeter ring, the names of 24 cities are printed on the wide bevel of the ring. And a step down is the world map in various shades of blue, which we find particularly attractive. Wandering around the world, is the time module. Much like the traveller, it moves around the world, and indicates the local time via a small red arrowhead which points to the appropriate local city.
In the Le Temps Voyageur, the world map is depicted as an imaginary “Planisphère d’un monde équestre” (equestrian planet) created by artist Jérôme Colliard. His unusual map was initially used on a giant globe at an Hermès show jumping competition in Paris and subsequently featured on an Hermès silk scarf. The motif reveals an imaginary planet with landmasses named after equestrian pursuits.
The dial is galvanised blue, and the oceans of the map are laser engraved and lacquered. The meridians and parallels are also in blue, but transfer printed. The city ring is satin finished, in the same galvanised blue with the cities printed in white characters. Elevated above the map, is the wandering time module which is the sub-dial for local time. This sub-dial is also lacquered blue with a blue lacquered fumé gradient gradually darkening at the rim. The usual Hermès galloping Arabic numerals adorn as hour markers. The hands and print have lume to allow visibility in dark environments.
Some of the interesting quirks on the dial is that cities marked with “-S” indicates summertime for English speaking countries, “-V” for verano in Spanish for Spanish speaking cities, and interestingly “-K” in Greek kalokaíri for Athens. Also, instead of Paris, the letters “24 FBG” is used for European Central Time, and stands for 24 rue du Faubourg, home of la Maison Hermès.
The movement: Hermés H1837
The movement powering the Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is the automatic caliber H1837. The base movement is sourced from Vaucher, which is partly owned by Hermès, and the travel time module complication is by Chronode. The wandering time module is a special development by the talented Jean-François Mojon. The module alone comprises of 122 individual components squeezed in a height of just 4.4mm. In addition to its ability to allow the sub-dial glide over the imaginary map, the indications remain upright in its orientation no matter which part of the dial it ends up in.
The movement is rather busy in its decoration, which is typical in Hermès watches, with the stylized H logo repeated as a pattern across the bridges and the rotor. The finishing is rather de rigueur in a watch at this price class, and though not particularly exceptional, is satisfactorily well executed not to attract criticism.
The competitive landscape
Watches with two timezones are quite common, but one is hard pressed to find another with a wandeirng time module as is proposed by Hermés here. But for watches which display two timezones, please see our various articles on travel watches, which would be appropriate inhabitants in the landscape.
The Hermès Le Temps Voyageur is an extremely attractive watch, and we are happy to be totally besotted with. Not only does it have a pretty face, with the beautiful blue, but it also packs some brains with the wandering time module which remains correctly orientated at all times, and the clever, intuitive to use travel features. At 38mm, the watch wears beautifully, the asymmetrical lugs, longer at the top than the bottom, hugs the wrist very well indeed. Alternatively, larger wrists may find the 41mm version to be as comfortable. On my wrists, either version is excellent, though, my heart is persuaded the 38mm is a better choice, as the blue dial is really endearing.
The asking price of USD 22.5k for the blue dial in 38mm is eminently fair to us, and represents a good bang for the buck.
The Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur was photographed in teh Hermès offices in Singapore. Fujifilm GFX 50S II with Hasselblad HC 4/120 Macro and HC 2.8/80 with H28 extension tube attached via the H Adapter G. Profoto strobes provide the lighting.
Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur technical specifications
“Planisphère d’un monde équestre” motif designed by Jérôme Colliard
Galvanised dial, blue transferred continent names and contours. Oceans laser-engraved then lacquered. Blue transferred meridians and parallels.
Mobile counter with blue-lacquered gradient rim. White transferred Arabic numerals.
Circular satin-brushed blue city flange. White transferred city names. Sunburst satin-finished blue Home Time zone and hours window at 12 o’clock. Rhodium-plated hands coated with Super-LumiNova®
Designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978
Steel case38 mm in diameter,
20 mm interhorn width
Antiglare sapphire crystal and caseback Water-resistant to 3 bar
Manufacture Hermès H1837 movement
Diameter: 26 mm (11) Thickness: 3.7 mm
193 components, 28 jewels
40-hour power reserve
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4Hz)
Circular-grained and snailed baseplate,
satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight,
signature “sprinkling of Hs” pattern
Exclusive “Travelling time” module
Diameter: 32.7 mm (14)
Thickness: 4.4 mm
Hours, minutes, second time zone with city names
Smooth sapphire blue alligator strap
Navy blue Swift calfskin strap
17 mm pin buckle in 316L steel