The Arceau watch, a brainchild of Henri d’Origny from 1978, seamlessly blends classic elegance with distinctive design. Characterized by its round shape set on a unique stirrup, this Hermès timepiece is a canvas for creative mastery. Its asymmetrical lugs frame encapsulates the quintessential Hermès style, while showcasing exceptional craftsmanship. This watch takes inspiration from the “Costume de Fête” silk scarf, designed by Warsaw-born artist Jan Bajtlik, using techniques like miniature painting, leather marquetry, and sequin work.
Available in two versions, one in white gold and the other in rose gold, each adorned with 82 diamonds, the Arceau watch features a dial that exhibits demanding craftsmanship. The vibrant, equestrian motif, derived from Polish folk culture, is a nod to traditional Krakow costumes and the popular art of paper cut-outs known as wycinanki. Jan Bajtlik’s design integrates characters, animals, and flowers, reminiscent of his native country’s artistic heritage.
The horse, a central figure on the dial, is brought to life through a meticulous process by Hermès artisans. This involves shaping brightly coloured beads on a uniformly painted sculpted metal base, with layers of micro-paint applied successively. The spirited steed emerges through an intricate process of leather marquetry.
Thin tesserae, cut from various coloured leathers and trimmed to a mere 0.5 mm thickness, are carefully arranged on the dial. This painstaking process is enhanced by the addition of delicately sewn sequins, with six tiny, carefully chosen discs joined together with copper wire. To complete the masterpiece, the harness details are hand-painted onto the leather.
Encased in a 38 mm diameter housing, the Manufacture Hermès H1912 movement showcases exquisite finishing and a ‘sprinkling of Hs’ pattern on its bridges and oscillating weight, visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. Complementing the vibrant watch faces, the timepieces come with sakura pink or electric blue Swift calfskin straps. These vibrant watches are limited in availability, with a mere 24 units of each edition released.