Monday, April 11, 2016

Hermès Arceau Pocket La promenade de Platon

Watchmakers at Hermès present three pocket watches decorated according to the techniques of enamel miniature painting, Grand Feu enamelled associated with three-dimensional sculpture and engraving.

Echoing the Hermès theme for 2016 “Nature at full gallop”, the scenes presented on the cover of these three models are drawn from the silk scarf “La promenade de Platon” created by the artist Annie Faivre. This unusual ensemble unites enamel, interwoven microsculpture and engraving in a stroll through the heart of the philosopher’s much-loved gardens of Academus, depicted through three tableaus.
The first portrayal plays on shades of brown. At the centre, a horse paws the ground, surrounded by luxurious foliage. Against this background, the scene crafted using the Grand Feu enamel miniature painting technique appears in light shades. Enamel miniature painting involves composing the motif in successive stages.
The nuances are expressed through subtle differences of shade, touch after touch. Using a tiny brush, the enamel artist applies the coloured enamel diluted in oil or water. Each stage is marked by a firing in the kiln heated to more than 800°C so that the enamel melts and adheres to the white gold base. It takes more than 20 firing operations for the final motif to appear.
The second tableau features a play on volumes and contrasts. The white gold base of the cover is coated with night blue Grand Feu enamel. It provides the backdrop for a decor carved from an extremely thin yellow gold plate. The horseman and his mount form the centre of the scene, surrounded by entwined branches.
Each of them is individually positioned by hand in such a way that the overall result expresses the organic nature of the plant. This work of creating a volume effect calls for extremely precise expertise. It also requires great sensitivity in order to ensure that this new kind of weaving radiates a true sense of visual harmony. Once the arrangement is completed, the artisan accentuates certain details with tiny touches of paint.
The third and last scene stages the art of engraving. It associates the rose gold of the four central horses with the white gold of the background decor. The artist prepares the base by removing metal from the areas where the horses will be placed. The latter are cut out separately and added on to the main plate.
The engraver then transforms these rough surfaces, individually hand-modelling each animal as well as the branches. To make the scene stand out, he hollows the edges by digger deeper ‘pockets’ around them. Fine hammering the inside of these recessed areas gives them a smooth, even appearance and a thin layer of metal is then applied to further enhance the contrasts.

The asymmetrical Arceau case is one of the Hermès watchmaking signatures. Inspired by a stirrup, its upper attachment evokes the shape of a horseshoe. Measuring 48 mm in diameter, it is crafted in white gold by the Hermès workshops along with the alligator cord strap, crafted in accordance with the historical expertise of the Maison. Its transparent case-back reveals the beating heart of the watch.

Each one-of-a-kind Arceau Pocket Promenade de Platon watch is driven by a Hermès H1837 movement crafted in Switzerland. This mechanical self-winding calibre powers the hours and minutes and its mainplate is adorned with snailed circular-graining, while the classic ‘sprinkling of Hs’ motif graces the oscillating weight and the balance bridge.

Technical details
Model: Arceau Pocket La promenade de Platon

Movement
Mechanical self-winding, crafted in Switzerland
Manufacture Hermès H1837 movement
Diameter: 26 mm (11 ½’’’)
Thickness: 3.7 mm
Power reserve: 50 hours
Jewelling: 28 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour / 4 Hz
Decoration: Circular-grained and snailed baseplate,bridges and oscillating weight satin-brushed and adorned with ‘sprinkling of Hs’

Functions 
Hours, minutes

Model: 1
Case: Round, 48 mm in diameter, White gold
Cover: In enamel miniature painting
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal and case-back
Water resistance: to 3 bar

Dial: Graded shades of brown enamel on white gold base. Champlevé white gold Arabic numerals
Leather: Cord strap and pouch in matt havana alligator

Model 2
Case: Round, 48 mm in diameter, White gold
Cover: Engraved in white gold, engraved white gold applique
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal and case-back
Water resistance: to 3 bar
Dial: Graded shades of falcon-toned enamel on a white gold base. Champlevé white gold Arabic numerals
Leather: Cord strap and pouch in smooth elephant grey alligator

Model 3
Case: Round, 48 mm in diameter, White gold
Cover: Night blue enamelled base, cut-out and engraved gold leaves, applied horse in engraved gold and enamel miniature painting
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal and case-back
Water resistance: to 3 bar
Dial: Graded shades of night blue enamel on a white gold case. Champlevé white gold Arabic numerals
Leather: Cord strap and pouch in matt indigo blue alligator

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