Luxury Swiss watch brand Montres Hermès introduces - Arceau Tigre - the first timepiece crafted using the original Email Ombrant (shaded enamel) technique. This method that took two full years to adapt to a watch uses light to reveal a three-dimensional motif on the dial.
The technique chosen to showcase the sheer strength of the feline depicted is called Email Ombrant (shaded enamel) and associates the art of engraving with that of enamelling. Derived from lithophanes and originally practiced in the Limoges region of France, this technique serves to create pictures that are revealed only when light passes through them. The motif is negative-carved in a mould into which the biscuit porcelain is then poured to form the work itself. In creating the mould, the artisans’ talent is expressed through their ability to imagine variations in the thickness of the porcelain that will create the sought-after nuances.
Patented by Paul Bourgoin in Tremblay in 1841, Email Ombrant is based on the same basic principle. But in this instance, the artisan fashions the motif in relief before coating it with a slightly tinted translucent enamel.
By accumulating in the most sunken areas, the material becomes denser and darker, while the most highly raised zones are barely covered and thus remain very light in colour. The technique calls for an entirely different approach from that of traditional relief engraving. The cavities and raised areas are fashioned exclusively according to the light they will catch or reflect, which is why an Email Ombrant engraving is revealed only once captured in enamel.
Email Ombrant involves perfect interaction between the engraver and the enameller in order to master the complex set of nuances and create the aura of mystery surrounding each work. Together, they analyse the initial design, its degree of transparency and the personality of the piece so as to determine halos, zones of light and shade.
Issued in a 12-piece limited edition, the Arceau Tigre is powered by the in-house mechanical self-winding H1837 movement driving the hours and minutes hands. The calibre baseplate is adorned with snailing and circular graining, while the oscillating weight and balance-cock are enhanced by the distinctive Hermès ‘sprinkling of Hs’ pattern.
Mechanical self-winding, Swiss made Manufacture 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 a ‘sprinkling of Hs’, Hermès Paris engraving
Round, 41 mm in diameter
Glass: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal and case-back
Water resistance: 3 bar
Tiger in Email Ombrant(Gold plate coated with translucentblack enamel revealing the motif only after firing)
Matt havana alligator
Buckle: 17 mm white gold pin buckle
Limited numbered series of 12
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