IT’S PERSONAL. Philippe Delhotal, Artistic Director of La Montre Hermès, sheds some light on what actually went on behind this year’s most captivating Hermès timepieces
Hermès watches are not for everyone. Some people get the idea; others find them a little whimsical. Take, for instance, the quirky Dressage L’Heure Masquée. Launched last year, this unique watch hides its minute hand unless you press the pusher on top of the crown. Go a few years back, and you’ll stumble upon the Le Temps Suspendu whose hour and minute hands could, with a press of a pusher positioned at 9 o’clock, form a narrow “V” at 12 o’clock and stay there until you press the pusher again.
Since 2015, La Montre Hermès has aggressively pushed a new line called Slim d’Hermès. These watches, as the name suggests, feature very thin cases and appear pretty conventional in terms of style, although the numeral typeface is definitely one of a kind. That particular font is exclusive to the house and is created by renowned French typography artist Philippe Apeloig, a frequent collaborator of Philippe Delhotal, artistic director of La Montre Hermès.
For this year’s range of novelties, the Slim d’Hermès is reinvented with white enameling on the dial—a little update that may not be too much of a surprise for anyone familiar with the brand. The idea came to Delhotal because he “loves [enamel touches] personally.” Aside from this enameled piece, there are also superb renditions of the famous tigers done by Robert Dallet on the dials. You might find yourself—as many people do—asking who Robert Dallet is. Put simply, the late Robert Dallet is a naturalist artist known for his fascination with big cats, which he dubbed “nature’s greatest success.” The result of his expressive talent, as seen on the Arceau Tigre, which is produced using an exclusive technique called émail ombrant or shaded enamel by artisan Olivier Vaucher, is simply beyond words. Now you you might be asking who Olivier Vaucher is. Let’s just say that he’s an artist discovered personally by Delhotal.
Oftentimes, we fall into the age-old trap of thinking that the essence of luxury comes from big names and their influence; that the celebrity status of an artist should elevate a watch beyond its mere value as an accessory. But as Delhotal points out, a great collaboration that was sparked by a chance encounter or a simple idea could really build the value of luxury. There is an undeniable personal touch to the invention that creates a spell of surprise and—at the same time—mystery. And so we are invited to get to know Robert Dallet through these new dials. Chances are, you’d fall for his big cats, just as Hermès—and particularly Philippe Delhotal—did.
Read our exclusive interview on the next page.