Jewelry & Watchmaking

Summer with Hermès: Arceau Grands Fonds

Jul 21, 2019 | Parisian Eye
La Montre HermËs Bienne, 04 03 2019 Photo © David Marchon

Designed in 1978 by Henri d’Origny, the Arceau watch lends its understated yet distinctive lines to the expertise and creativity of artistic crafts. Its round case with stirrup- shaped lugs frames a glass micromosaic dial. Standing out against the turquoise blue background is a brightly coloured exotic fish representing the theme of the «Grands Fonds» scarf designed in 1992 by French artist Annie Faivre. Her rigorous technique and abundant imagination are mirrored in this coloured glass microcosm crafted by Hermès Horloger artisans.

making of Milan, 26 03 2019 Photo © David Marchon

This miniature composition requires more than a month of work for a single dial. First, the craftsperson selects variously coloured glass tesserae, cuts them and melts them at more than 700 °C to form filaments of the required fineness. A putty base composed of marble powder, lime and linseed oil serves to assemble the tiny tiles. The aquatic motif, reproduced to scale, is positioned on the dial base and a scalpel is used to openwork the areas where the corresponding tesserae will be inserted.

La Montre HermËs Bienne, 04 03 2019 Photo © David Marchon

The multicoloured glass strands are then cut into small squares with a file and placed one by one using a wooden peg. After one month of drying, the mosaic decoration must feature a perfectly flat surface – a veritable technical challenge for the glassmaker who creates it.

making of Milan, 26 03 2019 Photo © David Marchon

Swept over by slender hands, the glass micromosaic dial reflects the cadence set by the self-winding Manufacture Hermès H1837 movement driving the hours and minutes hands. The elegance of the 41 mm white gold case with transparent case-back is extended by a sapphire blue alligator strap which accentuates the turquoise shade of the dial created by the Hermès Horloger artisans, as indeed are the movement, case and strap.

Issued in a six-piece limited edition, the Arceau Grands Fonds watch invites you to immerse yourself in the enchanting silence of the underwater world.

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