Ulysse Nardin x Milo Manara Erotic Watches

«I AM SURE THAT MERMAIDS DO EXIST.» – MILO MANARA

Unveiled for the first time at the SIHH in Geneva, this series of ten enchanting erotic watches truly deserve their own post. Ulysse Nardin and celebrated Italian erotic comic book artist Milo Manara have teamed up to take you on a voyage into the depths of a mythical sea of desire where Ulyssa, a mermaid, and Nadia, a woman, meet, discover and love each other in a timeless, nautical reverie.

Based on Manara’s illustrations of underwater encounters between a hauntingly beautiful woman and a mythical mermaid, the watches are a palindrome, each one a unique, timeless moment that exists independently from the others.

Using micro painting over 150 years of watchmaking knowledge and experience, Ulysse Nardin has transferred Manara’s story onto ten watch faces in a series where mermaids and sharks bask freely in clear waters, in an underwater world freed from the constraints of time.

«The clock lends itself particularly precisely to this theme because in eroticism there is eternity», Milo Manara precised.

A mermaid and a human meet and engage tenderly under the watchful eye of a distant shark. Like the sirens in Homer’s classic tale of Ulysses, Manara’s mermaid enchants the young woman, taking her into a sensual embrace. Each scene is a moment where time disappears, and love propels them as they rock gently in the ocean waves.

«I had to think of a theme that brings all these ten images together and yet leaves each one its autonomy, so that it works on its own without the need for the others», Manara explained from his studio in Valpolicella, Italy. «This is not a linear story but there is a common thread based on two characters; one is a timeless girl and the other, a mermaid».

Born in northern Italy, Manara has been a graphic illustrator for over fifty years. He was classically trained as a painter, studying the works of Rubens, Caravaggio and de Chirico before defining his own style. For this series of watches, Manara chose a universal theme – erotic love – and created characters that exist in their own time frame.

«It is clear that these women represent an ideal. If we look at Greek classicism and the Renaissance, one can see that the morphology of the physical model has changed over the centuries. I see my work as a continuous reinterpretation of the ideal model

Manara has created just ten of these illustrations, a series that Ulysse Nardin has reproduced using micro painting. High in the Swiss mountains, artisans at the Ulysse Nardin Headquarters in Le Locle have been working during approximately 50 hours around the clock to miniaturize each of Manara’s drawings on the dials, a surface which is roughly ten times smaller than the original water color paintings. The art of miniature painting shows that perfection is indeed in the details.

There is an explosion of colours in the sensual details. From the deep blue of the sea to the coral reef barrier, to the little waves details on the surface of the water and the color of the mermaid’s lips and jewels, it has all been painted by hand using a brush the width of a single eyelash. Patience is key. To enhance Manara’s erotic scenes, a lacquer has been applied as a topcoat on the acrylic painting, reflecting the light and nobility of Manara’s art work.

Made of polished stainless steel, these Milo Manara special editions will also be manufactured in 5N rose gold. Ten pieces per drawing will be produced in stainless steel and ten pieces in rose gold, making the series limited to a mere 200 pieces in total.

Powered by the UN-320 self-winding manufacture movement and beating at the rhythm of silicium technology – which Ulysse Nardin has mastered for decades – only the hours and minutes are displayed in order to leave a maximum amount of space on the watch faces for the drawings. The hands are discreet, leaving the drawings to star on the face of each watch. These Classico Manara in 40 mm will be set on dark blue alligator straps to align with the color tonality dictated by Manara. As a special gift from Ulysse Nardin, each watch purchase will be accompanied by an original numbered Milo Manara print, signed by the artist himself.

Stainless Steel: $ 26.900
Rose Gold: $ 34.400

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Ulysse Nardin

Audemars Piguet Sapphire Orbe

As promised here is the first post dedicated to a watch that was presented during SIHH 2019 last week. High jewellery, horology and design cues from nature have united in Audemars Piguet’s Haute Joaillerie collection also in past creations. This year’s unique piece pushes gem-setting craftsmanship to new heights. Named after the river that crosses Le Brassus, home of Audemars Piguet, Sapphire Orbe embodies a glittering river of diamonds and sapphires in graded hues of blue and orange, as night merges into day. Personally speaking, it is divine, I have rarely seen such a glamour in a contemporary design.

The outstanding piece features more than 12,000 stones, each rigorously selected, individually cut and set by hand. The central petal-shaped rings are entirely snow-set with diamonds and graded sapphires in 6 graded shades of blue and orange, each in 20 different diameters ranging from 0.5 mm to 1.5 mm in size. Multifaceted, this piece offers a play of colour and light that changes depending on the perspective from which it is seen. It took approximately 1,050 hours to gem-set this piece.


In the domed centre nestles the 2 cm dark blue sapphire-set globe which, when inverted, reveals the watch’s 18-carat white gold dial paved with graded orange sapphires. This spherical case houses a tiny quartz calibre. The bracelet is made of articulated diamond-set components, for maximum flexibility and comfort.

FUNCTIONS
Hours and minutes
CASE
18-carat white gold case in shape of a sphere, entirely set with dark blue sapphires, surrounded by 18 carat white gold rings, set with diamonds, graded blue and orange sapphires, glareproofed sapphire crystal, water-resistant to 20 m
DIAL
18-carat white gold dial, entirely set with graded orange sapphires, white gold hands
SETTING
2,794 briliant-cut orange sapphires 15.14 carats
3,240 briliant-cut blue sapphires 23.03 carats
6,069 briliant-cut diamonds 27.93 carats
Total 12,103 stones 66.10 carats
BRACELET
Bracelet composed of 18-carat white gold elements, assembled together by hand and set with brilliant-cut diamonds, jewellery type clasp.
MOVEMENT
Quartz Calibre 2710
Total diameter 16.2 mm (7¼ lignes)
Total thickness 1.9 mm
Number of jewels 7
Frequency of the quartz 32.768 Hz

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Audemars Piguet

SIHH 2019

Personally speaking, SIHH in Geneva, the famous Swiss watch trade fair, is one of the most enjoyable events of my yearly must-dos. Nevertheless, a lot has changed during the past years. In 2020, the so-called Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie will take place in May right after Baselworld. It makes sense especially for all the visitors from abroad to come only once to Switzerland.

This year, Van Cleef & Arpels decided not to be exhibiting due to the little business the brand has with retailers and distributors. Two other luxury watch brands, Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet, are leaving next year for similar reasons. It seems that most of the prestigious watch companies are dealing more and more directly with their consumers.

Happy Sandra after seeing Audemars Piguet’s amazing high jewellery watch Sapphire Orbe (a detailed post to follow).

In the meantime others joined the exhibition for the first time, for example Bovet, known for their handmade watches with artistic finishes and highly complicated movements. In addition, Breitling and Bucherer recently became members of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), which manages SIHH. This might be the first step in replacing Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet for 2020.

Still trending: Colourful straps as seen at Piaget, Cartier and Audemars Piguet.

But most importantly what will we wear in 2019? Cuff watches, tourbillons, dial sets with miniature paintings, skeleton movements, shaped cases and still lots of celestial influences… Below are some of my favorite ladies’ watches revealed during the 29th Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie.

AUDEMARS PIGUET Royal Oak Frosted Gold Double Balance Wheel Openworked
A watch that is brilliant in every way.
White “frosted gold”, 37mm, manual winding manufacture skeleton movement with a rainbow magic of its 32 baguette-cut sapphires (2.24 carats). MY FAVORITE!

RICHARD MILLE RM 37-01 Kiwi
Fancy a little watchmaking sweetness to help you through the winter?
Colored Quartz TPT and Carbon TPT, 34.400 x 52.30mm, self-winding mechanical movement, limited edition (30 pieces)

ROGER DUBUIS Excalibur Shooting Star
The coolest booth for the fastest girls in the world.
Pink gold set with diamonds, 36mm, flying tourbillon, skeleton manual winding movement.

PIAGET Possession Cuff Watch
A booth filled with sand for a little time out at the beach – a perfect backdrop to show the expert application of gold-working, a skill for which the brand is historically famed.
Pink gold set with 162 diamonds, 29mm, gold Milanese mesh strap.

JAEGER-LECOULTRE Rendez-Vous Moon Jewellery
One the sky is the limited. Nature played an important role at Jaeger Le-Coultre.
White gold case with mother-of-pearl dial and polished rhodium-plated appliqués, diamonds ~168 (~3.43 carats), calibre : 925B/1.

CARTIER Baignoire Allongé
Women are in for a treat at Cartier. Part of the Maison since 1912, the Baignoire features an ellipsis-shaped dial and  earned its unusual name in the late 1950s thanks to its strong resemblance to a bathtub.
Extra-large model, pink gold, dial set with brilliant-cut diamonds (293 diamonds,~1.50 carats), dark alligator leather strap, manual movement 1917 MC.

During the next days, I will show you much more as the most distinguished models deserve their own post, don’t you think? Stay tuned!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht, Some Stills: Courtesy of the Brands

An Exclusive Advent Calendar at Christie’s

To mark its 10th anniversary, Moritz Grossmann are launching their most ambitious project to date: the release of an interactive, online advent calendar of 24 unique watch pieces which are exclusively available at a global online auction with Christie’s. This is the first time ever that the auction house has offered such a large capsule collection of new and unique pieces.

About Moritz Grossmann
On November 11, 2008, Christine Hutter founded Grossmann Uhren using the distinguished name of the co-founder of the Glashütte watch industry and initiator of the German School of watchmaking in Glashütte, Moritz Grossmann. In doing so, she ensured that the legacy of the highly respected watch pioneer was revived after around 130 years. Since 2008, the company has been manufacturing watches to the highest standards in a classic yet contemporary design.

The common denominator of this collection is that every watch is unique, deriving from the most beautiful German craftsmanship.

The online auction runs until the 10th of December 2018 (Sale no. 16375).

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Moritz Grossmann

Hublot Debuts Bitcoin Watch

HUBLOT has always pushed the boundaries of traditional watchmaking industry. This year, the watchmaker is celebrating ten years since the creation of Bitcoin by launching the brand-new Big Bang Meca-10 P2P limited edition watch, available for purchase exclusively online with Bitcoins and also featuring the transaction number engraved on the edge of the bezel, rendering each piece unique.

«This is the kind of dynamism and innovation that our partners in Asia delight in. It is a visionary approach that fully corresponds to Hublot’s vision. Through its partnership with OSL, this first P2P watch allows us to continue to explore future avenues
Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot.

Bitcoin was created only just ten years ago in November 2008. This famous cryptocurrency, a virtual asset stored in digital form, was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto, a name used by the mysterious person – or persons – whose identity remains a mystery to this day. In any case, the peer to peer – P2P – payment system has attracted a large following of users and investors accepting payment for their transactions.

Ricardo Guadalupe and Wayne Trench launch the Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 P2P

A trailblazer in new technological and societal trends, Hublot has decided to mark the ten year anniversary of Bitcoin by launching the first watch that can only be purchased using Bitcoin. It will be sold exclusively via e-commerce and can only be ordered and paid for online. Such innovation was made possible through a collaboration with OS Limited (OSL), Asia’s leading digital asset brokerage. This makes Hublot the first big watchmaking brand to enter this sector.

«OSL is excited to collaborate with Hublot and LVMH, an industry leader in the luxury world, to enable a digital asset industry first. As investors are increasingly looking to diversify their investment portfolio by adding digital assets with generally low correlations to traditional asset classes, we are committed to providing our clients with industry leading trading solutions to support their investment journey.»
Dave Chapman, Chairman and Co-founder of OSL

The Big Bang Meca-10 P2P is a limited edition of 210 timepieces, a reference to the global limit of Bitcoins, which is fixed at 21 million.

True to the innovative design expected from the Big Bang collection, the “P2P” watch has a 45 mm case made from microblasted black ceramic. When we talk about ceramics in a Hublot watch, this does not mean clay-based pottery, but rather a high-tech material of zirconium dioxide pressed at a very high temperature. The Art of Fusion that is so dear to watchmakers and engineers at the Nyon manufacture.

It houses a HUB1201 manufacture calibre, a skeleton movement offering an exceptional 10-day power reserve. A number that was not chosen at random: Ten to mark the number of years the Bitcoin has existed. Each of the 210 pieces is unique: Manufactured for its wearer bearing the identification number of the transaction made via Bitcoin. Another reference to cryptocurrency can be found in the Blockchain inspired design – the interconnection network of computers on which virtual money works – on the blue calfskin leather strap which is lined with black rubber.

The Big Bang Meca-10 P2P was presented a few days ago in Hong Kong, where OSL headquarters is located. Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot, greeted special guests at an event of technological splendour. Visitors entered through a captivating tunnel with an interactive display showing the world of cryptocurrency, and the unique payment system that enables Hublot to accept payment in Bitcoin.

A revolutionary milestone in the watchmaking world!
YOU CAN ORDER THE HUBLOT BIG BANG MECA-10 P2P HERE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Hublot

At the Breitling Summit in London

Monday morning, I took the early flight to London to attend the first Breitling Summit, where the brand’s new Premier collection and additional distinguished products in all of their four universes, Air, Land, Sea, and Professional were introduced. The day started already beautiful with a breathtaking landing over the city in full sunshine.

A brand with a rich heritage

Breitling was founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling with the mission to create toolwatches with optimum functionality. Based in the Swiss Jura, he specialized in chronographs and precision timers. Until today, the watch company has been famous for its pilot-themed chronographs.
In 2017, Breitling, one of the last family-owned watch brands of note, was sold to one of the biggest private equity firm in Europe, CVC Capital Partners. I was curious how the watch company had evolved during the past 12 months after Georges Kern took over the helmet as CEO and also as an investor.

Breitling CEO Georges Kern

The day started with a presentation about Breitling’s journey over the past year and its vision for the future by Kern himself. For me, he is a marketing genius. In this short amount of time, he managed that Breitling is on everyone’s lips and he is proud of this achievement himself. His mission and energy to create a #legendaryfuture seems well on its way. With him in charge, the brand has a great chance to live up to its own spirit and to be flying high again.

Let’s take for example the #squadonamission campaign that is throughly thought through, celebrating the collective spirit of squads united in pursuit of their mission and featuring leading figures from the worlds of aviation, exploration, cinema, and sport. It was a pleasure listening to iconic photographer Peter Lindbergh who appeared on screen to tell us how much fun he had shooting Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt and Adam Driver for Breitling’s Cinema Squad campaign.

Kern said that «this clearly differentiates Breitling from the rest of the industry as Breitling is communicating with teams instead of individuals.» In a round table discussion he also wheeled out his top team.

My favorite: the new B01 Chronograph in Bentley Racing Green

His first steps to turn the brand around was to simplify the product range to four categories of Land, Air, Sea and Professionals and to speak to a broader customer base. On Monday, Breitling also announced new watches in each segment. One presented during the summit will be launched in partnership with Bentley, a collaboration that has been running since 2003, and that will be renewed in 2018 with the new B01 Chronograph in Bentley Racing Green – my favorite watch seen this Monday in London.

Combining purpose with style, the new Premier collections are worthy of Breitling’s legacy.

It is part of the probably most important launch, the elegant and stylish Breitling Premier collection that will be available from the end of October 2018. A reintroduced name that has a special significance for the brand as it was in the 1940s, when Breitling introduced its first collection of truly elegant watches, which were defined by their fash­ionable flair. Willy Breitling wanted to attract a new customer base and Kern wants to achieve the same with these new watches. Kern is clear about the role the Premier watches play in the brand’s product portfolio: «This is the first modern Breitling collection dedicated to everyday elegance. With outstanding quality and performance, these watches bear our unmistakable brand DNA, but they have been created with a focus on style that beautifully complements their purpose.»

Breitling’s new Superocean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown

Going with the zeitgeist and focusing on the sustainability aspect, Breitling’s new Superocean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown celebrates the brand’s partnership with Outerknown, a sustainable clothing company committed to improving environmental conditions for the entire planet. The watch features a first for Breitling: the strap is crafted from ECONYL® yarn, an innovative materi­al created from nylon waste, one source of which is fishing nets from oceans around the world.

Preview at the summit: Navitimer 8 inspired by Curtiss will be launched in 2019

Another very cool model that will hit the shelves in 2019 is for Breitlings’ aviation watch enthusiasts and «flying tigers»: the Navitimer 8 camouflage green dial will be produced in conjunction with Curtiss, an aircraft company best known for its WWII P-40 Warhawk fighter jet that is painted with a shark’s mouth under its nose.

Breitling Boutique in Zurich

During the round table Kern explained a little more about his sales strategy. He will increase their own retail and decrease wholesale. He closed most of the stores in South America and opened new ones in Asia and the US. In Paris, Breitling will open a flagship store in the next weeks featuring the new very masculine look, imagine a loft apartment with a pool table and a living room area with leather sofas, brick and concrete walls. «We call it modern retro,» Mr Kern said. Through their interior design, all stores offer an outstanding buying experience. Something that is key for Kern.

His biggest advantage in his new challenge? The independency of Breitling which gives him the capability to act faster than in a conglomerate. Kern is involved in every little step, even the design process of the watches.

Trying the new Premier Chronograph 42 with blue dial and brown alligator leather strap

An outlook for the upcoming year: Ladies, great news is that 2019 will mark the launch of a designated women’s watch collection. Stay tuned!

To a legendary future… I am wishing the whole Breitling team good luck for this thrilling journey!

LoL, Sandra

Photo: Courtesy of Breitling
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images for Breitling
@Breitling #breitling #squadonamission #legendaryfuture #premierstyle

Hublot Big Bang One Click Calavera Catrina


Aren’t these watches just so beautiful?! In an ode to life, HUBLOT once again displays its positive attitude by celebrating one of the world’s most popular holidays: El Día de los Muertos. Hublot imparts its interpretation on this life affirming celebration with the HUBLOT Big Bang One Click Calavera Catrina, the most carefree piece from the skull series.

Your attitude determines your altitude and at HUBLOT life is always viewed in the most beautiful and joyful way. The Big Bang One Click Calavera Catrina, launching at the 11th annual SIAR ( Salón Internacional Alta Relojería) watch fair in Mexico is a tribute to life. The Big Bang is ready for the big celebration transforming its iconic design into a party-ready, carefree, elegant and eccentric timepiece available in eye-catching fuchsia, purple, green, turquoise and blue.

Bringing to life the traditional face-paint of the «calaveras» and the sophisticated make up worn by the «Catrinas» (Elegant Skull) during the celebrations the timepieces showcased a lacquered dial in black or white, engraved with coloured lacquer. The colourful and elegant dresses are conveyed through the straps with stitched multi-coloured skulls and the bezel covered in a 42 sapphire rainbow.

There are three limited editions in total: a steel version featuring a white lacquered dial with a matching white leather and rubber strap (100x pieces – CHF 15.400), a ceramic version (100x pieces – CHF 16.400) and a King Gold version (50x pieces – CHF 27.400) both with matching black lacquer dials and black leather straps.

The One Click interchangeable strap system allows the Big Bang One Click Calavera Catrina to be transformed instantly and worn with blue or pink leather straps. The timepiece features the HUB1710 self-winding mechanical movement with a 50-hour power reserve.

Whether to pay tribute to El Día de los Muertos – an Aztec tradition dating back more than three centuries, and a celebration which has been recognised as part of world cultural heritage (UNESCO) since 2008 – or as a daily reminder to live fully, the Big Bang One Click Calavera Catrina tattoos the pulse of life to your wrist. A watch full of life and joy, it aims to transform every moment into a happy one.

Life in HUBLOT colors, I am on!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Hublot

New Limited Edition Royal Oak Frosted Gold

«A reflection on contemporary women»

Do you remember when I flew to Florence in the end of 2016 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of AUDEMARS PIGUET’s Royal Oak (for the previous post click here please)? It was love at first sight when I spotted the outcome of the creative collaboration between the Swiss watch manufacturer and my beloved Italian jewellery designer Carolina Bucci who was enlisted to reinvent the iconic watch model while paying tribute to its rich heritage. The Royal Oak Frosted Gold, which has been available in pink or white god so far, is absolutely divine and is still on top of my wish list.

This fall, they deliver another surprise with this eponymous 37mm limited edition Royal Oak in yellow gold. The shiny, silver-toned mirror, framed with the shimmering sparkle of a Frosted Gold case and bracelet, replaces the trademark «Tapisserie» Royal Oak dial. Described by its designer as «rebellious» in character, this is an attention-grabbing piece, made in the image of a contemporary woman: spontaneous, true-to-life and totally unapologetic.

Carolina Bucci’s original 2016 Frosted Gold design celebrated 40 years of Royal Oak for women. With this limited edition of 300 pieces, her design evolves in new directions. For the first time, the «diamond dust» finish appears in yellow gold – the designer’s favourite version of this precious metal. There’s novelty in the packaging as well, with a mirrored box bearing a Frosted Gold AP insignia. This mirrored box is also designed by Carolina Bucci, who believes in pulling out luxury watch packaging from the back of the closet to put it on display.

For me, Royal Oak is the watch. I wear it all the time; it’s part of my style, my signature.
Above all, being almost without precedent in the annals of the Manufacture, this mirrored dial is stunning. Carolina Bucci explains her inspiration with a certain, yet unexpected, creative logic: “With the first Frosted Gold design, I took the perfection of the Royal Oak case and bracelet and ‘roughed them up’ a little, juxtaposing the perfectly imperfect Florentine finish with Swiss watchmaking precision. Now I’m doing the opposite, taking the textured surface of the ‘Tapisserie’ dial and flattening it out into a perfectly smooth mirror. The motive for both is to create something interesting and unpredictable. It’s a fresh take on an icon made in the image of a contemporary woman. I know women with a great eye for keynote accessories who are going to love this. The mirror is always interacting with its environment, ever-changing according to what clothes you’re wearing, the décor of the room, the lighting, the time of day, the weather.

I designed the Royal Oak Frosted Gold in response to a challenge from Audemars Piguet.”

It’s a creation that has come with technical challenges. The mirrored dial is the most unforgiving component; only perfection will do. Carolina’s complete satisfaction with the result, which, has surpassed her own expectations, is testament to the Manufacture’s rigorous quality control, Carolina being known for her eagle eye and uncompromising standards.

Chairwoman of Audemars Piguet’s Board of Directors, Jasmine Audemars is an established fan of Frosted Gold and has been wearing the first edition 37mm selfwinding model since 2016. For her, “the creativity behind the Frosted Gold watch is simply amazing. It is both art and a very high level of technology. With Carolina Bucci, we created a kind of masterpiece.” She sees the new limited edition with its mirrored dial as «the final touch:» “It’s unique and fun. Who needs a selfie when you can look at yourself in your watch?

This new limited edition ROYAL OAK FROSTED GOLD in yellow gold is in stores now for CHF 53’900.-.

Personally speaking, one of the most beautiful watches I have ever seen! Bravo Carolina for your creativity and bravo Audemars Piguet for this collaboration.

TO SHOP CAROLINA BUCCI’S JEWELRY DESIGNS SHE IS WEARING IN THE PICTURES, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
icon

LoL, Sandra

Photos: ©Audemars Piguet 2018

Hermès Arceau Robe du Soir Watch

Mosaic. The very name conjures up images of art and light, the meticulous assembly of multi-coloured fragments of which the combination forms an artistic motif. In a 41 mm-diameter Arceau rose gold watch, 2,200 tiny juxtaposed leather squares form a horse profile inspired by the HERMÈS «Robe du Soir» silk scarf designed by Florence Manlik in 2018.

HERMÈS «Robe du Soir» silk scarf designed by Florence Manlik in 2018.

Set against an electric blue backdrop and matching strap, the colourful fragments are lit up by the rose gold glow of the round case with its asymmetrical lugs and slim leaf-type hands. The slender hours and minutes hands are driven by a self-winding Manufacture Hermès movement that can be admired through the sapphire crystal case-back. This horological creation imbued with the HERMÈS saddle- and leather-making heritage is issued in a 12-piece limited numbered edition.

It’s all there in a notebook kept safely under lock and key, harbouring the secrets of the Hermès artisan who imagined and developed this exclusive technique. A full year and a half of R&D was devoted to devising a process that her touch alone is capable of mastering. For several weeks, she patiently fashions a miniature work of art composed of thousands of variously coloured leather squares. First of all, no less than 3,500 tesserae are finely cut out from carefully selected full-grain calfskin. Subsequently, to fit inside the even smaller space afforded by the dial,
2,200 leather fragments compose an equestrian motif.

Such a piece of art.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Hermès

Hermès Art of Leather Watches

Combining leather craft and watchmaking skills, HERMÈS has recently launched ARCEAU Cavales and SLIM D’HERMÈS «Les Zèbres de Tanzanie» wristwatches that are so beautiful I have to share them with you!

For these new must-haves, the animal motifs much beloved by the French Maison are expressed in colourful artisanal style through leather marquetry. An equestrian profile and zebra stripes form vivid leather patchwork patterns, meticulously assembled on the dial of the two models. Within the confines of this incredibly small space, the refined composition of tiny calfskin tesserae is a true work of miniaturisation. Hermès Red, Malta Blue or Graphite: the chromatic signatures of the Maison suffuse this combination of leather craft and watchmaking skills. These inherently rare white gold models are issued in limited series.

On an inch-perfect dial, the Hermès leather artisans compose a variegated work depicting a horse or zebra. Reduced to the format of a round case, these creations flaunt the radiant colours of slim leather fragments carefully selected, cut out and juxtaposed with all the skill and expertise of saddle-making and leather craftsmanship.

The leather marquetry technique calls for a meticulous approach extremely similar to that of assembling a watch movement. Made from full grain calfskin, the leather pieces are split to a thickness of around 0.5 mm, before each element composing the motif is accurate cut to its appointed size and shape. One by one, the artisan picks up these fragments and fits them on the dial to form the design. The ARCEAU Cavales and SLIM D’HERMÈS watches set the stage for the art of leather miniature work.

ARCEAU Cavales

«Hermès Red» and «Indigo Blue» are two iconic colours of the Maison interpreted through subtly varied leathers lit up by Capucine or Agate Red touches. After six hours of patient assembly by the artisan, the many-hued pieces form a patchwork reminiscent of slim poppy petals for one model, and a stylised camouflage pattern for the other.

A closer look shows the «Cavales» motif symmetrically revealed in the dial centre. Swept over by slender leaf-type hands, this micro-leatherwork creation forming the watch face is framed by a 41 mm-diameter white gold ARCEAU case. Its asymmetrical stirrup-shaped lugs secure a smooth calfskin strap matching the dial colour. These two six-piece limited series are powered by a mechanical self-winding Manufacture Hermès movement driving hours and minutes hands.

SLIM D’HERMÈS
Les Zèbres de Tanzanie

The aura of refined understatement that is the Slim d’Hermès signature magnifies the striped coat of the zebra, in a creation adorned with leather marquetry as well as champlevé and miniature enamelling techniques. Framed by the ultra-thin case with its right-angled lugs and beautifully open dial, «Les Zèbres de Tanzanie» motif designed by animal artist Yves-Marie de Malleray in 2010 takes on a whole new dimension. Colourful stripes, composed of hand-fitted leather inlays, enhance the profile of the miniature-painted creature. The previously hollowed dial is filled with several layers of white enamel, interspersed with drying periods and firings in the oven. It is then hand-polished before the stripes are applied using an extremely fine brush and enamel powders mixed with natural essences. After 26 hours of enamelling and leather marquetry, the motif with its «Étoupe» and «Graphite» tones takes shape in contrasting matt and shiny surfaces. Slender baton-type hands sweep across this work of art, in step with the cadence set by the Manufacture Hermès H1950 ultra-thin movement with its micro-rotor. A matt alligator leather strap matches each of these three white gold variations, issued in 12-piece limited series.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Hermès / David Marchon