Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! Watch

The Arceau watch, created by Henri d’Origny in 1978, lends its classic yet distinctive round shape – with its asymmetrical stirrup-inspired lugs – to infinite expressions of Hermès creativity, style and expertise. Its timeless white gold silhouette stages an alliance between leather craftsmanship and Haute Horlogerie in a one-of-a-kind pocket watch. Beating to the rhythm of the Manufacture H1924 minute-repeater and tourbillon movement, the Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! frames a refined white enamel dial, protected by a cover adorned with a tyrannosaurus composed of marquetry and leather mosaic.

After the gruff bear of the Slim of Hermes Grrrrr! and the wolf howling in the moonlight of the Arceau Awooooo, the Arceau Pocket Aaaaaargh! watch is joining the bestiary imagined by English artist Alice Shirley. On this model, the «king of the tyrant lizards» with half-open jaws and an attentive eye comes to life under the expert guidance of Hermès watchmakers, after a month of meticulous work using exclusive techniques developed in its leather workshops.

The design of the tyrannosaurus, which appears to be peeking through a porthole, stands out against the cover and involves a combination of several demanding skills. The head and scales are made in leather mosaic: thousands of finely hand-cut multicoloured leather fragments are applied one by one to faithfully reproduce the original pattern. The domed eye of the dinosaur, visible on both sides of the cover, is made of cabochoncut Grand Feu enamel.

Finally, the jaw and tongue are crafted in leather marquetry: fine tesserae are cut from various coloured leathers, previously thinned to just 0.5 mm, before being juxtaposed on the enamel base. Setting the final touch to this miniaturised leather artwork, a matt green alligator leather cord-strap is secured to the rectangular stirrup and accentuates the overall design.

TECHNICAL DETAILS
One-of-a-kind creation

MOVEMENT
Manufacture Hermès H1924 movement
Mechanical hand-wound, crafted in Switzerland
Diameter: 30mm
Thickness: 8.89mm
Power reserve: 90 hours
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3Hz)
Functions: Hours, minutes, minute repeater, flying tourbillon

CASE
Shape/size: Round, 48 mm in diameter
Material: White gold case and cover
Watch glass: Anti-glare sapphire crystal and caseback
Caseback engraved with the inscription “Pièce unique”
Water resistance: 3 bar

DIAL
White enamel on a white gold base

COVER
«Aaaaargh» marquetry and leather mosaic motif
Grand Feu enamel eye

LEATHER CORD-STRAP
Medium – green alligator leather

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © David Marchon for Hermès

Visiting the Audemars Piguet Manufacture

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Straight from sunny Florence I flew to back to snowy Switzerland to visit the manufacture of Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus in the Vallée de Joux. Being the oldest fine watchmaker that is still in the hands of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet), I had the chance to indulge in the brand’s history and to explore the craftsmanship first hand.

sandra_bauknecht_audemars_piguet_manufacture_visitWearing a work coat and shoe covers for protection at the manufacture.

img_4949The modern part of the manufacture.

Since 1875, the company has written some of the finest chapters in the history of Haute Horlogerie, including a number of world firsts. At the heart of the Swiss Jura, numerous masterpieces are created in limited series embodying a remarkable degree of horological perfection, including daring sporty models, classic and traditional timepieces, splendid ladies’ jewellery-watches, as well as one-of-a-kind creations.

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I was deeply impressed seeing the precision that goes into the assemblage of the 3120 movement that comes also with my favorite watch, the Royal Oak Frosted Gold  – 37 mm .

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img_4951The entrance to the museum.

Over the years, Audemars Piguet has collected vintage models that are beautifully presented in the in-house museum that is only open to private tours.

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audemars_piguet_manufacture_11audemars_piguet_22An impressive family history

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montre_musique_audemars_piguetMusical watch, around 1840, Piguet & Meyland

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audemars_repetition-minuteRepetition Minutes, 1875, Louis Audemars

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royal_oak_audemars_piguetThe first Royal Oak was designed by Gérald Genta in 1972.

dates_audemars_piguetUntil today, all information on sold watches are written down by hand. In the ’30s, customers included Bulgari, Van Cleef and Bucherer.

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At the moment, Audemars Piguet is building a new museum in Le Brassus designed by Danish architectural firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group). Incorporating the existing building, the new form of a hairspring will showcase the history of the oldest, family owned watchmaker (see below).

LoL, Sandra

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Collage and last photo: Courtesy of Audemars Piguet, all other photos: © Sandra Bauknecht