A family-owned and independent maker since 1837, Hermès creates beautiful, heirloom-quality objects meant to be passed from generation to generation. Best-known for its exceptional leather goods like wallets, handbags, and even equestrian saddles, the French maison also has a rich history of fine watchmaking, marrying beautiful original design with unique complications.
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For the better part of its first 100 years of existence, Parisian maker Hermès was best known as a fine leather goods maker specializing in saddles and harnesses for horses. It wasn’t until the early twentieth century that the brand expanded into leather lifestyle goods like handbags, wallets, belts, and soon thereafter, its first wristwatch and accompanying watch straps.
Since 1912, Hermès has been a quietly exceptional watchmaker, but it wouldn’t be until 1972 when the brand’s unique design language would achieve universal acclaim with its “clasp watch” (named ‘Kelly’) paying homage to a handbag once bought by Princess Grace of Monaco a number of years earlier. Less than a decade later, Hermès would introduce the ‘Arceau’ (French for “arch”), a new watch with a circular silhouette whose unique lug design was inspired by the shape of a horse’s stirrup. Along with a full line of Tank-style watches pulled from the height of the Art Deco design era, the sleek and award-winning Hermés Slim, the Arceau would go on to form the backbone of the modern Hermés watchmaking collection, which plays host to a wide variety of innovative, high-complication pieces powered by Vaucher-built manufacture movements. Particularly noteworthy in this Hermés watchmaking journey has been the GPHG-acknowledged Arceau L'heure de la lune, which offers a spectacular, and offbeat perspective of earth’s rotation through the simultaneous display of two moon phases in both north and southern hemispheres.
Through its long history of fine leather goods leading up to a partnership with the Apple Watch, and the brand’s own complicated manufacture pieces, Hermés occupies a unique position in the luxury space, with appeal to both wide audiences of casual luxury products and connoisseurs of fine Swiss watchmaking.