How Hermes Recreated One of its Best-Known Silk Scarf Patterns on a New Watch Dial

You can now find the motifs of the Astrologie Nouvelle scarf on a limited edition Arceau timepiece.

By Victoria Gomelsky 09/10/2019

Few luxury items have had as much longevity as a silk scarf by Hermès. High-end watchmaking fans may, of course, beg to differ. But now, they no longer have to choose.



Hermès has just released an Arceau timepiece whose dial features the alluring mix of astrology and horology motifs seen on the brand’s sought-after Astrologie Nouvelle silk scarf. And it’s a beauty. Created in 1963 by Françoise Faconnet and reinterpreted for autumn/winter 2012 by Cyrille Diatkine, the pattern reflects an artistic view of the flow and acceleration of time; Diatkine described it as “orderly chaos.”

Hermès Astrologie Nouvelle Scarf
Hermès Astrologie Nouvelle Scarf Courtesy of Hermès



The most striking aspect of the watch is the way Hermès artisans have rendered the design: using the specialized and meticulous technique of wood marquetry. The 41mm white gold case frames a dial set with tulipwood, a tree native to North America known for its fine and firm grain, as well as a colour that evolves from white to dark blue.



Each dial requires three weeks of painstaking work that begins by cutting tiny pieces of tulipwood before assembling them, puzzle-like, onto the dial; sanding; and varnishing.



Available in a limited edition of eight pieces, each priced at $54,900 (around A$81,000), the self-winding model comes on a matte black alligator strap



Although marquetry is an esoteric craft, it is not unusual to see it used in high-end watchmaking. Cartier, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe are just a handful of the prestige brands that have incorporated the technique into their repertoires, using materials such as wood, mother-of-pearl, even straw.



For Hermès, however, the Arceau Astrologie Nouvelle timepiece marks the first time the maison has worked with the ancient craft.



“Over the years, we have had the opportunity to meet talented craftswomen and craftsmen to express the creativity of the house,” says Philippe Delhotal, creative director of Hermès Horloger. “Techniques such as enamel and engraving are commonly used, but crystal, leather, straw and wood marquetry are rarely applied on a small scale. This occasion marks the first time we’ve used wood marquetry, where each element is meticulously cut, handled and assembled on the dial.”

ADVERTISE WITH US

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Hublot’s Latest Watch Fuses Two Favourites Together

The brand lives up to its “Art of Fusion” tagline with the new Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10.

By Victoria Gomelsky

23/01/2020

Nine Things To Know – Paris Men’s A/W Fashion Week 2020

The French brought the glamour and celebs – alongside the further elevation of tailored suiting.

By Terry Christodoulou

21/01/2020

Bulgari Unveils Stainless-Steel Octo Finissimo Watch

And it’s becoming popular with a new clientele.

By Paige Reddinger

20/01/2020

The First Titanium Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Revealed

The coveted watch is limited to just 88 pieces.

By Rachel Cormack

18/01/2020

World’s Second Biggest Diamond Snapped Up By Louis Vuitton

The tennis ball-sized gem was sold for an undisclosed fee.

By Rachel Cormack

17/01/2020

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected