Watch Test: Hermès Arceau Le Temps Suspendu

The module is handsomely decorated. Skeletonizing adorns the rack elements and the cams. Geneva waves and cloud patterns embellish the module’s bridges and plates. However, the base caliber completely covers the mechanism and it can’t be seen when the caseback is removed. Even after a watchmaker has lifted up the dial, only a small part of the module comes into view.

The watch’s price of $43,500 seems appropriate. Individualistic design, high-quality craftsmanship from the case to the strap, an exclusive and attractively decorated module: these details all combine to create a very distinctive watch.

+ Unusual function
+ Individualistic design
+ Very good craftsmanship

– Mediocre rate results
– Unsatisfactory legibility

Manufacturer: La Montre Hermès, Erlenstrasse 31A, CH-2555 Brugg, Switzerland
Reference number: 038688WW00
Functions: Hours, minutes, retrograde date, button to “suspend” time
Movement: Self-winding ETA 2892 “elaboré” with Agenhor 4111 module to “suspend” time, 28,800 vph, 45 jewels, Incabloc shock absorption, fine adjustment via index and eccentric screw, 42-hour power reserve, diameter = 34 mm, height = 6.15 mm
Case: Rose gold, cambered sapphire crystal with nonreflective coating on one side, five screws hold the back in place; water resistant to 30 meters
Strap and clasp: Alligator-leather strap with rose-gold folding clasp
Rate results (Deviations in seconds per 24 hours):
Dial up                        +2
Dial down                   +3
Crown up                    0
Crown down               +7
Crown left                   +6
Crown right                 0
Greatest deviation of rate       7
Average deviation       +3
Average amplitude:
Flat positions               290°
Hanging positions                   257°
Dimensions: Diameter = 43 mm,  height = 13 mm, weight = 149 grams
Variations: Brown dial
Price: $43,500

Strap and clasp (max. 10 points): The cut alligator-leather strap and the sturdy rose-gold clasp are very well crafted.              9
Operation (5): The time and date are easy to set and the “suspended time” button operates smoothly.  5
Case (10): The case, made of rose gold, is painstakingly and neatly crafted in every detail, but its polished surface is susceptible to scratches.                 9
Design (15): The styling is distinctive but harmonious.          13
Legibility (5): The pale dial doesn’t provide much contrast with the slim numerals and pierced golden hands. The time cannot be read to the nearest second.             3
Wearing comfort (10): With its soft leather strap and ergonomically designed clasp, this watch is comfortable but a bit top-heavy on the wrist. 9
Movement (20): ): ETA’s base caliber 2892 is equipped with a handsomely embellished Agenhor module to “suspend” time.           16
Rate results (10): The watch gained an average of three seconds per day, but a poorer value of seven seconds for the maximum deviation of rate detracted from these good results.         7
Overall value (15): An unusual function, distinctive design and very good craftsmanship yield a good cost-benefit ratio.        12
TOTAL:          83 POINTS

This article first appeared in the August 2013 issue of WatchTime Magazine.

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