La Montre Hermès drew admiring eyes from watch aficionados at SIHH 2019 with its haute-horology headliner, the Arceau L’Heure de la Lune, a creatively imagined and attractively designed moon-phase timepiece with a new movement and a choice of celestially derived dials. This year, the brand offers the model up in five all-new dials: three sculpted from different types of meteorite — lunar, Martian, and Black Sahara — as well as one each in lapis lazuli and blue pearl stone.
Each of the new models features the emblematic Arceau case, a hallmark of Hermès watchmaking since its was designed in 1978 by Henri d’Origny, measuring 43 mm in white gold, rose gold, or platinum. Beating inside is the Hermès Caliber H1837, introduced in last year’s original Arceau l”Heure de la Lune and enhanced with a proprietary, patent-pending module that drives its unusual timekeeping and moon-phase display.
On the dial, the time and date are displayed separately on two satellite subdials, which float above two mother-of-pearl moons, one each for the northern and southern hemispheres. The southern lunar view is on the top of the dial at 12 o’clock, the northern view on the bottom at 6 o’clock, an unusual arrangement that allows the satellite subdials — color-coordinated with each model’s other dial elements and color tones — to rotate clockwise, covering and uncovering both lunar disks in tune with the actual phases of the moon, completing a sweep around the dial every 59 days. This cosmic complication is the brainchild of Jean-Francois Mojon, a complication specialist who has collaborated with a host of top watch brands, including MB&F and Harry Winston.
The module that controls this elegant lunar dance was developed exclusively by Jean-Francois Mojon, a complication specialist who has collaborated with a host of top watch brands, including MB&F and Harry Winston. It consists of 117 polished and bead-blasted components and measures just 4.2 mm thick, and incorporates seamlessly into the H1837 self-winding movement, whose high-horology decorations include a circular grained and snailed baseplate, satin-brushed bridges and a rotor engraved with the Hermès “H” pattern. Such decorative detailing also extends to the dial, whose signature sloping-font Arabic numerals are swept over by blued steel hands, and whose moon disks each feature a special surface decoration. The southern moon features a portrayal of the mythological winged horse Pegasus (horses, of course, being a frequent Hermès motif since its early days as a saddlemaker), inspired by the Pleine Lune (Full Moon) works of artist Dmitri Rybaltchenko; the northern moon has a transfer illustration depicting a realistic view of the lunar surface.
The Arceau case attaches via its familiar stirrup-inspired lugs to a matte-surface alligator strap, color-coordinated with each dial’s eye-catching tones and fastening to the wrist with a pin buckle in the same material as the case. The lapis lazuli (with rose gold case) and blue pearl stone dial (with white gold case) versions of the Hermès Arceau L’Heure de la Lune are both priced at $33,200. All three meteorite-dial editions are limited editions: the model in white gold with lunar meteorite dial is limited to 36 pieces at $43,000; the white-gold model with Black Sahara meteorite dial, also 36 pieces, is $54,000; the watch with the Mars meteorite dial comes in a platinum case and is limited to only two pieces, price available upon request.