AFTER a little over four decades Hermes is honoring the debut of one of its most iconic timepieces — the Arceau — with the unveiling of the new Arceau 78 at the 2019 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva. The original Arceau of 1978 holds a special place in the Hermes narrative; it was designed by Henri d’Origny, the man responsible for setting Hermes’s aesthetic codes.
D’Origny, as the brand faithful need not be reminded, created the patterns adorning the iconic neckties, scarves and shawls of Hermes, among other items. Of course, he also designed the numerous interpretations of the Arceau, along with sundry Hermes watches like the Cape Cod (the dial design for which Hermes used on its Apple Watch rendition, too).
In the Arceau 78 the model’s signature visual elements — a round case, a pair of asymmetrical lugs (the ones on top are longer) inspired by stirrups, and hour numerals rendered in italicized font (purportedly evoking a horse’s gallop) — are retained in a 40-millimeter polished-steel case with a bead-blasted bezel and textured anthracite dial. Cream-colored Arabic numerals (in italics, of course), a pair of leaf hands and a discreet date window at 6 o’clock compose the watch’s dial furniture. Matched to the subtle gray-and-beige palette of the watch is a strap made of natural Barenia calf leather. Now, as the brand’s connoisseurs know, creating an Hermes strap is an altogether fascinating story about craftsmanship by itself.
Taking care of the Arceau 78’s timekeeping function (and, well, date display) is a Swiss quartz movement. Following its debut at SIHH, the Arceau 78 is set to gallop to market in the second quarter of this year.