When Thierry Hermès opened his harness workshop in the Grands Boulevards quarter of Paris in 1837, he established a tradition of craftsmanship of the absolute highest quality. His workmanship was the beginning of the Hermès legend, a tale of dedication to craft, style, and exacting standards of quality that continues today. As Hermès has grown and developed new facets of their business, from saddle-making to watchmaking, perfume, scarves, and apparel, it has never forsaken those original dedications to manufacturing goods of the highest possible quality.
To purchase an Hermès timepiece today, for example, is to invest in an object of unparalleled craftsmanship, enduring elegance, and exacting functionality whose value will only grow as it weathers the passing years gracefully. Generation after generation of Thierry Hermès’s extended family guided the company onward in its continued success, and today they remain one of a handful of top luxury brands worldwide without having had to ever cater to the capricious whims of fashion – Hermès is elegant and true to its unique, refined style no matter what trends come and go.
The newest incarnations of the Hermès Dressage watch are no exception. They wed the company’s tradition of expert leatherworking and their commitment to ultra-precise timepieces into the perfect combination of substance and style that pays homage to its equestrian origins. The Dressage marks the very first time that Hermès has produced a watch completely manufactured in house.
Hermès was undoubtedly among the first to create fine leather wrist-watch straps, as evidenced by their “Porte-Oignon” from 1912, a leather harness made to hold a pocket-watch on the wrist for easy consulting while riding. This ingenuity and consideration of usefulness inform the new 2012 Dressage watches, which take into account various practical concerns such as protecting the delicate crown and ensuring that the watch sits comfortably and smartly in position on the wrist. This is accomplished partially by virtue of the excellent and elegantly designed straps that accompany the watch. The metal straps are stylish and effective, but the leather straps are in some ways masterpieces unto themselves. Since 2007 La Montre Hermès has maintained a leatherworking studio in Biel, Switzerland where all of their straps are produced. No other luxury watchmaker can claim this distinction. Their straps are so masterfully produced that they have long been admired by Bertram Kalisher, editor of this magazine and former owner of Hadley-Kalbé, one of America’s premiere watchband manufacturers for many years. It was he who brought to my attention the intricate detail in the stitching and the precision of the work involved in producing such elegant straps. The detail and construction of the strap recalls the masterfully crafted Hermès saddles and other equestrian accessories on which the company built their reputation.
Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, who has designed and created movements for Hermès timepieces in partnership with Le Montre Hermès since 2003, manufactured the precise Swiss movement, the heart of these watches. The movement comes in two varieties, one with a calendar and one with a large second hand, both useful in their respective ways – the former perhaps for business, and the later for sport. The intricate 193-piece movement ensures that no matter what you do while wearing the watch, it will keep time accurately and reliably. The dial is available in both opaline silver and opaline black, and both feature rhodium –plated hour markers for easy reading. There are also two versions with rose gold cases, one featuring the small second hand and the other produced in a limited edition of 175 pieces to celebrate Hermès 175 years of craftsmanship. Regardless of which version you choose, you are investing in more than just an exemplary timepiece. You are investing in a wonderful legacy of timeless design and thoughtful construction; a watch that could surely be either an elegant every-day wristwatch or one of the highlights of your collection.