We have seen watches named after everything from space ships and movie stars to boats and fighter planes, so why not an elevator? The Hermès Arceau Lift is uniquely inspired by the architecture of the Hermès boutique at 24, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. Specifically, its name refers to the wrought iron Art Nouveau detailing on the wrought iron grill that encloses the elevator (or “lift” as Europeans call it) in the flagship store. The decorative wrought iron appears in a number of areas throughout the store, including the entrance doorway, the handrails, the bannisters – and above all the door of the lift, installed in 1923.
The barrel bridge at 12 o’clock and the tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock feature a decorative double H in a scrolling style that calls to mind the wrought-iron artistry. This double H symbolizes three things: the Hermès logo, the emblematic motifs inside the Rue du Faubourg store and also the union between the Hermès and Hollande families in 1900, through the marriage of Emile Hermès, grandson of the House founder Thierry, and Julie Hollande. Emile Hermès bought the building on Faubourg in 1923 and launched a construction plan to turn the manufacturing premises into a boutique with large display windows. The upper floors continued to contain the artisans’ workshops.
The Hermès Arceau Lift is the brand’s first flying tourbillion, with Caliber H1923, named in reference to the date when the elevator was installed in the boutique. The dial plate of the multi-layered movement is decorated with a raised chevron motif. The beveling on the bridges, wheels and screws is entirely done by hand, while the 12 o’clock jewel surround, as well as the double H topping the tourbillon carriage feature the mirror-polishing technique known as specular polishing.
This complication may be admired from the dial side, but is also revealed through an opening in the back of the gold case, which bears an engraving of the Hermèsex-libris – a crest that is also represented in the tiling on the floor of the boutique.
The Arceau Liftis fitted with an alligator strap crafted in the workshops of La Montre Hermès, and is being produced in a numbered limited edition of 176 pieces, each representing one year of Hermès’ existence since 1837.
[gallery type="slideshow" link="file" ids="2192,2196,2190,2195,2194,2198,2197"]