Hermès Gets Whimsical at Watches & Wonders 2022

Hermès Gets Whimsical at Watches & Wonders 2022

Can haute horlogerie be as playful as it is technical? We explore that notion with the 2022 Watches & Wonders novelties from Hermès.

By Jessica “J.J.” Owens

A brand that started in leather goods, Hermès is synonymous with quality and class. A shining star in the accessories world, for the past few years, Hermès has taken an elevated approach to its timepieces with high complications and designs that rival any other watchmaker’s.

So, with a decades-long love for watches from the Heure H and Cape Cod lines, the novelties released at Watches & Wonders 2022 only build on the years past, proving Hermès is a serious contender in the watch world and that this is only the beginning of the brand’s journey into haute horlogerie.

Time To Fly

Inspired by Loïc Dubigeon’s 1984 scarf print, the Arceau Les Folies du Ciel watch is a piece that combines the brand’s history with modern horology. Designed as a tribute to those early visionaries who thought humans would one day fly, the beloved “Les Folies du Ciel” scarf is still available today.

I saw this playful piece during the show, and it brought me back to a childlike innocence; before I even loved watches. No watch has ever evoked that emotion in me.

Housed in a 38mm gold case featuring a mother-of-pearl dial, the hand-painted neoralite balloon and bird motifs summon the desire to travel and soar to new heights. Limited to twenty-four pieces, the Les Folies du Ciel watch is as whimsical as the scarves that inspired it.

Time To Travel

With an underlying theme of travel in many of its novelties, the Arceau Le Temps Voyageur was no exception.

A must-have, frequently-talked-about favorite of many show attendees, the Arceau Le Temps Voyageur features a “Traveling Time” mechanism made exclusively for Hermès. This mechanism uses a disc-type display to show the time anywhere from Sydney to Los Angeles, totaling 24 time zones. Also inspired by a scarf design, the satellite rotates on a map that first appeared on the “Planisphère d’un monde équestre” scarf in 1978 by Jérome Colliard.

With one variation sized at 41mm in platinum and the other at 38mm in steel, the Le Temps Voyageur’s 122 components dedicated to displaying only the home time emphasize just how committed Hermès is to compete in the watch game.

Time To Enjoy

Next up is arguably my personal favorite of not just Hermès but the entire show: the re-imagination of the Kelly.

Designed in 1975 and modeled after the iconic handbag, this modern take on the watch shows the brand’s mischievous side. The new Kelly is available in steel or rose gold. Plus, you have the option of diamond-studded versions (with either 43 or 179 diamonds, to be exact).

All that said: The interpretation that stole my heart was the alligator clochette secured to a leather cordlet. A stylish little secret, only for those who know, the diamond Kelly can easily hide behind the security of the clochette whenever one feels it’s appropriate to do so. It has fiery joie de vivre that resonated so much with me; so simple in concept yet executed to perfection. For me, this interpretation represents exactly what Hermès is.

The New Horology Highness

As someone who has always been infatuated by more than just the imaginative designs of Hermès scarves, the novelties the maison presented at Watches & Wonders were a genuine delight (with the Kelly being a new favorite).

When a house doesn’t rely exclusively on watch sales, the door is open for spirited creative endeavors that spark joy in a way that only balloon motifs or hidden diamond-encrusted locks can do. Thank goodness!

For more information, visit the Hermès website.

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