Leather and watches, the dual inspiration of Hermès
The In The Pocket revives a historical Hermès timepiece presented in a new version for Only Watch. The select craftsmanship that inspired it reflects a long-term watchmaking strategy..
For the Only Watch event, La Montre Hermès decided to reinterpret the In The Pocket, an imaginative bit of watchmaking originally released in 2012 and designed to be worn as either a traditional pocket watch or a wristwatch thanks to an ingenious holder secured to the wrist directly. This very special timepiece was inspired by an old family photo. On a photo dating to 1912, we see Jacqueline Hermès and her sisters on holiday in a pose that that could have served as a model for the illustrator of one of those morally correct scrolls by the Countess de Ségur. It is not, however, just the quaint charm of this image that makes it interesting, but rather the strap on the left wrist of the young girl. With it, she can wear her pocket watch during her riding lessons without it hanging from her clothes or lost deep inside a pocket.
The In The Pocket timepiece is thus intimately linked to the history of the Hermès company, and not only because of this photo. Indeed, this watch recalls Hermès’ initial vocation, namely leather craftsmanship that Thierry Hermès had already mastered as a harness maker when he moved to Paris in 1837. Still today, six generations later, fine leather goods and saddlery remain the emblematic signature of the company, generating almost half of its turnover. Hence the interest in this special In The Pocket strap consisting of two parts – the plain strap end and the buckle strap end – and composed of three layers of leather: H-red calfskin for the Only Watch edition, which replaces the Barénia leather of the 2012 version, cow leather for internal reinforcement, and Zermatt calfskin lining for wearer comfort.
Hand crafted in the leather-making workshops of La Montre Hermès in Switzerland, this strap mirrors down to the finest detail the attention to quality reflected in all Hermès creations. The seams, handmade using the saddle stitching technique, are hammered and the edge is dyed and polished with beeswax.
H1837, the watchmaking adventure
In The Pocket is not only about leather work. It also reveals the story of Hermès watchmaking. The House of Hermès began manufacturing wristwatches in 1928 and even inscribed its name on a few dials the following year. The company then collaborated with the big names in Swiss watchmaking and settled in Switzerland in 1978, several years before most of its French competitors. Nevertheless, it was not until 2012 that it came out with its first in-house movement, developed in partnership with Vaucher Manufacture, in which it has held a 25% stake since 2006. It is precisely one of these movements, known as the H1837, that powers the In The Pocket. The number sequence obviously refers to the date the company was created. The other movement presented in 2012 is called H1912 in reference to the famous photo of Jacqueline Hermès. It is also used for some of the watches in the Arceau collection.
With its baton-type hands and grained black dial ─ the 2012 dial was silver ─ the In The Pocket gives a clear read of the time set in tandem with a small seconds subdial located at 6 o’clock, whose red markers replicates the colour of the strap. The 40-millimeter diameter of the domed and well-proportioned rose gold case increases to 49 millimeters when worn on the wrist.
The sapphire crystal base reveals the delicate finishing of the H1837 automatic movement which, thanks to its twin barrels, has a 50-hour power reserve. Spinning above the beaded and snailed mainplate, the oscillating weight is adorned with a sprinkling of the brand’s signature H motifs. The development of this movement has attracted particular attention. Designed to accommodate new modules, each offering its own set of complications, it has become a core component of the Hermès watch strategy. Finding the movement in this watch offered for sale as part of Only Watch is therefore quite significant.