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Why We Love It: The Hermès Arceau Lift Millefiori

By mastering the art of glass with the Arceau Lift Millefiori, Hermès elevates the face of time and craftsmanship. Here’s a closer look.

By Rhonda Riche

From handbags to silk scarves, anything by Hermès is covetable. A big part of the brand’s allure is how it sells the story of how its products are handcrafted. With the new the Hermès Arceau Lift Millefiori, ancient glassmaking techniques are entwined with Hermès’ fabled leathercraft. Plus, there’s a lot of fancy watch works tucked into the classic Arceau case.

We first got hooked on this watch back at SIHH in January. And we can’t stop thinking about it months later. Here’s why we love it.

First, It’s Beautiful

Sometimes love comes down to good chemistry. Just check out this video of master glass blowers transforming silica and dyes into the tiny black and white rods which will eventually form a design that recalls the alligator scales on a luxe Birkin Bag.

This unconventional dial of the Lift Millefiori was also inspired by 19th-century paperweights created by the venerable glassmakers Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis, the historic glassmaking company that is now owned by Hermès. While the artisans use centuries-old Millefiori techniques, the look is graphic and modern.

It’s fun to be with

When Hermès made its SIHH debut in 2018 (they previously showed at Baselworld), it did so with a bang: A Rube Goldberg-esque booth designed by Dutch artist Levi Van Veluw and RDAI architects. The exhibit also reflected the same sense of playfulness reflected in the Lift Millefiori.

 “‘Let’s play’ is our theme for 2018,” says Pierre-Alexis Dumas, artistic director of Hermès. “It’s an invitation to never take your heritage for granted and to use your heritage to reinvent the future.”

While the bit-shaped lugs of Arceau case reference Hermès equestrian roots and smooth alligator strap is part of the French luxury brand’s long history of expertise in leather hand craftsmanship, the Lift Millefiori simply doesn’t look like any other timepiece out their today. It has a strong wrist presence and is a real conversation starter. They say money can’t buy happiness but wearing this watch will probably make you a bunch of new, watch fam friends.

It’s Smart

The Lift Millefiori is also a showcase for Hermès growth in becoming a full-fledged manufacturer. The lower half of the dial reveals the tourbillon cage (which is decorated with Hermès double H “Lift” motif). The watch is powered by the in-house, hand-wound Hermès H1923 movement, offering hours and minutes indication and around 90 hours of power reserve.

An aside, Hermès also offers a pocket watch version fitted with a 93-component self-winding Hermès manufacture movement H1837 with 50-hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour.  It also has an alligator-inspired dial, a sapphire crystal and case-back with anti-glare treatment and comes sheathed in black matte alligator leather.

It’s Elusive

There’s something about human nature that when something is rare, we just want it more. Hermes Arceau Lift Millefiori is issued in a limited edition of just three pieces. The pocket watch is limited to two pieces.

The elements of the watch are also rare. The mirror-polished tourbillon carriage has been hand-chamfered. The care of artisans is also evident in the polished bridges, black-polished screws.

The 43-mm case Arceau Lift Millefiori is crafted from 18k white gold. The upper part of the dial reveals the Millefiori glasswork resembling alligator scales and the watch itself mounted on a black alligator strap with an 18k white gold pin buckle.

For more information about Hermes Arceau Millefiori watches, visit our Hermès partner page.

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