Hermès Introduces a Duo in Delicate Wood Marquetry

Astrologie Nouvelle and Pégase Paysage.

In its usual tasteful yet quirky style, Hermès has unveiled a pair of wristwatches featuring dials decorated in wood marquetry,  tiny pieces of exotic woods assembled like a puzzle to form striking, abstract motifs; last year Hermes did the same in leather.

Created by a young French marquetry artist, the dials start with a line drawing on tracing paper, which is then digitised and scaled down to the size of the dial. The reduced drawing is then printed out and cut into its component parts with a scalpel, forming the pattern for cutting.

Each piece is then glued to a thin slice of exotic wood that is then cut with a small electric fret saw. The resulting bits of wood are then assembled with a tweezer, and occasional gentle hammering, before the dials are sanded and varnished, making them seem like an unbroken whole.

Monochromatic yet intriguing enough to make you look twice, the Arceau Astrologie Nouvelle reproduces the pattern from the silk scarf of the same name. The original Astrologie scarf featured a classical star chart, but in 2012 designer Cyrille Diatkine reinterpreted the motif – nouvelle is French for “new” – breaking it up into alternating and inverted segments.

The Astrologie Nouvelle motif has been recreated using tulipwood, a wood that can vary in colour from white to dark blue according to Hermès, resulting in the contrasting colours of the dial.

Its case is 41mm and 18k white gold, containing the H1837 automatic made by Vaucher, a movement maker part owned by Hermes.


More figurative but simultaneously abstract is the Slim d’Hermès Pégase Paysage. Literally translating as “Pegasus landscape”, the motif is once again taken from an Hermes scarf. It depicts a bird’s eye view of a hilly terrain, with contour lines that form the outline of the horse’s head, at once a portrait and a landscape.

A mixture of woods was used to form the Pégase Paysage, including amaranth, ebony, chestnut and yellow pear, creating a motif that ranges in colour from black to brown to cream. The woods were selected not just for their colour, but also their grain, which ranges from pronounced to almost invisible, creating nuanced surface and shading.

The Pégase Paysage is presented in a 39.5mm, 18k white gold case, and powered by the H1950, also produced by Vaucher. This is a wider but slimmer movement than the H1837 found in the Astrologie Nouvelle, thanks in part to its micro-rotor.


Key facts and price

Arceau Astrologie Nouvelle

Diameter: 41mm
Material: 18k white gold
Water-resistance: 30m

Movement: H1837
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Alligator

Limited edition: Eight pieces
Price: €52,500, or 80,800 Singapore dollars


Slim d’Hermès Pégase Paysage

Diameter: 39.5mm
Material: 18k white gold
Water-resistance: 30m

Movement: H1950
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Alligator

Limited edition: Eight pieces
Price: €52,500, or 80,800 Singapore dollars

For more information, visit Hermes.com.


 

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Marnaut Introduces the Seascape 200 “Super Compressor” Diver

Another retro diver.

A retro-inspired dive watch that’s been popular since Longines unveiled the first Legend Diver in 2007, the “Super Compressor” is characterised by two crowns, one for the winding and setting, and the other to rotate the inner bezel. The latest brand to get on the “Super Compressor” bandwagon is Marnaut, which just launched the Seascape 200 on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

Founded by a Croatian watch enthusiast with an eye for detail, Marnaut’s design is centred on a simple but distinctive feature – circular, applied markers radiating outwards on the dial – 34 markers in total – inspired by the shell of a sea urchin.

The rest of the dial is typical of retro-style dive watches, with large hands and an inner elapsed time bezel with a vintage-inspired serif font. And that is complemented by the perforated rubber strap modelled on vintage “tropic” bands.

The steel case is a compact 40mm in diameter, but somewhat thick at 13mm high. As is convention for a “Super Compressor” the crown at four is for winding and setting, while the crown at two rotates the bezel.

But the “Super Compressor” nickname has nothing to do with the crowns – Super-Compressor (as well as Compressor) was a type of water-resistant watch case patented by defunct case maker E. Piquerez SA (EPSA), which had a unique sprung, screw-down case back that sealed tighter against the watch case with growing atmospheric pressure as depth increased.

Like all crowdfunded watches at this price – the Seascape costs just under US$300 – it is produced in China, via a contractor in Hong Kong. The movement inside is a Miyota 9015, a robust automatic produced by a subsidiary of Citizen.


Key facts and price

Seascape 200

Diameter: 40mm
Height: 13mm
Material: Steel
Water-resistance: 200m

Movement: Miyota 9015
Functions: Hour, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Rubber or croc-pattern calfskin

Availability: Direct from Marnaut via Kickstarter
Price: From US$281

For more information, visit Marnaut.com.


 

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