Possibly the most iconic Hermès watch, the asymmetrical Arceau has been used to showcase complications like the recent minute repeater with tourbillon or the quirky L’Heure de la Lune. A counterpoint to that is the Arceau Grande Lune, an accessible watch that still preserves the design elements that make the Arceau so recognisable. With its latest facelift, the Arceau Grande Lune now has an altogether more modern aesthetic with a two-tone, metallic blue dial.
The new Grande Lune is a handsome watch with all the typical design cues of the Arceau, from the Breguet-style numerals for both the hours and date to the stirrup-inspired case. At the same time, the Arceau Grande Lune is a more formal-looking watch than recent releases from Hermes that had a bit more whimsy, most notably the Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! Minute Repeater.
While the “XL”, 43 mm Arceau case is ideal for showing off uber-complications, it is perhaps a shade too large for a more formal watch, especially one with an old-school triple-calendar and moon phase.
It’s still a good looking watch, with a style that is more contemporary than earlier iterations of the model. The dial is dressed in a fashionable colour, but has plenty of visual interest thanks to the clever use of varied surface textures that give it a subtle two-tone finish. And despite the case design being over 40 years old, the Arceau still feels current thanks to its subtle asymmetry with its upper lugs being slightly larger than the lower pair.
Something that is obvious only because the dial quality punches far above its price point is the bleeding around the edges of the logo under 12 o’clock. It’s the result of the printing on the concentric pattern-stamped surface, but still looks out of place – admittedly that’s in the stock images that might not reflect what a watch in store might look like.
At US$6,100, the Arceau Grande Lune is an attractive and smartly-priced offering. The ETA-based movement inside is basic, but robust and appropriate for the price. Though it does not revolutionise the design or mechanics of the model, the facelifted version demonstrates how clever but simple redesign, executed with an eye for detail, can reinvigorate a watch.
Though very much priced as an entry-level watch, the new Arceau has a dial done in surprising detail. The hour track is radially brushed whereas the central portion features two different stamped concentric patterns, or azurage. And the date track is in a frosted silver finish that echoes the silver print on the dial, as well as the frames for the calendar apertures.
Though simpler in form and finish, the distinctive Arceau case still has tremendous charm. Penned in 1978 by Hermes designer Henri d’Origny, the case is 43 mm, steel, and entirely finished in high polish.
Within is a movement that is entirely expected for the price point: an ETA 2892-A2 fitted with a complete calendar and moon phase plate that is most likely produced by module specialist Dubois-Depraz.
Key Facts and Price
Hermes Arceau Grande Lune
Diameter: 43 mm
Water-resistance: 30 m
Movement: ETA 2892 wth complete calendar and moon phase module
Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds; triple calendar with moon phase
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Strap: Alligator with folding clasp
Availability: Already at boutiques and retailers
Price: US$6,100; or €4,900
For more, visit Hermes.com.
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