Hermès Introduces the H08 Automatic

A smartly executed watch.

Conceived as an everyday watch with a modern aesthetic, the Hermès H08 is the latest mechanical watch for men from the Parisian leather goods maker. As is now the norm for Hermès, the H08 is a proper mechanical watch that’s powered by an automatic calibre made by respected movement maker Vaucher, while also having its own custom typography created specifically for the H08 (just as it was for the Slim d’Hermès wristwatch).

Slightly sporty in design, the H08 has a cushion-shaped case that’s available in titanium or an unusual graphene composite. And the titanium version is also available with a matching bracelet that is notably well executed.

Initial thoughts

I played with the various versions of the watch, and I like it. They are well designed, well made, and importantly, well priced.

The case is smartly finished with a variety of contrasting textures, while also having a screw-down crown and 100 m water resistance. And it contains a Vaucher movement, which is an automatic assurance of quality in terms of construction, and finishing is sufficient at the very least. And it’s worth pointing out that the titanium version is also available on a bracelet that is done surprisingly well for a watch of this price.

From left: Graphene composite, titanium, and DLC-coated titanium

That said, the fact that it comes from Hermès as opposed to an established watchmaker will no doubt be a major hindrance for a watch enthusiast. But I can say with certainty that the H08 is a well executed watch.

Priced at about US$6,000 on the bracelet – which is the best version in my opinion – the H08 is a value proposition considering the quality of the case and movement. However, the graphene composite version is pricey at US$8,900, and probably not worth the upgrade regardless of the lightweight case.


Described by Hermès as having a “sporting-inspired design”, the H08 is a reasonably sized 39 mm by 39 mm – and a slim 10.96 mm high – which creates a relatively compact footprint on the wrist. And with a 100 m water-resistance rating, the H08 is also competent enough for sporty activities.

The case is a cushion-shaped, and finished with a good degree of detail. The bezel is radially brushed, with an innermost raised lip that’s mirror polished, while the case is linearly brushed on the titanium model.

The titanium model is also available with a titanium bracelet that echoes the style of the case well, being made up of brushed outer links with a rounded, polished centre link.

The case is stamped and then finished

The titanium case is available with a black DLC coating (bottom left), or natural titanium

The composite version is similar, but substantially more lightweight. Its case is made of a composite that includes graphene, a form of carbon that is favoured for its strength and lightness. While the case middle is composite, the bezel is ceramic that’s finished with radial brushing, and mirror polishing on its innermost, raised lip.

Similarly, the dial is made up of a variety of textures and layers. Its surface is finished with a granular texture, and segmented by a chapter ring that is brushed. And all of the hour numerals are applied.

The H08 is equipped with the H1837, an automatic movement produced by Vaucher, the movement maker majority owned by Parmigiani in which Hermes has a quarter stake.

Based on the Vaucher VMF 3000, the H1837 is a slim 3.7 mm in height. It has twin barrels and a 50-hour power reserve.

Key facts and price

Hermes H08
Ref. W049427WW00 (titanium on bracelet)
Ref. W049433WW00 (graphene composite)
Ref. W049428WW00 (titanium with DLC coating)

Diameter: 39 mm by 39 mm
Height: 10.96 mm
Material: Titanium or graphene composite
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

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

Strap: Rubber or fabric webbing; brushed titanium version also available with matching bracelet

Availability: Already at boutiques
Titanium on strap – US$6,000; or 7,900 Singapore dollars
DLC titanium on strap – US$6,200; or 8,300 Singapore dollars
Titanium with bracelet – US$6,600; or 8,800 Singapore dollars
Graphene composite – US$8,900; or 13,000 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Hermes.com.

Addition April 16, 2021: Case height added.

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Watches & Wonders 2021 Panels: Innovation

Staying relevant and aspirational.

Among panels discussions that took place Watches & Wonders 2021 was the session about the familiar buzzword – innovation. As wth the rest of the event’s broadcasts, the panel happened with all of the participants taking part remotely from around the world, but it still  managed to be efficient, relevant, and lively.

What did we learn from it? 

As a starting point, a quick overview of watchmaking’s history was essential. William Rohr, a long-time collector who’s behind startup Massena Lab, summed it up: “There is a tradition of innovation in watchmaking, whether for the precision of timekeeping, improved legibility or other aspects, it is still very much alive in the industry.”

“Horology today is much more about passion and emotions than functionality per se,” added Patrick Tacq, a Belgian collector with diverse tastes, “Nonetheless, innovation is key to the industry for its survival in the 21st century and to keep the next generation involved in mechanical watchmaking.”

The studio with moderator Mélanie Freymond (far right), Pascal Ravessoud of the FHH (far left), and author Benjamin Teisseire

Stay relevant

Precision timekeeping obviously does not need a mechanical watch, but many other aspects of the timekeeping experience can be improved through innovation.

“Our goal at Ressence is to use technology to bring better ergonomics to our mechanical watches in order to create an even deeper relation between the customer and his watch,” emphasised Benoit Mintiens, founder of Ressence. His approach has taken the mechanical watch into an entirely new arena as demonstrated by the Ressence Type 2 e-Crown, which is solar powered and set via a smartphone app, but still powered by a mechanical movement.

At the other end of the spectrum are watches that are replicas of past designs, a major trend in today’s market but unimaginative for some of the panellists. “Watchmaking needs to innovate, to use technology in order to bring improvements to the customer,” said Ariel Adams, founder of online watch magazine ABlogtoWatch, who added that brands have to understand what the expectations of their customers are and then innovate to fulfil these needs.

“If we just try to respect our heritage [and not innovating], we will lose everyone,” noted Antoine Pin, head of Bulgari’s watch division.

The Ressence Type 2 e-Crown

Adaptation and education

Innovation is even more essential as the world evolves. Mechanical watches need to offer utility to the customers, even if watches themselves have transformed into aspirational, as opposed to functional, products.

“Dreams are key to mechanical watchmaking,” said Mr Adams, “But innovators are dreamers. They bring improvements to consumers that they did not even know they wanted.”

That makes innovation useful, but it still falls to the brands themselves to educate the customer about the advantages of these innovations. Magnetism-resistant movements, for instance, are a useful innovation that few consumers are aware of, and it took several years for watch brands to spread the message sufficiently such that at least watch enthusiasts now realise its importance.

Ariel Adams (left), and Melanie Freymond

Mr Pin illustrated the notion of how innovation proliferates with Bulgari’s quest for thinness in its movements: “Through pursuing miniaturisation, we eventually came to address the question of energy transmission, of precision and of power reserve. We therefore met other brands where innovation was achieved. In the end, it develops our constant capacity to improve ourselves across the board”. 

Bulgari’s innovation

The cost of innovation

Often overlooked and rarely understood by watch buyers is the high cost of innovation.

Obviously, research and development is expensive, typically requiring years to come to market and realise a return on investment. As Mr Mintiens explained, “For us, every watch is like reinventing the wheel, so costs are extremely high.”

One of the most interesting outcome of this panel was the possibility of an open-source approach to innovation for the whole industry. “Open-source is largely innovators and entrepreneurs who are not scared of sharing because they gain more from sharing than what they give away,” said Mr Pin, “We must remember we are a small industry. It is getting more and more complex to move forward. We have a lot to gain from this open source approach because it frees creativity.”

Indeed, open-sourcing of technology would be the greatest innovation for the industry.

From left: Antoine Pin of Bulgari, Benoit Mintiens of Ressence, William Rohr of Massena Lab, Patrick Tacq, and Ariel Adams of ABlogtoWatch

Innovation as a driver of sales?

The consensus was clear – definitely. Hublot with materials, Bulgari or Piaget with ultra-thin movements, Ulysse Nardin with silicon regulating organs, Ressence and its hybrid watchmaking – the examples of innovation are countless, all serving to show that innovation encourages enthusiasts to buy watches.

Modern watchmaking thrives by getting the balance right between innovation and emotion. So the key to useful innovation is to celebrate watchmaking’s history while making it relevant to the contemporary buyer, making innovation part of the emotional dimension of watchmaking and triggering the buying decision for the consumer. This how an age-old industry can remain relevant while being aspirational.


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Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces the Reverso Tribute Nonantième

Digital hours and a celestial decor.

Marking its 90th anniversary this year, the Reverso is the only truly successful reversible wristwatch. Jaeger-LeCoultre has long utilised the twin sides of the Reverso case for complications, and now for the first time equips the flip side with a digital hour display.

The Reverso Tribute Nonantième nonantième is French for “ninetieth” – has a conventional front, but an unusual reverse decorated in blue lacquer that features a “semi-jumping hour”, disc minutes, along with a day and night display.

Front and back

Initial thoughts

From the front the Nonantième is hard to distinguish from other Reversos, but from the back it is immediately interesting with its digital hour and disc-type minutes. The reverse face is attractive and certainly unique, but the movement inside is more familiar.

Though the cal. 826 is new, it is evidently derived from the cal. 853/854 in the various Reverso Duoface models, being similar in principle but different in indications. It’s mechanically novel, though the fact that the hour display is “semi jumping” rather than actual jumping is regrettable.

The reverse display with digital hours

Rectangular (or even tonneau) watches usually lose their elegance beyond a certain size, and the Nonantième is close to the limit. At 49.4 mm by 29.9 mm, the Nonantième is a big watch, identical in size to other extra-large models in the Reverso line up, making it suited for larger wrists.

At a bit over US$40,000, the Nonantième feels pricey given that the Reverso Duoface models start at about US$23,000, rising to US$25,000 for the top-of-the-line Tribute Calendar.

Moon and stars

Designed in the current house style for the Reverso – namely dauphine hands and baton markers – the Nonantième also incorporates a celestial theme in its Art Deco-inspired design.

Showing the time, date, and age of the moon, the front has a moon phase display with a disc bearing a textured moon that’s modelled on the actual lunar surface.

And on the reverse, the time display is encircled by a figure-of-eight bridge that’s engraved with stars and lacquered in blue.

Notably, the reverse dial features a “semi-jumping hour”, rather than an actual jumping hour that jumps instantaneously. Below the hours is a day and night display on a blue disc bearing a sun and moon motif, and at the base, the minutes indication on a disc.

The bridge for the reverse display

The watch is powered by the cal. 826AA, a hand-wind movement with a 42-hour power reserve. It is essentially the reliable cal. 822 – the workhorse Reverso movement for decades – but modified to incorporate the displays on both faces.

Key facts and price

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Nonantième
Ref. Q711252J

Diameter: 49.4 mm by 29.9 mm
Height: 11.72 mm
Material: 18k pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Cal. 826
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, big date, and moon phase on the front; semi-jumping hours, minutes, and day-night indicator on the reverse
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand wind
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Alligator with gold pin buckle

Limited edition: 190 pieces
 Only at boutiques
Price: US$40,500; €38,700; or 58,500 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Jaeger-lecoultre.com.


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