Up Close: Hermès H08 Automatic

Design and quality.

Unveiled at Watches & Wonders 2021, the H08 is an all-new men’s watch from Hermès. Featuring a cushion-shaped case and a Vaucher movement, the H08 is typical of Hermes in its restrained, thoughtful styling exemplified by the custom typography.

Hermès described the H08 at its launch as a relatively affordable, everyday watch with a simple, high-quality execution – which is accurate. Though it comes from a brand better known for its handbags and scarves, the H08 is a watch done well in many ways.

Initial thoughts

The H08 is surprisingly appealing in the metal. Slim and lightweight, it has a design that is interesting despite being simple. And its technical credentials are solid, albeit not fancy, with the H1837 movement inside being a Vaucher calibre.

Although the H08 does evoke other watch designs, it still manages to look original. And it does look like a Hermes product, which might be important to some buyers, thanks to the touch of orange in the seconds hand that remains discreet enough to suit those who don’t care for obvious emblems.

The H1837

Characterised by geometric shapes, the styling is modern while incorporating accents that illustrate Hermes’ traditional attention to detail. The font used for the hour numerals, for instance, was designed specifically for the H08 and echoes the cushion shape of the case. And the same font is used for the date, ensuring perfect consistency in its typography (though it does impact legibility of the date somewhat).

On the surface, the most interesting H08 is the version in graphene composite, which is palpably lightweight thanks to the novel case material. But it costs a quarter more than the titanium version, which is actually more appealing in the metal, especially on the bracelet.

The H08 with a graphene composite case

And in titanium

Thin enough that it isn’t too weighty, the bracelet feels good and wears well. It is also well priced at only US$600 over the base model on a strap, while the graphene-composite version is an US$2,900 extra.

With the base-model H08 starting at US$6,000, it is a reasonable proposition considering the quality of build. The value it offers is comparable to similarly-priced watches from mainstream watch brands, though not to the level of value champions like Tudor. But the H08 has the added appeal of good design, which clearly sets it apart from the competition.

From left: Titanium on bracelet, graphene composite, and DLC-coated titanium

Rounded square

The H08 feels like a compact watch, although it’s still 39 mm by 39 mm, which is hardly small. At a little under 11 mm high, it is notably slim, which gives the case an elegant profile despite the sporty-ish design.

There are hints of the Cartier Santos and Bell & Ross BR 05 in the design, but the H08 avoids looking derivative with a careful mix of shapes, finishes, and typography. Although it’s just for 12 numbers on the dial, the custom font has a major impact on the design; it is integral to the style of the watch, which would look decidedly ordinary if the numerals were in a commonplace font.

Another of its notable characteristics is the case finish, which like the numerals enhances the design. The bezel is done particularly well. It is radially brushed, which accentuates the numerals around the dial, but the innermost edge of the bezel is mirror polished, giving it a bit of refinement.


The priciest version of the H08 is all black, combining a graphene composite case matched with a bezel coated in diamond-like carbon (DLC).

An allotrope of carbon, graphene is made up of layers of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb. In practical terms, that means graphene is light and strong.

The H08 with a composite case gets an all-black look thanks to dark grey lume

Like all carbon-based composites, graphene mixed with a polymer to create a composite that can be milled into the case. Essentially a high-tech plastic, graphene composite is similar to the various composites used for the watch cases of ultra high-end sports watches from the likes of Richard Mille.

The layered nature of graphene composite is visible on the lower edge of the case

The H08 in graphene composite is way more affordable than a Richard Mille, but at US$8,900 it costs too much more than its counterparts in titanium, which start at US$6,000.

It’s hard to justify the price of the graphene-composite model. While its lightness and all-black look have strong appeal, especially for a sports watch, the H08 in graphene composite feels more expensive than it should be.

Comparable in appearance to the graphene composite model is the version in two-tone titanium. This has a titanium case coated in DLC matched with a brushed titanium bezel in its natural colour. Like its composite sibling, this version is available only on a strap, which makes it similarly light, but far more affordable.

The best value amongst the H08 models is the version on a bracelet. Modelled on the case shape, the bracelet is a good fit for the case, both in terms of design and size.

In terms of finishing, the bracelet is resembles the case, with a mix of polished and brushed surfaces. Again, it works well with the design, though I would have done away with the polished centre links in favour of a more restrained, all-brushed finish.

The only bit that feels out of place is the clasp, which is quite wide, because the bracelet doesn’t taper.

It’s worth noting that the bracelet includes half links, which will be useful in achieving a good fit since the full-sized links are large and the clasp has no micro-adjustment feature.


The cushion-shaped case sets the tone for the rest of the design; the same form can be found on the numerals and hands – even the counterweight of the seconds hand is shaped like the case.

Geometric in form with a hint of Bauhaus, the font works for the modern, sporty design. And the numerals are large enough that legibility is good.


One of the elements that attests to the careful design is the date, a typically neglected detail in most watches. The date is rendered in the same font as the hour numerals, making it a perfect fit.

That said, the style of the date might sometimes make it difficult to distinguish between certain numerals. Six and eight, for instance, might be mistaken for one another at a glance. Still, the visual appeal of the typography of the date outweighs the possible impact on legibility.

Vaucher powered

Inside the H08 is the H1837, an automatic movement widely used by Hermes in its men’s watches. Like many of Hermes’ mechanical calibres, it comes courtesy of Vaucher, the respected movement maker that’s a sister company of Parmigiani.

Specifically, the H1837 is the VMF 3000, a smallish and thin movement that’s just 3.7 mm high. It has a good-enough 50-hour power reserve.

Like all Vaucher movements in watches at this price point, the VMF 3000 has a refined construction and workmanlike finishing. Its decoration is all done by machine, but done neatly and carefully. All the bridges have bevelled edges, while the jewels sit in countersinks.

The Hermes version of the calibre is decorated with a neatly-stamped, repeating “H” motif – decidedly non-traditional, but one that suits the watch. Importantly, the “H” pattern manages to be different – and obviously Hermes – without taking anything away from the clean finish of the movement.

Concluding thoughts

Fashion and leather goods houses like Hermes, or even peers like Chanel and Louis Vuitton, don’t often get respect as watchmakers. But they make tangibly good watches, and the H08 is an example of that.

It possesses the brand’s house style of restraint mixed with distinctive details. At the same time, all of its elements, from the dial to case, are excellent quality, particularly for the price.

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: At Hermes 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.


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Business News: Consolidation in European Pre-Owned Watches

Watchmaster acquires MMC.

Historically fragmented and dominated by numerous small players, the pre-owned watch industry has been consolidating with at an increasing pace, driven by the e-commerce and ambitious entrants from outside the business.

Amongst the most prominent and fastest-growing is Watchbox, which began as an offshoot of authorised retailer Govberg Jewelers but has since grown into one of the largest pre-owned merchants with outposts in Hong Kong, Dubai, and even South Africa. Even Richemont, the Swiss conglomerate that owns brands like Cartier and IWC, has invested substantially in the space with its 2018 acquisition of British outfit Watchfinder.

Though the most widely-reported developments in the business are largely concentrated in the United States and Britain, continental Europe is experiencing similar growth, especially in its largest markets like Germany and France. The recently announced takeover of Paris-based MMC by Watchmaster in Germany illustrates many of the trends shaping the pre-owned business.

Like many recent startups in the space, Watchmaster was founded by digital entrepreneurs instead of watch industry insiders. In fact, almost all of Watchmaster’s founders and senior managers are former employees of Quandoo, the restaurant booking platform that was sold to Japanese staffing giant Recruit Holdings in 2015 for about €200 million, shortly before Watchmaster was set up. Watchmaster’s current chief executive, Tim-Hendrik Meyer, was a cofounder of Quandoo, as are several members of its board.

Headquartered in Berlin like many German startups, Watchmaster is one of several pre-owned watch sellers operating primarily online that are based in Germany. The country’s status as the continent’s biggest market for luxury watches has nurtured the growth of prominent e-commerce enterprises, including merchants Montredo and Chronext, along with marketplace Chrono24.

Having raised €35 million since its founding in 2015, Watchmaster now sells approximately €50 million of watches a year -entirely online, though it just opened a showroom in London.

Though Watchmaster was founded by digital natives born after the Quartz Crisis, it is buying an old-school watch store with MMC. The French company is typical of traditional watch dealers that rode the wave of rising interest in vintage and complicated watches that began in the 1980s. It’s been operating out of a store just five minutes from Eiffel Tower for over two decades (pictured above), and although it has a web presence, MMC still very much a bricks-and-mortar operation.

Together, the combined entities will have annual sales of about €70 million according to a Watchmaster spokesman, along with two physical stores, the MMC boutique in Paris as well as Watchmaster’s newish London location.

With the luxury watch business enjoying strong growth, expansion and consolidation in the pre-owned segment will no doubt continue apace, especially in Europe and the United States.


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Only Watch 2021: Andersen Genève Quotidiana

Hand-made goodness.

One-off timepieces are very much the stock-in-trade of Svend Andersen, who has spent over 40 years creating bespoke or custom complicated watches at his eponymous brand, Andersen Genève. A longtime supporter of Only Watch – the brand created a Montre a Tact for the 2019 event – Andersen did something different this year for the charity auction.

A collaborative partnership with the Savile Row tailor Edward Sexton, the Andersen Genève Quotidiana is a one-off wristwatch accompanied by a made-to-measure suit for the buyer, along with a visit the workshops of both companies.

Initial thoughts

While the tie up with a tailor is odd, the watch itself is intrinsically interesting. Unlike the more esoteric “tactful” watch made for Only Watch 2019, the Quotidiana is a classical timepiece in form and function, but done with the watchmaker’s typical decorative flair.

The quintessential Andersen Genève watch consists of elaborate efforts in constructing the various elements – from the case, dial, and hands, to custom complication modules, usually built upon an off-the-shelf base movement.

These parts are made manually with hand-operated tools, a charming characteristic that makes for a genuinely personalised timepiece, even though the Quotidiana has been made for Only Watch without a client’s input (though the buyer will get to specify every detail of the suit that goes along with the watch).

Hand made

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the Quotidiana is the guilloche dial. Similar to that found on the Jumping Hours 40th Anniversary, the white gold dial features a Losanges Magiques pattern that’s been engine-turned by hand. The triangular motif provides a striking contrast to everything else on the watch, which is made up of round elements.

For contrast against the dial, the hands are made of red gold. Like the other elements of the watch, they are also custom-made, taking the form of a hollow “A” with a brushed finish.

At its core, the Quotidiana is a day-date watch, with a continuous day display at 12 o’clock and the date opposite at six o’clock. Framed by the chapter ring, the day disc is made of 21k Blue Gold, with the Edward Sexton needle logo pointing to the current day. A minor nitpick is that the days on the disc are machine-engraved, which could’ve been improved with hand-engraving to match the rest of the watch.

A whimsical feature are the seven days expressed in seven languages – dimanche, montag, tuesday, mercoledi, jueves, joum’a, and shabbat – perhaps as a symbolic of the international nature of time and the calendar. At the same time, the calendar reflects Mr Andersen’s long-held, cross-cultural approach to watchmaking. He was the first to create a perpetual calendar showing the Hebrew calendar in 1996.

The case is in a classical, “empire” style with fluted flanks. It is two-tone in the manner of a vintage pocket watch, with the bezel and case back being red gold, and the case middle in white gold. Like the dial, the case is also constructed by traditional means – on a lathe and without CNC machines.

As with most Andersen Geneve watches, its complications are modifications to a base movement. In this case, the base is a Frederic Piguet cal. 1150, a double-barrel movement with a power reserve of 72 hours.

Typical of Andersen Geneve is the 18k gold rotor, which is engine-turned by hand with a barleycorn guilloche. As an added touch, the case back engraving is done by hand, resulting in the sharply-serifed font typical of hand engraving. The decorative nature of the engraving also serves to frame the otherwise small movement.

Key Facts and Price

Andersen Genève Quotidiana

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 9 mm
Material: Red and white gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water-resistance: 30m

Movement: Frederique Piguet cal. 1150 with day date module
Functions: Hours, minutes, as well as day and date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Alligator leather with red gold buckle

Limited edition: Piece unique
Availability: To be sold at Only Watch on November 6, 2021
Estimate: CHF60,000-70,000

For more, visit Onlywatch.com.


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