I have been doing some research on Hermès, as I will be visiting the manufacture near La Chaux-de-Fonds and the design studio in Paris next week. Like many watch brands, Hermès only recently developed its own base caliber, but I was surprised to learn that, like most of the mor well-known top watch brands, Hermès has been branding its own timepieces for over 100 years – long before it started making silk scarves.
The first watch was made in 1912. The iconic Kelly model was first introduced in 1975 and the Arceau in 1978, followed by the Clipper in 1981 and the Cape Cod a decade later. I can remember when the classic Heure H made its debut in 1996. In 2006, Hermès acquired a 25% stake in Vaucher Manufacture, with whom the brand has collaborated for many years, and this year introduced the self-winding calibers H1837 and H1912. Last year it worked with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht to produce the Temps Suspendu, a special retrograde movement that suspends time. The brand, which started as a saddler, has also been making leather straps for its watches since the 1920s. Next week, I’ll gain some insight into the inner workings of the Hermès watchmaking enterprise.