Hermès Arceau Millefiori, beyond crystal art glass.

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Hermès is the poet of watch-making. Every year, the French luxury house launches amazing timepieces displaying the alliance of innovation, know-how and beautiful arts. During Baselworld 2014, Hermès revealed Dressage l’Heure Masquée, a special timepiece that reviewed the relationship between a watch and its owner. You can read our full review here.

Hermès released the information about a new creation, that literally blew our mind in terms of beauty, know-how and high-end watch-making. It is called Hermès Arceau Millefiori. This year, Hermès has 3 main themes: Femininity, complications and Art craftsmanship. These themes will underline the singularity and the innovation of the brand. 14 different Artwork craftmanship in-house. It is a great source of inspiration and a chance to have such a richness inside the company.

The encounter of watch-making and glass-making

With the launch of this new Arceau Millefiori, Hermes encapsulates an unusual encounter between 2 amazing fine arts: watch-making and glass-making. The best of watch-making made by Hermès in-house, meets the centuries of know-how in glass-making by the Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis. It is the oldest glass-maker in France and since 1993 belongs to the Hermès group. For Hermès it was a way to set all this amazing know-how into the future. And now synergies are creating amazing things like this glass dial used in the Arceau Millefiori watch.

The Millefiori technique is a precision technique in glass-making that requires a lot of strictness, patience and a huge dose of artistic feeling. Crafted by applying successive layers of crystal to enamel to reveal the colour, these canes resemble barley sugar candy canes. They are in some cases assembled to form ever-richer patterns. Whatever their colour or design, the process itself remains identical. It is a very crafted technique, very “artisanale”. Normally, these glass baguettes are used to manufacture Glass paper-weight at St Louis Cristalleries. Naturally they are bigger than a watch, so here it is the first time that these crystal-glass baguettes are produced in such a small scale. Each dial will be cut at 6mm. The Craftmen from Hermès work in a 1/10 scale which requires a lot of patience and know-how. Every piece is unique.

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The canes thus created are cut into small ten-millimetre portions that are then vertically placed in a cast- iron bowl, where they form a bed of flowers. While one master glassmaker prepares a crystal ‘calotte’ or ‘skullcap’, the part that fixes it to the rod, a colleague brings him the bowl containing the millefiori. With the tip of his punty, the first artisan adds the molten clear crystal, fusing the two blocks so as to encapsulate or “package” the motif in glass.

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It is only during the final cutting stage that the crystal reveals the full wealth of its pattern and the unique beauty of the flowerbed with its vividly shimmering colours that will become the dial or cover of one of the Arceau models. These dials will then be applied in the watch-making process in order to be installed within the watch case.  Check here a video made by the watches.tv about the collaboration between the 2 French luxury houses.

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Arceau Millefiori 41mm

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Arceau Millefiori 34mm

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The amazing visual effect of this technique is that you can see a marked deepness into the pattern like if the different elements were floating in the air. It is almost like a glass lace.

The 34mm holds a Mechanical self-winding movement, crafted in Switzerland, Hermès Manufacture Movement H1912. Circular-grained and snailed mainplate. Satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight, adorned with the special Hermès decoration (H symbols).  In terms of materials, 750 white gold (≈ 37.3 g) Case set with 60 diamonds (0.76 ct). Crown set with 1 diamond (0.07 ct) Top Wesselton V.V.S « Extra white » to « Plus extra white». 

The 41mm holds a Mechanical self-winding movement, crafted in Switzerland Hermès Manufacture Movement H1837. Circular-grained and snailed mainplate, satin-brushed bridges and oscillating weight adorned with the special Hermès decoration (H symbols) as well. The Case material is 750 white gold (≈ 58 g) Anti-glare sapphire crystal and case-back.

There are 2 variations in Pocket-watch version, that will definitely seduce passionates for beautiful objects.

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The Millefiori technique was used in the cover of the pocket watches, so it makes an unique object. Very elegant, especially with the contrast between the cover and the leather strap. Do not hesitate to visit the brand official website to discover more about the amazing world of Hermès.
http://www.hermes.com.

At this level of mastery, these objects are more than timepieces. They are the ambassadors of a heritage and a culture that will never finish to surprise us. Congratulations to Hermès for such outstanding craftsmanship work.

LA

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Info sourced at Hermes official communication release. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.

Sebastien Eich

Sebastien Eich is passionate about Swiss watch-making and throughout the years he gathered a tremendous amount of knowledge about the beautiful art of creating a watch. Based in Switzerland, the mother land of watch-making, he has exclusive access to Brands and events. He shares all of it here for the great pleasure of sharing.