Established back in 1837, Hermes is mostly known for its high-quality, premium-priced leather goods. However, the French company has recently moved full-speed ahead into the “real” watchmaking business. Marking its 175th anniversary, Hermes has not only redesigned its elegant Dressage family but also introduced what it calls its “first in-house movement,” which is aptly named H1837. Installed inside the new Hermes Dressage 1837 in its most basic form, the caliber is nevertheless ready to power much more complicated watches, including even those sporting so-called “grand complications”: perpetual calendars and minute repeaters, just to name a few. All they need is just a few fairly simple add-on modules that would be powered by the new caliber.
According to official information, the movement was produced together with Hermes’ long-standing partner Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier (the Swiss-based maker of blank calibers, for example, supplied a self-winding movement for the last year’s Hermes Heure H Tres Grand designed for ladies.) Since you can’t just buy a great movement, re-decorate it, and call it “in-house”, I assume that Hermes has probably acquired a healthy share of the company to technically make it a subsidiary. It was probably a good investment, too, since VMF has vast experience when it comes to creating complex, yet efficient movements.
Comprising 193 parts, beating at standard 28,800 vibrations per hour, and built on 28 jewels, the new base movement features a double-barrel design and is capable of running for a minimum of 50 hours after being fully wound and taken off the wrist.
Although the reliability of the movement is still to pass the test of time, it is a pleasure to note that the H 1837 (and the watch that it powers) has successfully passed a strict Fleurier Quality Foundation (FQF) certification that conducts a series of life-like stress-tests making sure that it won’t break down from a minor hit.
As to the timekeeper itself, it looks like an evolutionary step in developing the Dressage family that was first introduced around 9 years ago.
Featuring even more elegant curves and planes that alternate brushed and polished surfaces, but sporting virtually the same dimensions, the Dressage 1837 has also acquired a slightly thinner bezel giving more real estate for the beautifully decorated dial.
Available both in opaline silver and black, the dial features the traditional stamped vertical striping in its center and is equipped with dauphine-shaped open-worked hands.
Depending on the metal of the case, the hands (as well as the eight hour-markers and three raised Arabic numerals) come either rhodium-plated or in rose gold.
According to the brand’s press release, there will also be another version that comes sans the small-seconds indicator but features a simple calendar.
The Dressage 1837 collection was unveiled during the Baselworld 2012 trade fair. No info on pricing, but it is clear that the version in rose gold will be expensive.
Hermes Dressage 1837 specification
Price: $10,600 (version in stainless steel)
Movement: Automatic, Vaucher Manufacture caliber H1837, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 28
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: H-pattern on bridges, plates and oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 50 hours
Case: Stainless steel or 18-karat rose gold
Bezel shape: Round
Dimensions: 38.40 mm x 40.50 mm
Dial: Opaline silver or Black
Hour markers: Applied
Hands: Open-worked, dauphine-shaped
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Matt Havana alligator strap; matt black alligator leather strap or stainless steel bracelet