The new version of Hermes’ iconic Arceu automatic dress watch brings you a very unusual dial decoration technique that makes engraved mother-of-pearl, guilloched gold and Grand Feu enamel dials look like kid’s toys. The gorgeous Hermes Arceau Marqueterie de Paille has its dial decorated with colored rye straw that mimics the classic chevron (ref. 038058WW00) and square (ref. 038059WW00) patterns from ties that were made by Hermes way back in 1980s.
Although rye straw is usually associated with hand-made baskets, hats, dolls and all sort of hand-made items that are usually associated with naive, rustic arts, there is a particular technique used by French artisans to decorate much finer objects of art. The process is painstaking and demands a lot of patience and skill (as well as physical strength from the artisan), but the result is more than rewarding.
Well, you can see on the photos below that the dials that sport elegant combinations of black and different shades of blue look surprisingly refined, blending nicely with polished white gold of the bodies and, at the same time, offering good contrast for the leaf-shaped hour and minute hands that are, too, crafted from polished white gold. It is that rare instance when as simple combination of materials as rye straw and some dye look a lot more impressive than the most complex guilloche motif that Swiss and German watchmakers are so proud of.
Equipped with the signature Hermes stirrup style lugs, the body of the watch is only 41 millimeters in diameter and is also quite slim thanks for the use of the Caliber H1928 automatic movement that was produced by the Swiss-based Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier exclusively for Hermes.
Less than 26 millimeters in diameter and only 3.5 millimeters thick, the movement comprises 220 parts and offers more than adequate 55 hours of guaranteed power reserve that comes courtesy of the series-coupled twin barrels that store all the energy coming from its white gold oscillating weight.
As the rest of the models from the current Arceau range, the new Hermes Arceau Marqueterie de Paille comes equipped with a rather long setting crown that some people might not like since it clearly has a potential bite into the back of one’s palm when he is the least to expect it. Besides this small problem, this is a great watch and people like yours truly can only hope that one day it will be released in a less expensive (but also less flashy) stainless steel.
For the purposes of this brief review, I give this collection four point five stars out of five.
See also: Hermes Arceau Temps Suspendu
Hermes Arceau Marqueterie de Paille Automatic watch (refs. 038058WW00 and 038059WW00) specification
Price: CHF 105,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber H 1928, produced by Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier for Hermes, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 32
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 55 hours
Movement decoration: White gold oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes
Case material: 18-carat white gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 41.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Colored rye straw
Hour markers: None
Hands: White gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Matt indigo blue alligator strap with steel buckle
Case back: Sapphire