The 2015 Slim d’Hermes targets those iconic Piaget ultra-thin wristwatches that the competing brand is so proud of. Yet, the thinness is not the timekeeper’s main selling point. The device offers a well-balanced, solid design that is a serious improvement on their previous attempts, as well as a new self-winding mechanism with a micro-rotor design that could technically even be called ‘in-house’.
Presented back in March during the recent Baselworld 2015 trade show, the new Slim d’Hermes will be sold in two versions: in an expensive rose gold casing and (I am sure, you will like) in a lot more appealing (and also significantly more affordable) stainless steel body.
Although besides the obsession with the Latin letter “H”, Hermes hardly has a design language of its own, the brand has a number of easily recognizable collections that speak volumes about how seriously the fashion house takes the process of making their products.
This new model, for example, follows the trail set by their 2012 Dressage 1837 model, but takes it further still with a lot more subtle, ‘monochromatic’ approach that was possibly inspired by Bauhaus philosophy.
If you take a moment or two to admire the deceptively simple dial, you will see that it is, after all, not that simple.
The chapter ring with its set of eleven Arabic numerals uses a typeface exclusively designed for the brand by Philippe Apeloig, a specialist in typography who worked with the Louvre and a number of other major clients.
The main dial with its minute track and eleven nicely accented black hour markers are recessed so that the hour hand hovers at just about the same altitude over its surface as the minute hand flies over the chapter ring. The small seconds sub-dial is recessed further yet giving the whole works a nice three-dimensional look that is as subtle as it is impressive.
In all honesty, I can’t find any flaw here. I could complain a bit about the lack of lume, but in this particular case, it is something similar to whining about the lack of Vibram outsoles on a pair of hand-made Italian shoes.
Mechanism & Case
Many connoisseurs love the Swiss-based branch of the French fashion brand for its ultra-slim wristwatches and this new specimen is no exception here. The impressive thinness of the case comes courtesy of the ultra-thin Caliber H1950 that features a micro-rotor design. Measuring just 2.6 millimeters thick (just over one-tenth of an inch), it is probably based on the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier Caliber 5300 base movement. The fact that Hermes owns a 25 percent stake in the Manufacture makes my guess even more plausible. Well, at least I think so.
Painstakingly assembled and meticulously decorated even in its “plain” form (when it was introduced back in late 2011, the movement was offered to third-party watchmakers at an impressive CHF 1200. This is nothing to sneeze at if you consider the average price of a mass-produced ETA caliber, so at least some serious decoration was rightfully expected from a caliber of this, um, caliber). This version was further personalized with Hermes’ signature “H” pattern that covers all of its bridges and even the micro-rotor itself (the rest is, of course, the usual ‘perlage’ aka ‘circular graining).
It is that rare example when a sapphire back on a timepiece fully justifies its purpose: watching this beautiful piece of fine machinery is a pleasure of its own.
As I have already stated, the case is slim. Besides the official diameter of 39.5 millimeters, the brand wouldn’t give us data about the exact thickness of the piece, but it is almost as thin as a razor (figuratively speaking, of course).
Although the case is plain it is not a problem here since its small size allows it to stay comfortably on the flat portion of your wrist. The horns are nicely curved though, making wearing it on a normal wrist even comfier yet.
The only problem here, as it is often the case with ultra-slim watches, maybe the setting/winding crown: designed to look as proportional to the body as possible, it may be a bit too small to operate to persons with thicker fingers. Thankfully, the notching on this part is well articulated partially mitigating the problem.
At the time of writing this review, the watch sported a relatively low price of €6000 for a version in steel and €13,400 for the one in rose gold. While many will find the sticker price a bit overwhelming, it is more than adequate for a piece of this level of refinement.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Slim d’Hermes Automatic specification
Price: €6000 (stainless steel) / €13,400 (rose gold)
Movement: Caliber H1950, 2.6 mm thin, Swiss Made
Movement winding: Automatic, micro-rotor
Number of jewels: 29
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: Engraved “H” pattern, circular-graining, polished screw heads, branded rotor
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Case: Stainless steel / 18-karat Rose gold
Size: 39.50 mm
Dial: Opaline silvered
Numerals: Arabic, stylized
Hour markers: Black
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Matte Havana or matte black alligator leather strap with buckle in 18-karat rose gold or 316L stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Sapphire, antireflective