The new Slim d’Hermes automatic wristwatch seems to target those iconic Piaget ultra-thin wrist watches that the competing Swiss-based brand seems to be so proud of. Of course, thinness is not the timekeeper’s main selling point. The device also offers a very well-balanced, solid design that looks like a serious improvement on their previous attempts, as well as a new self-winding mechanism with 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 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, seems to follow the trail set by their 2012 Dressage 1837 model, by takes it further still with a lot more subtle, graphic 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 is recessed so that the hour hand seems to hover on 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
The Swiss-based branch of the French fashion brand is known for its ultra-slim wristwatches and this new specimen is no exception here. It is powered by a really thin Caliber H1950 that features micro-rotor design. Measuring just 2.6 millimeters thick (just over one tenth of an inch), it seems to be based on the well-known Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier Caliber 5300 base movement. The fact that Hermes owns 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, which 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 of the mechanism 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).
Well, 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 very slim. Besides the official diameter of 39.5 millimeters, the brand wouldn’t give us data about exact thickness of the piece, but it is clearly almost as thin as a razor (figuratively speaking, of course).
Although the case is rather plain it is not a problem here, since its small size allows it to stay quite 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, may be 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 was offered at a price of €6000 for a version in steel and €13,400 for the one in rose gold. Looks like than adequate pricing for the piece of this level of refinement.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Slim d’Hermes Automatic watch 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, perlage, polished screw heads, branded rotor
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Case material: Stainless steel / 18-carat Rose gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 39.50 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
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-carat rose gold or 316L stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire, antireflective