With its round case featuring stirrup-like asymmetrical lugs, the Arceau watch designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978 radiates a timeless, understated and distinctive allure. Appearing in a white gold case set with 82 diamonds framing an engraved and hand-painted porcelain dial, the Hermès Arceau Harnais Français Remix limited-edition timepiece highlights the expertise and creativity of Hermès Horloger.
The dial motif, composed of a pair of splendidly harnessed horses, echoes the central element of the “Harnais Français Remix” silk scarf, originally designed by Hugo Grygkar, the prolific in-house designer from the 1940s to 1959. The artist was inspired by a work kept in the private collection of Émile Hermès: a team of horses richly caparisoned and topped with multi-colored feathers, designed by two young 19th century architects – Fontaine and Percier – were commissioned to design a coach for the coronation of Napoleon I in 1804.
Transposed to the modest dimensions of the Arceau watch dial, this equestrian depiction requires almost a month of meticulous craftsmanship. The prof ile of the horses is hand-engraved on bisque (unglazed) Limoges porcelain. The dainty matte appearance of the material corresponds to the production stage preceding enamelling, a process that makes the porcelain both smooth and shiny. Here, the different colors are applied directly to this raw material with its unique rendering. The delicate successive applications of color are interspersed with successive and precise firings in the kiln in order to fix and enhance the pigments.
Produced in a limited and numbered series of 24, the Hermès Arceau Harnais Français Remix watch is driven by the H1912 mechanical self-winding movement, which, like the gem-set gold case and raspberry alligator strap, is crafted in the Hermès Horloger workshops.