Hermès knows too well that if it has to make an impression among watch aficionados preoccupied with traditional watchmaking maisons, things have to done differently. . And that’s exactly what Hermès did with the Arceau L’Heure de la Lune in 2019, a timepiece with an unusual timekeeping and moon-phase display. This year, the brand offers the model up in five all-new dials: three sculpted from different types of meteorite — lunar, Martian, and Black Sahara — as well as one each in lapis lazuli and blue pearl stone.
The watch case is made either in platinum, rose gold, or white gold, depending on the kind of material it uses for the dial. The watch’s 43 mm case frames a dial made up on one the above-mentioned meteorite types and is inlaid with two mother-of-pearl moons. The time and date are displayed separately on two satellite sub-dials, which float above two mother-of-pearl moons, one each for the northern and southern hemispheres.
The southern lunar view is on the top of the dial at 12 o’clock, the northern view on the bottom at 6 o’clock, an unusual arrangement that allows the satellite subdials to rotate clockwise, covering and uncovering both lunar disks in tune with the actual phases of the moon, completing a sweep around the dial every 59 days.
The in-houuse movement, Hermès Caliber H1837 has an a proprietary, patent-pending module developed by Jean-Francois Mojon, a complication specialist who has collaborated with a host of top watch brands, including MB&F and Harry Winston. It consists of 117 polished and bead-blasted components and measures just 4.2 mm thick, and incorporates seamlessly into the H1837 self-winding movement, whose high-horology decorations include a circular grained and snailed baseplate, satin-brushed bridges and a rotor engraved with the Hermès “H” pattern.
Such decorative detailing also extends to the dial, whose signature sloping-font Arabic numerals are swept over by blued steel hands, and whose moon disks each feature a special surface decoration. The southern moon features a portrayal of the mythological winged horse Pegasus (horses, of course, being a frequent Hermès motif since its early days as a saddlemaker), inspired by the Pleine Lune (Full Moon) works of artist Dmitri Rybaltchenko; the northern moon has a transfer illustration depicting a realistic view of the lunar surface.
The Arceau case attaches via its familiar stirrup-inspired lugs to a matte-surface alligator strap, color-coordinated with each dial’s eye-catching tones and fastening to the wrist with a pin buckle in the same material as the case. The lapis lazuli (with rose gold case) and blue pearl stone dial (with white gold case) versions of the Hermès Arceau L’Heure de la Lune are both priced at $33,200. All three meteorite-dial editions are limited editions: the model in white gold with lunar meteorite dial is limited to 36 pieces at $43,000; the white-gold model with Black Sahara meteorite dial, also 36 pieces, is $54,000; the watch with the Mars meteorite dial comes in a platinum case and is limited to only two pieces, price available upon request.