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Baselworld 2017: Hermès, the whimsical poet

Anna Wu-Chauvineau
Le 27 March 2017
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Baselworld 2017. A serious playground for the serious players of the watch world. There’s no doubt about that. Major Leaguers like Rolex, Omega, Seiko, Tudor and so on of course, but also multi-product luxury brands such as Hermès whose watches manage to surprise us at every Baselworld for the last few years. And this year is no exception.

Baselworld 2017: New Slim d’Hermès L’heure impatiente

Like my grandpa always said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The same goes for watches, and particularly successful collections like Slim d’Hermès. It was love at first sight two years ago at Baselworld 2015. Unforgettable memories… 

Slim d'Hermès L'Heure impatiente - Baselworld 2017

For this year’s Baselworld 2017, the luxury powerhouse has released a new model from the same line, Slim d’Hermès L’heure impatiente. We can easily see the resemblance to it’s little sister by certain features such as the numeral markers around the dial in that delicious Hermès font, and the overall simplicity and clarity of the dial. Details we’re very fond of…

In terms of technical features, we’re looking at a sensible case size at a diameter of 40.5mm. The model echoes that of previous ones and exists only in rose gold, elegantly paired with a matt blue alligator strap. A self-winding Hermès-manufactured movement H1912 with a decent power reserve of 42 hours completes the ensemble.

Now the real highlight of the piece is the new complication poetically named “L’heure impatiente,” literally meaning “impatient hour” in French, has a special way to brighten up the wearer’s day. A poetic image right? But not only. Allow me to elaborate…

Slim d'Hermès L'Heure impatiente - Baselworld 2017

Imagine it’s the end of a very busy week, a bit like us at the moment here at Baselworld, and you have a yachting cruise just before sunset with some close friends. Do you like the sound of that? Well let me tell you, so do we, so do we…

“L’heure impatiente” allows you to set the time of such an awaited event, happening in less than 12 hours. The last 60 minutes prior to the auspicious occasion can be followed at 6 o’clock. Can you feel your sense of expectation rise during this final wait? Isn’t it painfully sweet? Don’t worry, this is completely normal and completely planned by Hermès. Clever little devils.

The end of this bittersweet suffering is announced by a deep beautiful ring, like divine music sung from the angels above.

Price: 35,000 CHF

Baselworld 2017: New Cape Cod

New dials

You should be quite familiar with this emblematic piece from the Cape Cod line and its famous “square in a rectangle” dial designed by Henri d’Origny in 1991. Other than connotations to boating and travel, we can see the direct inspiration the designer has taken from the beloved world of horses and horse riding with the anchor-chain link, a homage to its founding father Thierry Hermès.

Reminder: The TGM Manufacture model houses a self-winding Hermès-manufactured mechanical movement, the H1912, whereas the other versions of the line work on a Swiss Quartz movement. All models have a date display at 3 o’clock, except for the TGM Manufacture who indicates it at a window at 6 o’clock.

Hermès - Cape Cod - Baselworld 2017

There is also a wide offer of colours available for this 33mm by 33mm square dial. Blue, anthracite, black…and this year, lacquered warm shades of red and brown with just a hint of shimmer for that extra Hermès touch.

New straps

And it doesn’t stop there. Does the leather double tour strap ring any bells? I’m sure it does as it’s the Cape Cod strap par excellence, perfectly embodying the attention for style, timelessness and quality that make the DNA of this illustrious brand. The choice of leather straps is quite impressive. You really get the feeling that the brand has made it a point to offer their clients high-quality and diversified choices. Choices to help find the special timepiece that will become an extension of their personality, their style, their self.

The house’s mastery in leather craftsmanship is exhibited here through a parade of variations including: alligator or Barénia calfskin, a two-tone calfskin strap beautifully combining Malta blue with Hermès red or étoupe. All sporting the famous “saddle-stitching,” another nod to the equestrian world.

Hermès - Cape Cod - Bracelet de force - Baselworld 2017

One of our favourite straps from the collection is the very cool Bracelet de Force, a military-style cuff leather strap, directly inspired from war times when soldiers needed a more than durable and resistant strap against the daily wear and tear of military life, certainly, but mostly to tolerate intensive body sweat during these difficult times.

Our Take

Going up against the serious players of Baselworld, Hermès has found a delightful way to differentiate themselves from the rest: brighten up the the pragmatic and functional with creative touches of fun. The timepieces illustrate the think outside the box vision of the brand, all the while playing with poetic or artistic messages…and quite sincerely, it’s a pleasure to see.

I’ll admit, sometimes the mechanical or stylistic designs produced by the brand are more quirky and amusing than absolutely necessary for survival, but it’s completely justified. Not only does Hermès see life as a playground, it strives to inspire us into thinking the same way through their timepieces.

Who would’ve thought that this whimsical positivity could be so tempting?