Hermès’ New Collection Is The Cutting Edge

by Mario C

While not particularly known for their watchmaking prowess, Hermès makes it continually more difficult for even the snobbiest watch fans to ignore their talent. At this year’s Watches and Wonders, they debut their newest contemporary timepiece, the Cut.

When will they learn?” This question is often asked concerning the ‘fashion watch,’ which is defined as a non-watchmaking brand entering the horological sphere. Typically, these brands only enter it for the sake of slapping their name onto cheaply made quartz toys, learning nothing of the art and science of horology. Parisian leathermakers Hermès are often relegated to the same unfortunate classification. Still, if you were to take a closer look at the work they’re doing, you would know that its understanding of timepieces goes a lot deeper than you might think.

Founded by Thierry Hermès in 1837, the home of the Birkin has proved itself a titan in watchmaking. Their manufacturing history stretches as far back as 1928, officially entering the horological Thunderdome 50 years later with the iconic Arceau collection. Today the Hermès lineup still includes the Arceau, alongside other collections such as the Cape Cod, the delightfully odd Heure H, and the recently added H08, which debuted in 2021 to shock and awe and is in my opinion one of the greatest watches ever made by a non-watch brand. This success is in large part thanks to the efforts of Hermès Horloger Creative Director Philippe Delhotal, who also has experience as the Creative Director of Patek Philippe from 2003-2008.

This year, at Watches and Wonders 2024, Hermès has debuted their latest sporty collection in the Cut. At a petite 36mm, this new offering seems to be marketed primarily towards women, but if you’re a tiny-wristed gentleman such as myself – and/or are not afraid of smaller watches – then you could also wear one well. The silhouette of the Cut, both familiar yet unique, is what Hermès calls ‘a circle within a round shape,’ which I assume is stated to evoke open interpretation. To me, it looks like what would happen if you attacked a Cartier Pebble with a blowtorch. 

This isn’t a slight towards Hermès – it’s a strange yet elegant shape, which makes it suitable for a variety of attires. Whether you wear a dress, suit, or even just a t-shirt, the Cut will be able to follow. Several versions of this timepiece also transform the aesthetic of the watch significantly. Prospective enthusiasts looking for the Hermès Cut are treated to four options: Stainless steel and two-tone steel with 18k rose gold, complete with options for a bezel set with 56 diamonds.  Another unique feature of the Cut is the position of the crown, having departed the 3 o’clock mark and settling between the 1 and 2. As strange as the positioning is, I feel that it will help with the overall look and feel of the watch, offering wearability and versatility whilst keeping the aesthetic distinct from the H08.

This versatility is only elevated by the opaline silver-toned dial, which also has the brand’s signature orange accents. Following the H08’s design language, the Cut also sports lumed Arabic numerals arranged in a circular motion around the dial. The minute track similarly underlines the numerals, scored only by hollow orange circles that the second hand fills with its similarly coloured pip. As for the strap, Hermès isn’t short on choices for the wearer. Of course, steel and two-tone bracelets are standard, but these are interchangeable with a wide array of coloured rubber straps: white, orange, gris perle (pearl grey), gris étain (tin grey), glycine (wisteria), vert criquet (cricket green), bleu jean (denim blue) or capucine (Nasturtium red).

Hermès Cut Collection Steel model with open case back showing manufacture Cal. H1912 movement.

Of course, a good design can only get a brand so far, so unlike most other ‘fashion watches,’ Hermès turns to only the best watchmakers for their movements. Powering the Cut is the manufacture Cal. H1912, which beats at 4Hz (28,800bph) on a 50-hour power reserve. To make the H1912, Hermès has turned to Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, of which they own a 25% stake. If you’re unfamiliar, Vaucher is the company responsible for the manufacture of movements for some brands like Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille and was recently seen partnering with TAG Heuer to develop the recently released Monaco Split Seconds Rattrapante (click here to read the full article)

Final Thoughts

So, with significant heritage, excellent design, an experienced Creative Director and a masterful movement manufacturer in two, it’s particularly difficult to make a case against the legitimacy of Hermès as a watchmaker. This year has only helped to solidify their status as a serious horological force, with the Cut collection releasing as another sporty and contemporary offering in their burgeoning lineup. 

Only those in the know of the watch world know how deadly serious Hermès’ watchmaking division is, so if you’ve read to the end of this article, then welcome to the club! However, if you still don’t know who Hermès are and what their watchmaking brings to the table, then you better figure it out quick – before you get Cut out of the party.

Reference:   Hermès Cut Collection – Steel/Steel Diamonds/Two-Tone/Two-Tone Diamonds

Specification

  • Size: 36mm case diameter
  • Case: Stainless steel/Stainless steel with 56 diamond-set bezel/Stainless steel and 18k rose gold/Stainless steel and 18k rose gold with 56 diamond-set bezel
  • Dial:  Opaline with orange/rose gold accents
  • Crystal: Anti-glare Sapphire, front and case back
  • Water resistance: 100m (10 BAR)
  • Movement:  Automatic manufacture H1912 movement
  • Movement Frequency: 4Hz (28,800 VpH)
  • Power reserve: 60 hours
  • Strap: Interchangeable integrated stainless steel/two-tone stainless steel and 18k rose gold. Also available in white, orange, gris perle (pearl grey), gris étain (tin grey), glycine (wisteria), vert criquet (cricket green), bleu jean (denim blue) or capucine (Nasturtium red) rubber straps with stainless steel pin buckle

Australian Recommended Retail Price: $11,370 AUD (Steel),$10,410 AUD (Steel/Rubber Strap), $21,200 AUD (Steel Diamonds)

International Recommended Retail Price: $15,500 USD (Two-Tone), $9,950 USD (Two-Tone Rubber Strap), $21,900 USD (Two-Tone Diamonds), $16,300 USD (Two-Tone Diamonds Rubber Strap)

Availability: Available now, from https://www.hermes.com/au/en/  and Hermès boutiques (Steel, Steel Diamonds, Steel /Rubber Strap), TBA (Two-Tone, Two-Tone Diamonds, Two-Tone/Rubber Strap)

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