by Jerry ElengicalSep 18, 2021
This year's digital edition of Watches and Wonders in Geneva (April 7 – 13, 2021) saw in attendance some 30 luxury watch giants such as Hublot, Audemars Piguet and A. Lange & Söhne display their powerful new designs and collections. French luxury brand Hermès unveiled its new, H08 watch collection for men that embodies “spirit, momentum and movement", in a live scenography inside Bâtiment des Forces Motrices. This 19th century industrial space (French for 'power plant building') hosted live streaming presentations of Hermès Horloger’s new creations throughout the international annual fair for the world’s extravagant watches.
The official press statement by Hermès describes the new collection like this - “Past, present and future meet and merge in a quintessential, contemporary and perennial object. At once serious and sensual, robust and delicate, matt and glossy, it is defined by its inherently varied, multifaceted nature – just like the Hermès man himself".
Echoing its unique vision of time, Hermès invited and collaborated with French artists Clément Vieille and Pierre Pauze to create said scenography, titled 'The Texture of Time', which comprised sculptures, designed lighting, videos, and works that drew from the new H08 watches. The artists are both graduates of the Le Fresnoy National Studio for Contemporary Arts and designed the installations to unite science and horology with artistic spirit in the luminous and expansive hall, merging the “tensegrity” architectural concept with digital technology and echoing the tangible and symbolic essence of ‘time’.
Vieille’s ‘tensegrity’ kinetic structure revolves ingeniously on the balance of forces. A massive display hosts thousands of translucent structures around a glowing well of light, poetically retracing the genesis of the H08 watch design. An elemental geometric piece, set in motion via waves, water and sand, Pauze’s piece too works with time and light as mediums, motivated by his love for quantum physics. Resonating with the cycles of natural elements, it also explores H08’s design and watchmaking process, producing powerfully mesmerising images and lines that outline both tension and compression.
According to the artists, the scenes, described as “organic and mechanical fluidity”, aimed to stray from the usual display that makes the product design the hero, and instead, focuses on its creative and production process, where the experience and art take centerstage.
“The new Hermès H08 line offers three large cushion-shaped models with a screw-down crown. The first features a graphene-filled composite case, topped by a satin-brushed and polished ceramic bezel. Its black gold-coated dial is punctuated by a minutes track, luminescent Arabic numerals, and black nickel-coated hands displaying the hours, minutes, central seconds, and date at half-past four. It is paired with a black rubber strap secured by a titanium butterfly clasp. Two other variants – the first in matt black DLC-coated titanium and the second in satin-brushed titanium – frame a black nickel-coated dial and are teamed with a blue or black webbing band, or a black or orange rubber strap. In addition to its toughness and comfort, the woven strap specially developed for the Hermès H08 watch epitomises a style that is as sporty as it is sophisticated, entirely consistent with the world of Hermès menswear,” says Laurent Dordet, CEO, Hermès Horloger.
“The enigmatic name of the Hermès H08 watch hints at graphics, mathematics and metaphysics. The distinctively original font of the numerals chimes with the object, including a 0 and an 8 whose forms evoke that of the case. The 0 numeral embodies emptiness, while the horizontal figure 8 symbolises infinity. Like a journey between nothing and everything. As if echoing the mystery and depth of time,” he continues.