< CEO Speak >
At Hermès, they like to make their watches playful and wonderfully surprising , finds out Mitrajit Bhattacharya in a rendezvous with Luc Perramond, CEO of Hermès
How do you like your new pavilion at BaselWorld?
I was really moved because it’s a beautiful piece of architecture, and it’s completely in sync with Hermès’ values which are organic, close to nature, fluid, creative, unexpected, transparent and light. The architecture is completely in line with our style. This is twice the size of our previous stand. We have 1,200sq m and it’s not only organic and beautiful but is also functional. We partnered with Japanese architect, Toyo Ito, to develop this conceptual stand-alone pavilion. We have taken an environmentally aware approach to create a wood structure with free breathing space.
We saw the fantastic Time Suspended watch in China. Now, we hear that you plan to give us the reverse second…
After a long time, we received great success. However, many people, especially the ladies, came to us saying that they would love a smaller watch because this watch was quite large with a 43mm dial. So, we thought of a timeless watch with a 38mm dial, perfect for anyone with a smaller wrist. The new Arceau Le temps suspendu watch also provides a chance to experience a break, an interlude over which time has no hold. We changed the display and dropped the calendar in this watch. Later, to upgrade the watch, we decided to go for reverse second: it’s the only indicator to show the time even when the watch is suspended. It shares the same concept of the earlier model but looks very different. Its 38mm diameter case features a pushbutton that may be pressed to bring the hour and minute hands to a halt at about 12o’clock. Protected by two patents, one for its architecture and the other for the play-reducing gear teeth—the module is an addition to the Manufacture Calibre H1912. The running time and suspended time phases are coordinated by two synchronised column wheels: one driving the hours and the other the minutes. This 360° retrograde hour and minute mechanism makes time disappear without stopping the movement. Its uninterrupted running is displayed on the movement operating indicator.
Does it also make the watch more playful?
Yes, we want to be playful. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. It may be initially shocking to see the hand going backwards in 24 seconds but then, it makes you think about it. It shows that there is life in the movement and that even when you suspend time, there continues to be life in the movement. To mark the 35th anniversary of our iconic Hermès Arceau model, we welcome a horological complication displaying the moon phases. Interpreted in a more feminine version with a 38mm diameter, the Arceau Petite Lune reveals a round steel case featuring asymmetrical lugs evoking the shape and curve of a stirrup— a motif that has become a signature of the Maison Hermès. This collection comprises two versions with a shimmering white or black mother-of- pearl.
How is this year going to be for the luxury industry?
This year is going to be a year of consolidation in the luxury industry, with moderate growth, after a crazy year of rapid growth.