First created in 1963 by Françoise Faconnet, the astrogeology- inspired scarf design was later reinterpreted by Cyrille Diatkine in 2012, who described the pattern as “orderly chaos”, reflecting an artistic view of the flow and acceleration of time.
Called the Hermès Arceau Astrologie Nouvelle, the limited edition watch’s dial is framed by a 41mm white gold case set with tulipwood – a tree native to North America which is known for its fine and firm grain, as well as a colour that evolves from white to dark blue.
To recreate the design for the dial, Hermès artisans applied the specialised art of wood marquetry, with the whole process taking three weeks of painstaking work by expert artisans, starting with cutting tiny pieces of tulipwood and then assembling them together onto the dial like a puzzle. The dial is then sent for sanding and varnishing.
Though, several high-end watchmakers like Cartier, Piaget, and Patek Philippe, have used this technique, the new Arceau timepiece marks the first time that Hermès has worked with the ancient craft.
“Over the years, we have had the opportunity to meet talented craftswomen and craftsmen to express the creativity of the house,” says Philippe Delhotal, creative director of Hermès Horloger.
“Techniques such as enamel and engraving are commonly used, but crystal, leather, straw and wood marquetry are rarely applied on a small scale. This occasion marks the first time we’ve used wood marquetry, where each element is meticulously cut, handled and assembled on the dial.”
The Hermès Arceau Astrologie Nouvelle is limited to eight pieces, each priced at $54,900.