[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]hen the Apple Watch was announced last year, few, if any, traditional watchmakers felt that it would have an impact on their core mechanical-timepiece business. None predicted this month’s most talked-about ticker, the Apple Watch Hermes.

This surprise partnership adds three signature Hermes strap styles – the Single Tour, Double Tour and Cuff – to the Apple Watch collection, with a custom skin for the display that emulates the dials of Hermes’ Clipper, Cape Cod and Espace models.

But then again, fans of the most sought-after French brand know better than to be shocked, for the 178-year-old leather-goods maker has always had an irreverent take on luxury.

Takes Hermes’ mechanical watches, for example. While its peers were busy emulating other manufactures by cramming in complications like chronographs and annual calendars, Hermes came up with a button that literally freezes the hands of time. This function of its Le Temps Suspendu wristwatch is hardly the most practical, but it perfectly encapsulates the French house’s idea of luxury: being able to forget the passage of time and indulge in a special moment.

The Apple Watch Hermes, then, could be a call to luxury brands to take themselves less seriously in an increasingly digital world, without sacrificing the craftsmanship they stand for. Tradition and technology don’t have to form an inconvenient marriage.


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