[dropcap size=small]A[/dropcap]s a relatively new entrant on the haute horlogerie scene, Hermes is playing catch-up at a rapid pace. Just last year, it launched its extra-thin series, Slim d’Hermes. It’s a collection defined by a minimal aesthetic that belies years – four to be precise – of development.
Its defining characteristic is, of course, its thinness. The Vaucher manufacture, which is partially owned by Hermes and also produces movements for Parmigiani and Richard Mille, is behind the automatic H1950 movement that measures just 2.6mm high. Using that as a base, Hermes has built upon it to create the Slim d’Hermes Perpetual Calendar, with a movement thickness of 4mm.
Another distinguishing trait of this year-old collection is its unusual font, jointly created by Philippe Delhotal, creative director of La Montre Hermes, and Parisian graphic designer Philippe Apeloig. Famous for typography (you can find his posters in Moma) and inspired by “the human figure in motion”, Apeloig helped to design a charming font that sets the Slim d’Hermes apart from its dress-watch siblings, like the Arceau and Dressage.
The collection features numerous variations, from quartz models to women’s models fitted with and without diamonds, and in varying sizes and materials. This year, Hermes will release midnight-blue and slate-grey dials for the stainless steel versions, offering yet more options for this elegant, everyday watch.
If you can’t afford the time to go on (or don’t have the stomach for) flying expeditions, you can at least enjoy it in spirit by strapping on the Breitling Avenger Bandit. The brand’s beefy line welcomes its third chronograph, this time in satin-brushed titanium for added utility – thanks to its lightness and lack of glare. At 45mm and just 100.65g in weight, this tool watch houses the COSC-certified automatic Breitling 13 calibre, which provides a 4Hz frequency, quarter-second chronograph, seconds subdial and date. These functions can be easily adjusted – even with gloves – thanks to the heavily textured crown and pushers, and will continue to run underwater even at a depth of 300m.
BIGGER AND BETTER
Foregoing the slightly dainty, 38mm case sizes F.P. Journe started with, the independent brand has been slowly updating all its collections to fit in 40 and 42mm cases instead. With the Chronometre Optimum, Quantieme Perpetuel and Octa Lune already enlarged, the latest to be resized is the Octa Divine. The date is now about 50 per cent bigger, while the power-reserve indicator has been simplified and the seconds hand replaced with a seconds disc. Its automatic Calibre 1300.3 provides an impressive power reserve of over five days, thanks to a self-locking ball-bearing system that captures even the slightest movements of the unidirectional rotor for optimal winding. Available in platinum or rose gold.
With 225 years of watchmaking under its belt, Girard-Perregaux celebrates its most classic line – the 1966 – with something a little more modern. Like all watches in this family, the 1966 Skeleton is round, simple and slim. Unlike many of its siblings, however, the Skeleton uses the new Calibre GP- 1800, which fills up the 38mm case with its 30mm size much better than the 25.6mm GP-3300 could have.
It’s also the first watch with this movement to lack a central seconds hand and, instead, has a small seconds at 10 o’clock. The skeletonisation, which extends to the rotor as well, is beautiful but more contemporary than what you’d expect from a 1966, and is finished with chamfered edges, and satin and brushed finishing.