Like many brands with a strong presence in sectors outside watches (think jewellery or fashion), Hermes might not be the first name to come to mind when one contemplates timepieces. However, the luxury house has slowly but surely won over many watch enthusiasts with distinctive creations such as the Arceau L’heure de la Lune moon phase watch (with its dual moon phase indicator) or the Arceau Temps Suspendu (which freezes time; at the push of a button, the hour and minute hands go to 12 o’lock and the date hand “disappears”).
Amid the hustle and bustle of the global digital watch fair Watches and Wonders, Hermes has launched a new addition to its timepiece family. The new cushion-shaped timepiece was apparently designed by both the Hermes men’s universe design team in Paris and its watch division in Switzerland, giving rise to a distinctive look and font.
Mixing straight lines and curves, the H08’s font reflects its form. True to Hermes’ creative ethos that often spills over into the abstract, the watch’s press notes have this to say about its name: “The 0 numeral emphasises emptiness, while the horizontal 8 symbolises infinity.”
Its deeper meaning aside, the H08 is a watch that you should consider if you’re on the hunt for a daily timepiece. In a nutshell, here’s why: It is light (more on that in a while), has a highly wearable case size of 39mm by 39mm, has a handsomely distinctive font, comes on a rubber strap or bracelet (no sweat-damaged leather straps) and has a self-winding manufacture movement. And because it is meant for real life – yet isn’t saddled with illusions that anyone is wearing it to dive – it has a depth rating of 100m, which means it can easily stand up to light splashing.
The H08 comes in three case variants: Graphene composite, matte black DLC-coated titanium or satin-brushed titanium. Because we like to play favourites, our pick is hands down the (almost) all-black version in a graphene composite. Graphene is a high-tech, ultra-lightweight carbon allotrope that, to our knowledge, has only been used by Richard Mille in watchmaking.
We might describe it as all-black, but thanks to different finishes and materials, the graphene H08 has a palette that is anything but one-dimensional. Lightweight while retaining a certain presence, the matte black graphene case is nicely complemented by the sunburst, brushed ceramic bezel. On the black gold-coated dial, nickel-coated and lumed Arabic numerals and a satin-brushed minutes ring form a tastefully contrasting monochromatic mix. The bright orange tip of the seconds hand adds a bold hit of colour.
To nitpick a little, we aren’t fans of the date window between 4 and 5 o’clock, but hey, there are bigger sins, and at least the date’s background colour isn’t a stark white (the horror!). If you are looking for a new everyday timepiece and/or you are sick of waiting for one of those hot steel models, the H08 is a solid option, in all its grounded glory between emptiness and infinity.
The Hermes H08 in graphene composite with a rubber strap retails for S$13,000. It is also available in satin-brushed titanium (S$7,900 on rubber strap, S$8,800 on titanium bracelet) or satin-brushed titanium with a matte-black DLC coating (S$8,300 on rubber strap).