Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur: Time travel around the world (and a standout star at Watches And Wonders 2022)

For many in the watch world, the fairly unassuming Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur – with no tourbillon, no chimes and nothing too crazy at first sight – has become the watch of the fair at Watches and Wonders 2022. In fact, in our post-show round table, it was the “best in show” for at least half of our team on site.

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur in stainless steel (photo courtesy Alex Teuscher)

The Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is many things, but above all it reveals the playfulness of the complications that Hermès has cultivated over the last decade. And yet it remains extremely useful on a daily basis.

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur (photo courtesy of Hermès/Marius W. Hansen)

The Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is a practical world time complication with a very smart execution that makes it incredibly simple to use and read. And the Voyageur is both a universal watch expressed in a poetic way, in perfect harmony with the general theme of Hermès for 2022, which is the “journey” (as in discovery), and the theme of La Montre Hermès 2022, which is “lightness.”

The wearer simply uses the pusher to rotate the hour/minute sub-dial around the periphery of the dial to the selected city to display local time anywhere in the world. The hands of the movable sub-dial automatically adjust to the position the sub-dial is pointing to with a small red marker.

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur indicating local time in the New York time zone (photo courtesy of Hermès/Joel Von Allmen)

This mobile indicator is driven by a 122-component module created by Jean-François Mojon and his team at chronode, following his Arceau L’Heure de la Lune idea, which featured twin moons rotating around the dial. This “travel time” module measures 32.7 mm in diameter and only 4.4 mm in height. “But what’s important is the result at the end,” Mojon commented on the roughly three years it took to complete this creation, which is much more complicated than it looks.

In fact, it looks and feels so light that it appears to lift off the dial, hovering above the world map as it travels. The fact that we don’t see any mechanics moving the sub-dial or even screws holding it in place is like magic, keeping the aesthetic simple.

In a way, it’s magic: Mojon didn’t use a spring to move the sub-dial; the satellite moves using the force created by the wearer pressing the button. Which means that little or no energy is taken out of the movement. Mojon says that only the minutes come from the base movement; the rest comes from the sub-dial module.

The automatic caliber H1837 from Hermès equips the Arceau Le Temps Voyageur

The base of the movement is a Manufacture Hermès automatic H1837 made by Vaucher (Hermès owns 25% of Vaucher).

The Voyageur also displays the home time, in a display in an aperture at 12 o’clock.

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur in blue and black (photo courtesy Alex Teuscher)

The Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is unlimited and comes in two executions and two sizes: a 41mm platinum case with a matte black DLC-treated titanium bezel and a 38mm steel iteration. Both are incredibly wearable and comfortable, even on small wrists like mine.

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur in a 41mm case on the author’s (small) wrist

The playful elements of Hermès

But the best thing is that it’s a pleasure to watch the sub-dial orbit around the watch and a pleasure to press the button that makes it work. It’s almost a visceral experience.

The idea for the “floating” secondary disc came from the creative director of La Montre Hermès, Philippe Delhotal, who asked Mojon for “travel time”. Mojon came up with the idea of ​​the satellite as an adapted “extension” of the Arceau L’Heure de la Lune.

“It really is a team effort between Hermès and our team,” commented Mojon. “It’s the best way.”

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur (photo courtesy Alex Teuscher)

The traveling satellite with a dial orbits the continents and oceans belonging to a fantasy map imagined by Jérôme Colliard for the Hermès silk square “Planisphere of an equestrian world”: it is a “map of an equestrian world” according to the imagination of the artist.

Delhotal’s idea for this watch was to project an idea of ​​depth, so the design used some of the imaginary continents and seas from Colliard’s map. Delhotal offers 20 new dials for Hermès every year based on the ideas of existing scarves in the brand’s iconic collection (if there ever was a collection of iconic scarves, this is it!). These dials are produced in Hermès’ own dial factory, Natéber SA.

Delhotal had the idea of ​​using the “Planisphere of an equestrian world” while browsing the company’s archives for inspiration. The imaginary universe created by Colliard being entirely equestrian, it goes perfectly with the Arceau case, whose lugs were designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978 and inspired by stirrups. This case is the quintessence of the Hermès style with its playful and asymmetrical look.

The whole thing is just marvelously coherent and consistent, naturally completely in Hermès fashion. (If I was a Mandalorian in the star wars universe, I could say “that’s the way” at this point. . .)

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur (photo courtesy Alex Teuscher)

Transferred to the watch, one has to look closely to see that the map isn’t really the world as we know it but is instead steeped in imaginary detail. And the laser-engraved electroplated dial is also quite technical.

In the version with a platinum case and matt black DLC-treated titanium bezel, the dial is blackish with light gray pad-printed continent names and contours, while the stainless steel version has a blue dial and elements. The oceans are laser-engraved and then lacquered, while the lines of longitude and latitude are pad-printed in anthracite gray or blue depending on the version of the watch.

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur (photo courtesy Alex Teuscher)

The local time sub-dial has a black gold lacquer gradient and silver powder coated Arabic numerals on the black watch and a blue lacquer gradient and white numerals on the blue watch.

The city ring with 24 places is sandblasted black on the black watch and satin blue on the blue one. Place names are printed in silver powder or white, respectively. The local time display is “sunburst” black or blue. The hands are in black gold (black watch) or rhodium-plated (blue watch) and coated with Super-LumiNova for excellent readability.

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur (photo courtesy of Hermès/Marius W. Hansen)

An almost bewildering “detail”: the price

Yes, it’s awkward to talk about price. And we all know that if you have to ask for the price, you probably can’t afford it.

But for my money, that’s – again – quite a bit of fine watchmaking priced at €18,000 (steel) or €23,000 (platinum/titanium).

“Because we really want to get our money’s worth and avoid any hint of arrogance,” La Montre Hermès CEO Laurent Dordet told me about it. “We certainly want to avoid this because we believe that we have everything to prove in our products every year and we don’t want to be suspected of arrogance in terms of price.”

Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur in blue and black

And of course, let’s not forget the Hermès alligator strap in graphite alligator, black Barénia, or slate gray calfskin for the black watch or in sapphire blue alligator or navy blue calfskin for the blue watch like the icing on the cake of a such celestial cake.

And watch out for a surprise third color variation that will be launched towards the end of the year!

In brief Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur
Case: 41 mm (platinum/titanium) or 38 mm (steel)
Movement: Hermès Caliber H1837 automatic with Chronode module; Frequency 4Hz/28,800vph
Functions: hours, minutes; universal time, second time zone
Price: €18,000 (steel) or €23,000 (platinum/titanium)
Launch: November 2022

You can also enjoy:

Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune: And Pegasus Flies On The Moon

Hermès takes flight with the Arceau Toucan De Paradis

Hermès Arceau Les Trois Grâces: A Giraffe In A Savanna The Size Of A Dial

New Hermès HO8: a square version of the casual sports watch

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