Hermès Slim d’Hermès Hands-on with a slim, time-only automatic wristwatch from the house of Hermès. by Ben HodgesFebruary 29, 2020 MIN READHermès Slim d’Hermès
Dress watches are on the rise. While sports watches from the likes of Tudor, Omega and Seiko are perpetually generating interest, bubbling away in the background is a resurgence of clean and classic watches. Take, for example, this Longines 1946. As paired back as a watch can be, yet our Fratello readers flocked to learn more. To broaden our coverage of dress watches, I looked to none other than the masters of elegantly refined design: Hermès.
There is a stigma surrounding luxury fashion brands that turn their hand to traditional watchmaking. It’s not without virtue, however. For the uninitiated, it is a reasonable assumption that a luxury brand’s quality is consistent across all products. Armani suits, for example, outpunch the company’s smartwatch offerings. But we are talking about Hermès here, who apply a distinct level of commitment to each collection — with high-end watches being no different.
Hermès Slim d’Hermès
In 2015, the Slim d’Hermès was introduced, consisting of thin, time-only automatic dress watches. Later included in the range were GMT and perpetual calendar complications. I felt the time-only model was best suited for an in-depth look thanks to the purity of the dial and the slim 9.0mm profile. On first impressions, you may find it challenging to identify a distinguishable feature. But a closer look will yield flourishes that force you to rethink functional design.
Our brains naturally piece shapes into patterns…
On the face of it, you could describe the numerals as “stencil” shaped. That would generally cover that aspect. But keen eyes may notice something more intellectual. The markers are a series of distinct shapes arranged to appear as numbers. Single-out the “4”. It is unmistakably a 4, but in reality, it is a broken V-shape line and a right-angle line. Similarly, the “8” is a small circle alongside a larger circle. Font specialist, Philippe Apeloig designed the numerals exclusively for the Slim d’Hermès. Exploiting our brains ability for Core object recognition, we naturally piece the shapes into a pattern, that from a distance, seem unbroken.
The Clean Dial
The hands seem impossibly thin at first. That’s until you notice a slither of frosted, white infill on half of the polished steel minute and hour hands. However, the white coating is not luminescent. The circular graining on the subsidiary seconds sub-dial is so fine it is almost imperceptible. But moving the watch in the light, it is clear there is a contrast for each sector, adding depth. However, for legibility, eight minute markers between minute 26 and minute 34, are missing. During this period, eight of the nine elapsed minute cannot be accurately deduced (minute 30 can be deduced by the simplified 6 o’clock marker).
The Slim Movement
Powering the Slim d’Hermès is the 2.6mm tall Hermès H1950. Based on the Vaucher 5401 developed by Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, the H1950 features automatic winding provided by the micro-rotor. Vaucher produces movements for Parmigiani and Richard Mille, and Hermès have a percentage stake in the manufacture. Visible from the flat sapphire case-back is the emblematic alternating “H” pattern emblazoned across the baseplate and rotor. While at this price range, there is no superlative finishing of Geneva stripes or chamfering, but the unique pattern is eye-catching enough to generate interest. I found the tungsten micro-rotor was occasionally quite loud possibly due to the ceramic ball bearings.
Many thanks to Tim Vaux of WatchGecko.com for snapping the Hermes on my wrist at a London event
The Hermès Strap
The supplied alligator leather strap is supple and comfortable. Not too surprising, as Hermès is globally recognized as an exquisite leather maker. Farming the supply of domestic and exotic leathers helps from a logistical perspective, but Hermès only use the finest hides for each cut. The strap tapers from the 20mm “L” shaped lugs to the double-looped 17mm steel buckle. The 39.5mm steel case balances proportionally with the height, and the lug-to-lug measurement of 42mm ensures the Slim d’Hermès hugs the wrist. Although the “H” stamped crown is unobtrusive, it is a little hard to grip when winding or setting the time as a result.
Hermès is one of the most prominent luxury brands in existence. For some, Hermès is famed for its exclusive, made-to-order handbags. For others, it may be the “H” belt. In my few weeks with the Slim d’Hermès, I have developed a genuine appreciation for this attractive watch with seemingly effortless, but consciously considered, design. The watch department is gathering momentum, and last year’s Arceau L’Heure De La Lune left a lasting impression on our team. It even made it onto the list of best watches of 2019. Available for £5,355 or €5,650, you can check out the details on the Slim d’Hermès here. Be sure to read more on Hermès on the Fratello site here.
And thanks again to Tim Vaux of Watch Gecko for the wrist-shot.
Brand Hermes ModelSlim d'HermèsReferenceCA2.810DialOpaline silveredCase MaterialStainless SteelCase DimensionsDiameter: 39.5mmCrystalAnti-glare sapphire crystalCase BackAnti-glare sapphire crystal case-backMovementHermès Manufacture H1950Water Resistance30 metersStrapMatte black alligator skin with steel tongue buckleFunctionsTime-onlyPrice€5,650 | £5,355 Watch of the Week
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About the author
Ben has been working in central London for 7 years. In that time, Ben has developed an interest in watches after being gifted his father’s Breitling at 25. He explores the weird and wonderful in horology at all price ranges,… read more
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