The cover of the Hermès Arceau pocket watch with two wild horses (chevaux sauvages) is exquisite and a deeper appreciation level can be attained once one understands the intense work behind its creation.
The inspiration for the two wild horses on the cover comes from two glasses made at the beginning of the 19th century by Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis.
This explains why Hermès is drawing on the expertise of this company for the crystal work on its Arceau pocket watch.
The motif or design to be engraved is first drawn onto the pure crystal plaque with Indian ink. The engraver then uses a lathe that is fitted with a copper wheel to which a diamond point is attached to carve out the design.
Now wonder the cover of this Hermès Arceau pocket watch, powered by the brand’s Manufacture movement – the Calibre H1837, is termed the “wheel-engraved crystal”.
High precision in the relief work is attained by the engraver simply because of his years of experience. According to the brand, 15 days are required to complete the engraving on a single lid.
The good folks at Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis clearly state that “If, as Paul Claudel wrote: “glass is solidified breath”, then crystal is a spark of the human soul.”
We agree. The creation of such fine relief arises from a painstaking process that has no shortcuts; with each precise cut that removes parts of the crystal, the meticulous engraver is patiently breathing life into the desired art form.