The Slim d’Hermès watch, created by Philippe Delhotal in 2015, lends itself to a new expression of expertise: wood marquetry. Its thin case with angular lugs frames a dial bearing the effigy of Pegasus composed of rare wood species. This “horse landscape” is revealed through woody nuances. Its head viewed in profile expresses lightness, power and serenity, while its undulations evoke a bird’s eye view of hills, water and terraced rice fields.
To transpose these complex volumes and curves to the scale of a dial, Hermès craftsmen begin by miniaturising the motif. They then rigorously select the essence and colour of the material that will serve as a medium of expression – in this instance a blend of woods that are precious – such as Macassar amaranth and ebony – and rare, like chestnut, yellow pear and madrona burr. Amaranth is a purple wood with a fine grain, whose almost white heart turns dark after many years. Macassar ebony is finely specked with crystals and has a black colour, a very fine grain and a high density. The light, soft and homogeneous wood of the chestnut tree is a silky white. Yellow pear tree wood, which is compact and likewise uniform, acquires a beautiful polish. Finally, madrona burr – a tree growth in the wood veins – a material that is both very hard and difficult to work with, forms small waves of orange-brown to pale red colour.
The various woods are thus chosen for their shades close to the original design, but also for their specific grain, perfectly adapted to the meticulous art of wood marquetry. The artisan cuts out the multitude of tiny elements forming the pattern, before assembling them like a jigsaw puzzle, gluing them in place and finishing them by sanding and varnishing. Combining rigorous discipline, patience and dexterity, three weeks of work are necessary to create a dial, which is by nature unique.
The Slim d’Hermès Pégase Paysage watch, available in a limited edition of twelve, comes in a 39.5mm diameter white gold case fitted with a matt Havana alligator strap. Its thin baton type hands are driven by an ultra-thin self-winding movement crafted by the Manufacture, as indeed are the dial, case and bracelet, all governed by the Hermès Horloger rules of expertise.