It all began in 1912, when Jacqueline Hermès, still a child at the time, received a gift from her father in the shape of an ingenious “porte-oignon” or pocket-watch holder designed to be secured to the wrist. It had been designed so that the keen young horsewoman could ride without having to attach her watch to her clothing or slip it into her pocket. Testifying to the original Hermès expertise in the field of saddle- and harness-making, this leather strap was designed like those worn by stable lads, surrounding the pocket watch and adopting its shape so as to provide ideal protection.
Skills that find their way through the decades
Reinvented in 2012 under the name “In The Pocket”, this iconic model now returns in a rose gold composition clad in a sophisticated alligator exterior. A pocket-watch that may be transformed at will into a wristwatch, it embodies both the historical leather hand craftsmanship of Hermè s and its watchmaking development to the point of becoming a full-f ledged Manufacture now in the hands of the seventh generation of the founding family.
Issued in a 178-piece limited edition, the In The Pocket watch is distinguished by its extreme sobriety. The 40 mm diameter of the delicately rounded rose gold case increases to 49 mm when worn on the wrist. Its finely grained silvered dial avoids any superfluous ornamentation so as to provide the clearest, most self-evident expression of time. The baton-type hands sweep over pared-down numerals, while the small seconds ticks round at 3 o’clock, all driven by the Manufacture Hermès H1837 movement with a 50-hour power reserve. Crafted in keeping with the finest horological traditions, this refined self-winding mechanism features a circulargrained and snailed mainplate, while its oscillating weight is adorned with the brand’s signature “sprinkling of Hs” motif.
The incredibly complex strap of the “In The Pocket” model calls for lengthy and patient workmanship.
Leather as a hand-sewn link between past and present
The incredibly complex strap of the “In The Pocket” model calls for lengthy and patient workmanship. Composed of two longer and shorter sections, the plain strap end and the buckle strap end (sanglon and boucleteau in French), it is hand crafted in the leather-making workshops of La Montre Hermès in Switzerland.
These two parts are composed of three layers of leather: alligator; an inner cowgrain leather reinforcement ensuring impeccable sturdiness; and a Zermatt calfskin lining.
First comes the cutting process, including layer cutting; the hides are soaked and then pressed into a mould. They dry for 10 days before being cut with a pointed tool, layercut, sanded down and glued. Each of the parts is then partially sewn; the buckle strap end is perforated to free up the spaces that will reveal the dial and through which the plain strap end and the crown will pass.
The work continues on the table, with the buckle end and the plain strap end being fitted together, marked with a compass, indented and sewn using the saddlestitching technique.