Thursday, May 15, 2014

Arceau Millefiori - for the Wrist

Sometimes it is just fun to be me!  This little bijoux arrived via email this morning -

Courtesy of Hermès   
This is the Arceau Millefiori 41 mm - and I LOVE THIS WATCH!!!

As many people out there know, I love the work of GoS watches and Angular Momentum/Manu Propria.  Well, let's add Hermès to that list!

Now I am not a terribly technical person, so in terms of the HOW this dial was achieved, I will defer to the folks at Hermès -

Crafted by applying successive layers of crystal to enamel to reveal the colour, these canes resemble barley sugar candy canes. They are in some cases assembled to form ever-richer patterns. Whatever their colour or design, the process itself remains identical.

A glassworker takes a gob of molten crystal to which a second artisan applies his punty, before moving away as far as the temperature of the matter permits. He pulls or draws with him a several meter-long thread measuring just a few millimeters in diameter,  and which will then be broken into several sections.

The canes thus created are cut into small ten-millimeter portions that are then vertically placed in a cast- iron bowl, where they form a bed of flowers.

While one master glassmaker prepares a crystal ‘calotte’ or ‘skullcap’, the part that fixes it to the rod, a colleague brings him the bowl containing the millefiori. With the tip of his punty, the first artisan adds the molten clear crystal, fusing the two blocks so as to encapsulate or “package” the motif in glass. The punty then returns to the port opening in the furnace, and the material is worked with a shaping block or ladle-like wooden tool, meticulously fashioned with a wooden pallet – sometimes even with paper – to achieve the required shape. To set the finishing touch to the paperweight, the glassmaker creates a collar that will enable him to cut off the desired portion of crystal.

It is only during the final cutting stage that the crystal reveals the full wealth of its pattern and the unique beauty of the flowerbed with its vividly shimmering colours that will become the dial or cover of one of the Arceau models. 

Easy, huh? 

Here are the details -

Arceau Millefiori 41 mm    

Mechanical self-winding movement, crafted in Switzerland
Hermès Manufacture Movement H1837

3.7 mm
Power Reserve
50 hours
28 jewels
28’800 vibrations per hour / 4Hz

193 components

Circular-grained and snailed mainplate, satin-brushed
bridges and oscillating weight adorned with the special 
Hermès decoration (H symbols). Hermès Paris engraving    

Hours, minutes

Shape / dimensions
Round, 41 mm diameter

750 white gold (≈ 58 g)

Anti-glare sapphire crystal and case-back

To 3 atm

Crystal, crafted using the same technique as for the 
Millefiori paperweights from the Cristalleries Saint-Louis

21 mm
17 mm pin buckle
in 750 white gold (≈ 5.37 g)

Matt indigo blue alligator   



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