When folks all wore manually-wound mechanical watches you can meet nervous fidgeting just by twisting your watch. I am waiting to get a drawback to come that allows you to artificially drain a mainspring barrel only so that you could wind it. As we mostly wear automatic or quartz watches these days, we want other items to fidget with. Assessing your text messages is fine, but a few things can replace the easy pleasure of a shiny little button that clicks. Le Temps Suspendu has one of these if you wear one that you’ll locate your finger on it a good deal. So for Jean-Marc, the watch offers a satisfying way of getting to press a button and have something meaningful happen – again and again.Another wise guy offered a perhaps more romantic explanation for the “poetic complication” I will honor him by claiming his anonymity, but he knows who he is. In his average confident lectatorial tone, he promptly responded to the question of “who will use the lookout” using a simple “it will get you laid.” Will it now? He seemed sure enough of the simple fact that I wondered how recently the watch actually did get him put.
Translating as “The Impatient Hour”, the latest from Hermes combines both the brand’s quirky sensibilities and the prowess of complications outfit Agenhor. The Slim d’Hermès l’Heure Impatiente has the same case and dial style as the brand’s signature men’s wristwatch, but is conceptually related to Hermes’ whimsical complications like the Le Temps Suspendu that only shows the time on demand.
The Slim d’Hermès l’Heure Impatiente has a countdown function that can be set to any time within 12 hours from the current moment, as well as a chiming mechanism that strikes when time is up.
The countdown function is set via the crown at four o’clock, which turns the display on the sub-dial at four o’clock to indicate the event time or zero hour. As soon as it’s 60 minutes before zero hour, hand on the the fan-shaped countdown display starts counting down towards zero.
When the 60-minute countdown reaches zero, the watch sounds a single chime. And the chime can be activated manually at any time with the pusher at nine o’clock. The time, on the other hand, is set conventionally via the crown at two o’clock.
The base calibre inside is the H1912, an automatic made for Hermes by movement maker Vaucher (which Hermes owns a quarter stake in). But the countdown and chiming module is the work of Agenhor, the low-key but respected Geneva-based firm led by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht.
And typical of Agenhor’s quirky brand of movement design, several of the key components of the complication are made via UV-LIGA, an additive process that grows metal parts, allowing them to take almost any shape. The result is a lever that’s shaped like a unicorn and bell, as well as a wheel with spokes shaped like sharks.
To maximise the acoustic quality of the watch, the case is relatively large at 40.5mm, but hollowed out on the inside to maximise the amount of air inside the case for resonance. The movement is suspended in the case with five clamps, with thinner than usual sapphire crystals on the front and back.
Price and availability
The Slim d’Hermès L’heure Impatiente in rose gold is priced at US$39,900 or €31,000. It’ll be available starting the second quarter of 2017.