Horse Powered: Joint Tenancy

When Hermès decided, at the end of the 1990s, to upgrade its men’s watch offerings, the resources to do so were surprisingly close at hand. Around the same time, the Hermès family had leased a Paris apartment to another family with an interest in the luxury business, the Sandozes. The family, founders of the Sandoz pharmaceutical company, was in the process of diversifying its portfolio and, in 1996, had acquired a majority stake in boutique watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier. In 2003, it opened Vaucher, a movement and component manufacturer, to supply Parmigiani as well as other prestige brands, including Hermès.

Hermès began selling watches in the late 1920s and ’30s, after partnering with leading manufacturers, including Jaeger (which later merged with LeCoultre & Cie to form Jaeger-LeCoultre), Universal Genève, and Movado. Hermès did not begin manufacturing its own watches until 1978, when it started producing striking, women’s quartz pieces. The collaboration with Vaucher was established in 2004 with a limited-edition retrograde moon phase mechanical movement.

In 2006, Hermès acquired a 25 percent share of Vaucher. Two limited editions introduced last year—a Cape Cod retrograde calendar with moon phase and a Dressage annual calendar—are forerunners of an expanding collection of pieces powered by high-grade mechanical movements.

Though it will not yet discuss specifics, the brand reports that this year’s introductions will include models, with highly imaginative time displays, powered by exclusive Hermès calibers. “Our relationship with Vaucher suddenly gives us development and finishing capabilities that are recognized as among the best in the world,” says Emmanuel Raffner, president of La Montre Hermès, the company’s watch division. “We would like to share the same spirit of creativity for the movements as we do for the design of the watch.”

The new timepiece has a fluid-based linear timekeeping display…
The new watch has multiple systems to ensure that its movement receives consistent power…
Computer-aided design is allowing watchmakers to push the boundaries of innovation...
The watchmaker puts its skill in guilloche and damaskeening on full display…
The two back-to-back auctions will offer hundreds of unique designs…
The new variation sports a dial crafted from a meteorite...
Photo by Didier Gourdon
The new watch has a tourbillon hidden by an automaton…
The watch’s case is a mere 8.24 mm thick…
Photo by Vincent Wulveryck/Cartier
Jeweler Cartier innovative work combined Roman, Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese elements with...
On assuming his new position, Lambert lost little time in the development of new watches...