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The new Hermès Cut was first unveiled at this year’s edition of one of the world’s most prestigious watch fairs, Watches and Wonders, which took place earlier this month. The first women’s watch to be created in house by the French brand in the last two decades, it’s an inherently timeless timepiece, designed with classic, covetable materials and longevity in mind.

Imagined by Philippe Delhotal, the creative director of Hermès Horloger, the timepiece, at its core, is a celebration of the simplicity of shapes – in this case the circle. Its satin-brushed and polished case gently curves around the face, which boasts sharp angles and crisply drawn lines, signalling a homage to the geometry so cherished by Hermès.

Powered by a Manufacture Hermès H1912 movement, the mechanical self-winding calibre is discernible through a sapphire crystal caseback and drives the display of hours, minutes and seconds. The hour and minute hands, polished, phosphorescent and partly openworked, exhibit a baton-like shape, with rounded edges and a spooned-out centre while the large seconds hand displays a luminous dot. With the ticking of time, each hand sweeps over the Cut’s dial which is rendered in an opaline silver-tone with grey-and orange-accents along the minutes track, traversing the PVD-treated applied Arabic numerals that decorate it.

The case, crafted in a variety of material combinations from all steel to an elegant two-tone combination of steel and rose gold – with 56 bezel-set diamonds or without – is a standout feature. And along the bevel-cut bezel, boldly positioned at half past one, the Cut’s crown is embellished with a lacquered or engraved ‘H’, also in orange. Truly special stuff.

Delicate and feminine, the integrated metal bracelet features supple links and is available in alternating finishes, each of which pick up on the case design and close with a butterfly clasp. But if you’re after something a little more playful, a rubber strap is also available in eight vivid colourways ranging from white and orange to classic Hermès hues such as blue jean and vert criquet (cricket green).

An exceptional feat of savoir faire resulting in a technically rich timepiece, the Hermès Cut is a must-have for any horology lover. Here, we speak to Delhotal about the new watch.

This is the first and new in-house designed women’s collection in the last two decades. Why was now the right time to release it?

Delhotal: “Ladies’ watches have always been a major part of our collections, ever since La Montre Hermès was founded in Switzerland in 1978, for example with Arceau in 1978, Cape Cod in 1991 and Heure H in 1996. Since 2006, when it acquired a 25 per cent stake in Vaucher Manufacture, Hermès has been developing its own Manufacture movements. These were launched in 2012 (H1837 and H1912) and then in 2015 with the arrival of the Slim d’Hermès (H1950). Since then, the collections have been enriched with Manufacture Hermès watches, offering female customers new models such as Arceau Petite Lune, Arceau Le temps suspendu and Arceau Le temps voyageur.

“In recent years, our priority has been to strengthen our men’s collections. This enabled us to launch Hermès H08 in 2021, which has been a great success since its introduction. It was time to round out our collections with a new line equipped exclusively with Manufacture Hermès movements and aimed primarily at women.”

What were your goals heading into creating the collection, what did you set out to achieve?

Delhotal: “The Hermès Cut is the first Manufacture Hermès line to be developed with women in mind, while retaining a universal style. Our ambition was to create a contemporary watch with a simple, timeless shape that combines the house’s distinctive style with its watchmaking expertise.

“When I was first thinking about this new design, I knew that I didn’t want anything figurative like Heure H, Arceau with its stirrups, Cape Cod with its anchor chain… There are no direct references to the house’s codes. I wanted to work around the simplicity of shapes, and we know that it is not that simple to stick to simplicity and avoid too many details. Hermès Cut unveils an all-new identity that plays with the vocabulary of simple shapes. At times soft and at others bold, its lines, along with the bevelled edge with its clean, polished finish, are imbued with a style that is both singular and multifaceted, adapting to changing moods through a wide choice of strap colours – all combined with easy legibility.

“I imagined a watch that would be ergonomic, easy to wear and that could adapt to many different lifestyles. A watch which is simple and unique, while retaining a true aesthetic dimension.”

Can you tell us the inspiration behind some of the watches key components?

Delhotal: “Hermès Cut is inspired by the territory of the simple shape expressing itself here through a return to its origins, such as in prehistoric times when humankind carved raw materials to make functional, primary tools. Simple in appearance, it is a combination of different shapes, ‘cut’ on the edge by a bevel that adds another dimension and opens up unexpected perspectives. It’s this rupture, this polished bevel, that inspired its name.

“The watch features a multitude of sharp angles that forge its unique personality. Playing on circles and roundness, the new Hermès Cut is a celebration of simplicity and above all of simple, self-evident and timeless shapes, approached in a singular way. I can mention here the bevelled sculpted edges, as if it had been sliced off. It brings dynamism to the timepiece, also with its crown placed between one and two o’clock. This is a watch that we wanted to be deliberately different, endowed with an assertive style and an unconventional shape. The typography and dial echo the simplicity of the lines of this new design and offer straightforward yet soft reading of the hours.”

What are some of your favourite elements to the watch?

Delhotal: “I personally like the plays on lights and reflection created thanks to the alternation of finishes, the satin-brushed case middle and bezel, contrasting with the polished clean-cut edges and bezel profile. I also enjoy looking at the bevels cut into the material offering an interesting new shape to the watch. That is also why I decided to position the crown between one and two o’clock, in order to preserve this nice profile and sculpted edges.”

How do you hope the Hermès customer reacts to the release?

Delhotal: “We received very positive feedback from the press and customers during Watches and Wonders Geneva, which also corresponded to the official launch of the Hermès Cut in stores worldwide (i.e April 9 – on the opening of the fair). The watch seems to appeal to both women and men, thanks to its universal style and its 36 mm diameter case. Our plan for this new line is to establish it as a strong segment of our collections and to put lots of effort to make it alive and desirable.”

Photography courtesy of Hermès.