Jewelry & Watches

Exploring Hermès Horloger with Laurent Dordet and Philippe Delhotal

For 2021, Hermès Horloger went above and beyond expectations with the novelties that added their own kind of character to the digital edition of Watches & Wonders. Capturing the Maison’s quintessential values, the “objects” that were unveiled explored a theme that made them even more exciting: ‘the texture of time’.

We at Azyaamode interviewed CEO Laurent Dordet and Creative Director Philippe Delhotal not only to discover this year’s novelties, but also to further immerse you in the mystical world of Hermès Horloger. 

To Laurent Dordet, CEO, Hermès Horloger:

How has Hermès Horloger developed and grown since the Maison’s first debut into the world of watchmaking?

These more recent years have confirmed that Hermès is bringing its creativity and craftmanship to another area with precision and expertise. For the years to come, we will keep developing watches that capture the full Hermès essence and feature alternative ways of displaying time to collectors and customers who are passionate about beautiful, high-quality objects. The potential for increasing the business is high for Hermès watches all around the world. Our ambition is to remain an important and well-respected player in the Swiss watch industry while respecting the values of the House. It thus seems to us entirely legitimate to pursue our development within the circle of high-quality watchmakers, while safeguarding and “owning” the singular characteristics of our Maison. We will never stop surprising our customers with innovative products

Tell us about the watchmaking strategy at Hermès.

Hermès has a long term strategy regarding watchmaking: strongly invest into our own manufacture in Switzerland (where we established our production 40 years ago), internally making almost all of our components, and from there expressing our singular vision of this métier, far from our competitors. Also, rather than measuring it, dividing it into sequences and seeking to control it, the Maison dares to explore another time designed to stir emotions, open up interludes and create spaces for fanciful approaches and recreation.
This “step sideways” is expressed through all our watches: our style, but also our specific “Hermès complications”, prove we go our own path, not following trends. This is also present in our institutional communication.

On the product side, these recent years have been marked by a lot of novelties. For example, the renewal of Cape Cod was an opportunity to totally renew the line and propose unexpected versions, as was the launch of Galop d’Hermès.
On the masculine side, our Slim line has welcomed a singular complication “L’heure impatiente” and more recently, Arceau with “L’heure de la lune” was a great success. This year, we have a new masculine line in our collection with the launch of Hermès H08.

We’ve definitely increased the attractiveness of our watches both in the men’s and ladies’ sectors. And last but not least, we have brought a new dynamic in our retail network and strengthened our key partnerships in the external network.

There has also been an important point with the integration of the industrial and supply chain over Hermès manufacture and the reshaping of our distribution network. So quite a bit has happened!

To Philippe Delhotal, Creative Director, Hermès Horloger:

What inspired and drove you to choose ‘the texture of time’ as the theme for this year?

Texture of time is the claim of our activation campaign to accompany the launch of Hermès H08. This activation remains firmly embedded in the Hermès watchmaking territory that we presented in 2017, which gave rise to the "Time, a Hermès object" campaign.

The campaign and the activation tools highlighted the "sharp, but sensual" side of the model, with its characteristics’ play on shapes and combination of materials.

Who is the man you are trying to target through the new H08 timepiece? Do you think that this timepiece could be suitable for a woman as well?

This timepiece embodies "the Hermès take on contemporary masculinity". It is adaptable. We adorn urban, travelling men who go everywhere. They are involved in the heat of the action, while also seeking comfort and ease. I absolutely believe that women might be interested in wearing the new Hermès H08 as the size is quite decent and the watch is comfortable to wear.

Taking into consideration Hermès’ unique approach to time, how did you manage to bring together function, form and aesthetic?  

Our singular interpretation, which runs counter to industry trends, is expressed today through the new Hermès H08, which, through its form, expresses our relationship with time.

It is a model all about contrasts that combines rigorous discipline and high demands, poetry and harmony. An authority expressed through the square shape, the watch movement, the mineral and technological materials, yet presented with sensuality through the roundness, the font, the mix of materials. It is a sensual and light model, yet also virile: "sharp, but sensual". Time is implacable, organized, quantifiable, but it is also qualitative. The object is intended for contemporary individuals concerned by the passage of time in a demanding world. But also individuals who are engaged in a quest for meaning. The object becomes a symbolic value and not arbitrary.
The watch becomes a real companion, a symbol of a relationship with time and a lifestyle.

How different was your interpretation of the cosmos this year?

It was not different this year if you refer to the Arceau L’heure de la lune. We continue to bring new versions with new materials for the dial such as meteorite or lunar stone.

Article Written by Mirella Haddad

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