Jewelry & Watches

Hermès’ New Kelly Watch in the Words of Philippe Delhotal

Cover Copyright of David Marchon

Unveiled at 2022’s edition of Watches & Wonders, the “new” Kelly watch by Hermès is definitely one to set its own standards in the world of women timepieces. Azyaamode got the chance to dive deeper into its world through an interview with the Maison’s Horological Creative Director Philippe Delhotal.  

Tell us about the original debut of the Kelly timepiece in the universe of watchmaking at Hermès and what your hopes are for the “new” Kelly?
The Kelly watch is one of the oldest collections of Hermès Horloger, it was launched for the first time in 1975 and was never reinterpreted since. This is an iconic line, taking back some codes dear to the maison. It is undeniably Hermès, no other watchmaking brand created a padlock watch before, it was a first.
The padlock and plate were taken back from the famous Kelly bag to become a wristwatch dressed up with leather. You can also notice the emblematic 4 screws fixing the plate on the bag, here on the timepiece.
With this reinterpretation of our iconic collection, we wish to offer a free and joyful Hermès icon towards the freedom to place personal time wherever one wishes. And it is precisely this freedom that the new Kelly now offers in a whole new way.

Photo Copyright of Mark Kean

What inspired you to open this new chapter in this creative journey?
At Hermès watchmaker we like to work on new projects and to introduce new lines. But we also like to work on our pilar watches, on the existing collections to make them last in time and remain desirable. This is exactly what we decided to do with Kelly. The collection exists for a long time and is still in our collections. We wanted to write a new chapter for it.

From last year’s Faubourg Polka to this year’s new Kelly, which facets of Hermès Horloger are women experiencing?
We are lucky enough to have loyal women customers and it seemed normal to us to extend our feminine offer by introducing different types of creations.

We work on mechanical watches for ladies, on craftsin our exceptional pieces segment. And we also work more and more on the precious segment to enrich our existing collections. Therefore, we introduce every year more precious timepieces with solid gold, different gem-setting, and we also work on refined metal bracelets instead of leather strap.

We try to reinvent ourselves not only by creating new models, but also by working on our iconic collections.

How does the new Kelly timepiece embody time and movement through its design?
As mentioned before, the Kelly watch is one of the oldest Hermès watches collections and it remains iconic since its creation in 1975. The model is timeless and appreciated by our female customers.

The fact that the padlock can be unlocked and placed on a leather cord-strap embodies this idea of movement and mobility. Also, when it is worn on the wrist, the padlock is following the move of the wrist which recalls this idea of freedom.

In terms of wearability, what makes the new Kelly feel like second skin on the wrist despite its elaborate design?
The specificity of this new interpretation is the multiple feminine wearing: the new Kelly is a wristwatch, but you can also unlock the padlock to fix it on the leather cord-strap with clochette, either in black box calf or black alligator, and wear it as a necklace.
It is a watch that can be worn in different ways according to the mood or desire of the wearer. The bracelet was thought out to be comfortable, supple and easy to wear.

Besides the gold and the steel models, this timepiece stands out for its take on watches with leather straps. Can you tell us more about this direction?
With this new Kelly, we wanted to bring a powerful style statement expressing a distinctive take on femininity. We decided to remove the leather strap with which it was originally dressed up to replace it by a metallic bracelet in stainless steel or rose gold. There is a significant work on the links that are echoing the shape of the plate where is attached the padlock.

This decision takes the Kelly to a more precious segment like a jewelry timepiece flaunting its clean-cut design, reaffirming its stylistic freedom and wearability.

The leather is kept for the cord-strap and clochette that can be used as a sautoir necklace.

Photo Copyright of Mark Kean

Who is the woman to wear the new Kelly timepiece?
The new Kelly watch is multi-facetted, different, daring, playful. I would say it is aligned with today’s woman, her tastes and habits. This timepiece is created for an active woman, always in movement and resolutely feminine. We all have many lives in our life, it is important to evolve with this fact and to offer objects that can come along these multiple facets of life. This new timepiece is more precious with a feisty temperament and remains in movement like today’s women.

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