Fans have been enjoying Hermès’ sporty-chic H08 as the brand have been able to challenge the notion that fashion watches are not to be taken seriously (along with Louis Vuitton and Bulgari). You got to hand it to Hermès, the H08 has actual design put into it. Hermès could just put out a general kind of luxury-looking watch without much effort required. With the Hermès name attached, they probably would have made some decent money, but that would go against everything that Hermès stands for.
The worst offerings from fashion brands are lazy. Lazy design, lazy with the parts, and a lazy mark-up. Think of the watches from Armani, Hugo Boss, or Tommy Hilfiger. The best fashion watches can be just as interesting and well-made as something from a heritage horology house. Think about it, what looks aesthetically similar to the H08?
Designed by Phillipe Delhotal, creative director of Hermès Horloger, the softened square 39mm x 39mm watch plays with juxtaposing shapes and a 70s vibe that is very in right now. Despite the 70s vibe, it doesn’t actually look like anything from the decade. That’s the Hermès magic, it’s like the past interpreted by the future and handed to us in the present.
The case is made from three different materials: black DLC-treated titanium caseback, rose gold middle, and a black ceramic bezel and crown. This is the first time a precious metal has been used by Hermès on their watches.
This simply looks premium. There’s a brushed steel look around the case and bezel but a grained texture on the dial that somehow feels rugged yet sleek. It’s a match-up that shouldn’t work, but here it is, it’s happening. This is the mix of premium and general materials that Hublot wish they could pull off.
The strap mixes contrasting textures as well with a dark grey webbed pattern in the centre wrapped in black rubber. It looks robust, like it could take some abuse, but like the case and dial, still incredibly sleek and sophisticated.
Almost as if to prove how bespoke Hermès is the font of the numerals is completely unique with the numeral 8 evoking the shape of the case and namesake of the watch. In fact, they’ve tried to integrate the cushion-shape of the watch onto all the numbers where it seems appropriate including the 3, 4, 6, and 9. Even the arrow-shaped hand across the black nickel minute ring takes cues from the case with the openworked counterweight. Even the numbers appearing in the date window on the minute track use this design language.
The movement is made by Vaucher, in which Hermès has a 25% stake in. The calibre H1837 has a 50-hour power reserve and the rotor and bridges are decorated with Hermès’ signature H motif.
We don’t know when these are becoming available, but we do know that that luxurious leap to rose gold has led the price to double to $17,000 USD. This will be a sticking point for a few enthusiasts already struggling to justify expensive fashion watches, but if you thought something from Hermès would be cheap, you mustn’t be paying attention.
At a Glance
Diameter: 39mm x 39mm
Case: Rose gold, DLC-treated titanium, and black ceramic
Water resistance: 100m (screw-down crown)
Dial: Black-gold treated dial with grained and brushed finishes
Crystal: Sapphire front and back
Strap: Black rubber strap with black anthracite webbing, DLC-treated titanium clasp
Movement: Hermès automatic manufacture calibre H1837
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Price: $17,000 USD