Hermès – from Saddlery and Bags to colourful Cuts

Hermès – from Saddlery and Bags to colourful Cuts

Kristian Haagen
  • The Hermès Cut is a new 36mm sports watch that breaks open a relatively untouched category: a sports watch aimed at women – available in steel or steel and rose gold two-tone finishes.
  • Available on a choice of steel bracelet or colourful interchangeable rubber straps, and smooth or diamond-set bezels, there is plenty of choice for customisation.
  • The Cut is powered by the Vaucher-made Hermès H1912, offering a 50-hour power reserve and unique crown positioning, visible through the exhibition case back.

What do you do when your manufacturing history is primarily about equestrian saddles, silk scarves, and bags that Grace Kelly and Jane Birkin made world-famous – and then suddenly you want to design watches? “Pas de problème”, you can almost hear Emile Hermès say as he put a pocket watch into a leather holder so his daughter Jacqueline could wear it on her wrist.

Shapes of Time Hermes Cut Tinos 2024 watch process

“Hermès occupies a unique place in the watchmaking landscape, unconstrained by tradition, allowing them to focus almost exclusively on surprising and delighting with their collections”, as my Time+Tide Founder and colleague, Andrew McUtchen, puts it.

Watches were produced by Hermès since 1928, but it wasn’t until 1978 that the French company founded La Montre Hermès under the leadership of Jean-Louis Dumas, son of the aforementioned Jacqueline. With Henri d’Origny, Hermès created the stirrup-inspired Arceau, which was indeed a nod to the company’s first customer, a horse. In the 1990s, Hermès introduced the Cape Cod and Médor models, which were equipped with quartz movements and aimed primarily at female wrists.

However, quartz movements faced competent competition in 2003 when Hermès partnered with movement manufacturer Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier to gain access to mechanical movements. In 2006, Hermès decided to buy 25% of the company, which also supplies movements to Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, Parmigiani, Czapek, and Gerald Charles, among other esteemed watch brands, highlighting the exceptional craftsmanship emerging from Vaucher.

hermes cut wrist

Watchmaking has proved to be important for Hermès. According to Luxury Tribune, Hermès’ watchmaking experienced a 46% increase in 2022, and reached +23.6% during Q1 2023. In Q1 of 2024, there has been a modest single-digit growth of merely 4%, as reported by Laurent Dordet, CEO of Hermès Horloger, whom I had the pleasure of meeting during a recent press trip with the esteemed French Maison. However, considering the challenging landscape of 2024, any positive growth is commendable, especially when contrasted with the negative growth experienced by numerous other watchmaking brands.

When talking about Hermès and the French design skills, it is important to stress that the Swiss watchmaking know-how is of great importance when a French brand ventures into watchmaking. After all “the French cannot trade as precision engineers of mechanical objects any more than the Swiss can as purveyors of lacy seduction”, as my colleague Robin Swithinbank puts it. The 36mm Hermès Cut, unveiled at Watches & Wonders in 2024, showcases the Maison’s innovative flair. It delves into the language of geometry. The harmonious proportions of its satin-brushed and polished case, coupled with the luminosity of its precisely honed edges, further enhance its distinctive character.

Shapes of Time Hermes Cut Tinos 2024 watch

Sleek and modern, the Hermès Cut is offered with a rubber strap that comes in eight distinct colours: white, orange, gris perle, gris étain, glycine, vert criquet, bleu jean, and capucine, adding a playful yet refined – and French – touch expected from Hermès. And interchangeable with a bracelet if so desired, no tools needed. Size-wise, the Hermès Cut is for him, her and everyone in between.

This new perfectly sized model is an excellent example of how Hermès continues to blend traditional craftsmanship with modern aesthetics, creating timepieces that are as unique as they are captivating. Sporty as well, evidenced by its 100-metre water resistance.

Although Vaucher’s movement inside the Hermès Cut are of sublime quality, the prices do not reflect this as one can be yours for from US$6,725 on rubber strap, to US$21,900 for the gold-and-steel version with diamond bezel. Yet, no matter the Hermès Cut, you can be certain that it will embody values and qualities of the house, such as attention to detail, precision and exquisite craftsmanship.

Hermès Cut pricing and availability

The Hermès Cut is available now for purchase. Price: starting from US$6,725

Brand Hermès
Model Cut
Case Dimensions 36mm (D)
Case Material Steel
Steel and rose gold
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal front and caseback
Dial Opaline silver-toned
Strap Steel or steel and rose gold bracelet with clasp
Coloured rubber straps with pin buckle
Movement Hermès H1912, Vaucher-made, automatic
Power Reserve 50 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds
Price Starting from US$6,725