“The Cut will be the first time men are going to take their wife’s watch.” Hermés launch Cut collection in the Greek Islands

“The Cut will be the first time men are going to take their wife’s watch.” Hermés launch Cut collection in the Greek Islands

Russell Sheldrake

On the Greek island of Tinos, Hermès assembled a large group of the world’s watch press for an immersive experience in this new world they are creating around the brand’s headline launch of this year, the Cut. Attendees found themselves in a green marble quarry, discovering the creative vision of Creative Director of Hermès Horloger, Philippe Delhotal. This natural context appeared to be a million miles away from the airless box that is Palexpo, and while some were confused by the direction that Hermès was taking with the Cut then, outside in the Grecian air, details of the watch and its design started to fall into place.

Shapes of Time Hermes Cut Tinos 2024 watch

To really get to the bottom of what this new watch means and what it says about the industry at large, our Founder and CEO Andrew McUtchen took some time on the shore of a large green water lagoon with Delhotal, and attempted to cut through the noise (see what I did there?) that has been created around this elegant sports watch. Read his discussion below to find out how this effortlessly creative mind saw a clear-cut (I did it again) path to creating this watch that blurs gendered lines that we are all so used to in sports watches these days.

Shapes of Time Hermes Cut Tinos 2024 Philippe Delhotal at the quarry
Philippe Delhotal, Creative Director of Hermès Horloger

Andrew McUtchen: What is the connection between this environment, this activation, and the Cut collection? What are we bringing together?

Philippe Delhotal:  The watch came from a natural shape, from a simple shape, and then this is also representing everything that nature has to give to us… can give to us. So this place, especially, is about forming simple shapes. And then in the quarry here, you have the Cut shape because obviously you’re cutting the stone to produce whatever you want. So there is a link first for the simple shape for the watch as such. And then you have the quarry where you cut the marble, and you have this cut shape on the watch. So you find everything in this location. This is the unconventional shape of the watch, that you can find here in the quarry.

AM: We have a lot of watch journalists talking about stone dials, and wishing that this event was the announcement of a marble dial Cut?

PD: You’re not the first one to ask the question. And to that I say, why not? Because we’re working with stone on other lines, other dials, and everything. But that’s not the announcement of today.

Shapes of Time Hermes Cut Tinos 2024 Green marble quarry 5

AM: I’ve read and listened to a lot about the experience of working at Hermès. And it seems to be a very different culture, and a different place to work. How is the experience to be Creative Director at Hermès compared to other places where you’ve worked?

PD: It’s a completely different culture, obviously. It’s a creative house before anything else, and we have 16 what we call Métiers, business units. You have silk, you have leather, etc. And we are part of this universe. And the message is far from the traditional classic watchmaking message. Today’s event is unique. There is no other brand that can give this message. Surprise, fantasy, the unexpected. And everything is translated into the objects that we produce. There is a big coherence between the events that we are having, and the object that we are producing. Everything is very cohesive, and in accordance with the value and the essence of the object. It’s a very relaxed event. We don’t really take ourselves seriously, and this is what we want. And this is something we should not forget.

AM: So if I’m not wrong, the turnover from watches is about 4% of Hermès’ revenue. Is there any intention to grow the category to bigger than 4%? Or is it just about doing the best that you can within that percentage?

PD: So that’s with the wholesale, that’s a business question. Obviously there is a wish to continue doing what we are doing, in bringing something different to the watch industry. And so far it’s been quite successful. So all we can wish for is to be successful at this in the future as well.

Hermes Cut 2

AM: Okay. So from a creative point of view then, what is Hermès’ great advantage in watches? Because as you said, you don’t have a tradition, necessarily, to hold you back. What is the most fun thing about the future of Hermès watches? Because you have nothing holding you back.

PD: We have a certain heritage that most of the people do not know, but then we have this creative freedom that probably some of the brands do not have. And this is where it’s pretty interesting. It’s a playground, which is to say, we take it very seriously, but we do it with fantasy.  This is who we are. And this speaks to today and this event.

AM: This is a fantasy. My wife is upset that she’s not a part of the fantasy.

PD: Invite her.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Andrew McUtchen (@andrew_mcutchen)

AM: Now, tell me, you used an interesting term before, “the message of the watch”. Now the message of the H08 is very different to the message of the Cut. Tell me the message of the H08, and the message of the Cut as they’re very different stories.

PD: It’s not that different. The H08 is a creative answer in a sporty, or casual sports environment, and the Cut is also a similar message. It’s a watch that you can wear on an everyday basis as well. And you have this vocabulary of the shape, which is clear to see in both actually, and which is also strongly linked to the house. Two different shapes, but the philosophy remains the same.

hermes cut wrist

AM: Last question, speaking now about how Creative Directors have an antenna, and they feel things that are coming, they feel things from the future. What do you feel from the future of men’s watches? What do you feel is the direction? Because I have traditionally always had big mens watches, and now I have a Piaget that’s far smaller, that I wear every single day. When I wear this Cut, I get a similar feeling of comfort and elegance. What do you feel is changing with creative?

PD: It’s pretty difficult to really explain because we are now living a cycle that was existing before. So we live by cycles, in a way. Little watches in the ’50s and ’60s. Then they were enormous in the 2000s. It was the way of showing your wealth, and the way that you exist through your watch. It was the same with cars. The mentality has now changed. Probably that show-off mentality is a bit behind us. Or you never know, it might come back. With the Cut it will be the first time men are going to take their wife’s watch! Brands are coming back to the smaller styles, and I think it’s fair to say that today people are more wanting to wear watches for themselves, whatever the size.