Reviews

The Hermès Cut is a simple watch that is profoundly sophisticated

Reviews

The Hermès Cut is a simple watch that is profoundly sophisticated

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It balances subtlety with horological finesse in volumes.

Here’s the thing about Hermès and its watchmaking journey so far. In a span of 46 years, the maison has gone from a producer of stylish and distinctive fashion-oriented timepieces to a stylish and distinctive genuine force to be reckoned, much of that which was achieved just over the last 10 years. Ever since had Hermès set itself the goal to produce creative high complications and beautiful métiers d’arts timepieces at the level of quality equal to the best Swiss pure watch players, things have been consistently looking up for the maison, earning it multiple GPHG awards with each passing year.

 

And after checking all the right boxes in the high watchmaking space, Hermès made it a point to show that it is not abandoning its core product range which remains hugely popular with its primary audience. Indeed Hermès timepieces cater to a wide spectrum of customers, many of whom adore the maison’s creations at every level and desire its creations for everyday wear, hence the astute introduction of the Hermès H08 in 2021. We’ve also noticed consistent updates to the H-Hour and Faubourg lines, but it is the introduction of the new Hermès Cut that ultimately signals the arrival of a new chapter for the maison.

 

Hermès Cut Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024 steel front

Hermès Cut is a collection created expressly for women

 

Swiss Quality, French Design

Despite its pared down aesthetics and time-only function — at least for the moment — the Hermès Cut is not simplistic in the least. Rather, it is quite the opposite. Practically devoid of bells and whistles, it is a tasteful, minimalist timepiece offering sophistication in volumes. Naturally it is jointly crafted by the practiced hands of Hermès Horloger in Switzerland and the razor-sharp stylistic direction of Hermès Paris, and it heralds a new vision of feminine watch design by the maison for modern, stylish, accomplished women. At first it feels familiar, as if you’ve seen it before somewhere, but then you gradually notice things you didn’t notice earlier, and then you gradually come to notice things you’ve never even seen before. Such is the profundity of the design of the Hermès Cut that shows us just how far Hermès has come as a true watchmaking maison.

 

Consider the most obvious aspect of the watch: the case. The Hermès Cut is inspired by simple shapes and essential lines, which is pretty much the basic premise for the majority of what the maison creates, and pretty much the foundation of good design in general. What had been proof positive of the design ingenuity of Hermès Horloger, however, is in the way it interpreted those simple shapes and essential lines. In Hermès Cut you see a delicate juxtaposition of sharp-edged profile with clean soft curves. Intriguingly, it presents two ways to perceive one shape. A round in a circle. This is how the maison describes the case of the Hermès Cut and while it might sound suspiciously tautological let us assure you that it makes complete sense. Where the dial is expressed as a perfect circle, the case on the other hand is not quite as perfectly round, just somewhat round, but just as alluring.

 

Hermès Cut Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024 two tone profile

The round-in-a-circle shape is unique in the industry

 

Beginning with a classic round, the Hermès Horloger team finally achieved this highly original design by deftly shaving off just a sliver of left and right flanks. The result is a completely refreshing case that’s perhaps best described as midway between a round and a cushion — albeit a very elegant and subtle cushion. Says creative director of Hermès Horloger, Philippe Delhotal, “We wanted to create a special shape using a gesture, a creative gesture, and to have this shape that emerges from this gesture.”

 

At a time when shaped watches have consistently gained so much prominence across the luxury watch industry, with numerous brands playing up all manner of cases from ovals, rectangles and squares, to polygons, cushions and other irregular designs, it didn’t seem possible that there remained anything else left unexplored, but then the Hermès Cut showed up with its unique round-in-a-circle aesthetic, proving that a little creativity certainly goes a long way in watch design.

 

Hermès Cut Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024 two tone diamond amb

It is a follow up to the men's H08 introduced in 2021

 

Everyday Luxury

The Hermès philosophy has always been traditional craftsmanship meets the finest materials. Artful, innovative, designed to last, and to always purport comfort, seeking beauty in elegant practicality. These values permeate all of the maison’s many product divisions and its timepieces are no exception. Hermès Cut is a watch that’s intended for everyday wear yet it also espouses fine watchmaking craftsmanship through the use of an Hermès manufacture movement, the self-winding Caliber H1912.

 

Says Delhotal, “Hermès Cut comes as a follow up to the H08 introduced in 2021. We really wanted this women’s collection to bring us watchmaking legitimacy in women’s watches. This is the first time we have a mechanical movement in a woman’s watch.”

 

Hermès Cut Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024 back movement

This is the first Hermès ladies collection featuring a manufacture caliber

 

Indeed, this is the first time that the maison is offering an in-house movement in its women’s watches, and in the process it is establishing a strong statement of intent as to what its long-term plans are for this category. Formerly there has been some ladies mechanical Cape Cod models but not with manufacture movements. Within the Cape Cod line, only the men’s models had ever featured manufacture movements. So in terms of horological value, the Hermès Cut has definitely raised the bar for the maison’s ladies specific timepieces, even though it is sure to have its fair share of masculine fans as well. The 36mm case size endears the Hermès Cut well to both sides of the gender divide and there are certainly more than enough variations — diamonds versus no diamonds, stainless steel versus two-tone steel and gold — to please all tastes and styles.

 

Just like the H08, the Hermès Cut exudes a vibrant personality and an urban spirit. To accommodate the dynamic lifestyles of modern women, it has an interchangeable system that allows wearers to swap easily between a metal bracelet or a rubber strap in a plethora of mood-boosting hues: white, orange, gris perle, gris étain, glycine, vert criquet, bleu jean or capucine rubber.

 

 

Says Delhotal of this aesthetic vision for the Hermès Cut: “It’s everyday and it’s versatile. It can adapt to situations, we can play with colors. It’s practical, comfortable and has a strong identity. This form of a watch doesn’t exist. It’s completely different from the other form watches that we have, such as Cape Cod, H-Hour, H08, Gallop… we have many more form watches rather than round watches. It’s more complicated to do a watch with a special form than a round watch.”

 

As with all of its new timepiece collections, Hermès defined a brand new typography for these numerals and they remind us just a smidge of the H08’s numerals. Highly contemporary, quite sporty, and perfectly legible. For a ladies timepiece, it openly defies the stereotypical codes of femininity. Says Delhotal, “I wanted something with character, so we created this type of numerals. We didn’t want something too girly. In fact, even though the Hermès Cut is a woman’s watch, it’s possible that men are likely to choose it as well.”

 

Hermès Cut Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024 dial

Specially created typography for the numerals

 

Raising The Bar

Simple from far but far from simple, the Hermès Cut opens a new chapter for the maison in terms of its women’s watches. Its sophisticated case is unique in shape, with features that may be discreet but not so much that they escape the watch aficionado’s eye. Circular satin-finished surfaces commingle with polished bevels, and the central lugs seamlessly connect the case to the bracelet or rubber strap.

 

Hermès Cut Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024 crown

The crown is positioned at 2 o'clock to preserve the integrity of the case

 

Further details include the crown which is positioned at 2 o’clock to preserve the fluid curves of the case, and the rubber bracelet features a design motif that echoes the silhouette of the bracelet which has an extremely ergonomic interchangeable system. Its dial is opaline silver-toned, with applied grey PVD-treated numerals filled with SuperLuminova, complete with a snailed silver-toned minutes ring accentuated with transferred grey and orange markings. The hour and minute hands are baton-shaped and filled with SuperLuminova, with a running central seconds hand highlighted with an orange dot perfectly aligned with the minutes ring.

 

Hermès Cut Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024 bracelet

Interchangeable system allows bracelet and strap options

 

Providing all the hallmarks of fine luxury watchmaking, plus the presence of a manufacture movement, Hermès has done everything right with the Hermès Cut. Then there is also the time honored prestige of the name Hermès which is no small consideration to luxury consumers of all levels. This definitely qualifies the Hermès Cut as newcomer of the year among all the ladies timepieces, giving the established players a serious run for their money — to say nothing yet of how reasonably priced the watch is.

 

As to why had Hermès introduced the Hermès Cut with only metal bracelet and rubber strap options, Delhotal answered promptly but cryptically, “Never say never, we mainly wanted the watch to be suited for every condition, and maybe we should let things happen over time.” Which we’ll take to mean that more is certain to come for the Hermès Cut.

 

Hermès Cut specs

Movement: Caliber H1912; self-winding; 50 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Case: 36 mm; steel, steel and diamonds, steel and gold, steel and gold with diamonds; water resistant to 100 m
Strap: Matching bracelet or rubber strap in white, orange, gris perle, gris étain, glycine, vert criquet, bleu jean or capucine
Price: From USD 6,275 (steel on rubber) to USD 21,900 (steel and gold with diamonds on bracelet)