Hello everyone! In this article, I’ll be featuring my recent watch acquisition, the Hermes Arceau Squelette.
This is essentially a series where I shine a spotlight on my personal purchases. I’ve previously done similar articles on my Kurono Tokyo Toki, IWC Mark XVIII Le Petit Prince, TAG Heuer Monaco CAW211B, Tissot PRX Powermatic 80, Bell & Ross BR 05, Santos de Cartier, Tudor Black Bay 58 Blue, Ming 17.09, Grand Seiko SBGA413 “Shunbun”, and most recently my Swatch X Omega MoonSwatch “Mission to the Sun”. In this article, I’ll showcase my latest purchase – the Hermes Arceau Squelette.
When I told my WIS friends that I was planning to pick up a Hermes, I was met with incredulity. “But…Hermes isn’t a legit watch brand,” many said. Well, I disagree. For one, Hermes has a 25% stake in Vaucher – yes, that Vaucher, which provides movements for haute horology brands such Parmagiani Fluerier, Richard Mille, and high-end Hermes timepieces. Secondly, the Hermes Arceau L’Heure De La Lune is one of my absolute grail watches, something I would sell my kidney for (especially the lapis lazuli dial variant). Unfortunately, I can’t afford a S$50K watch at the moment, but I’ve always appreciated the whimsical nature of Hermes watches, in particular the asymmetrical Arceau line.
So I began looking at other watches in the Arceau line, and I chanced upon the Arceau Squelett and fell in love with the design. Not only does it have the Arceau’s signature asymmetrical case, but also Hermes’ trademark typography. It’s distinctive, whimsical, and just full of flair. The smoked skeleton dial is visually striking too. I’ve always been a big fan of skeletonised dials, but this is the first time I’ve seen a smoked rendition. It gives the watch mystery and sophistication, and it is absolutely enthralling.
Critics will point towards the use of a Sellita movement in the Arceau Squelette as evidence that Hermes isn’t a “real” watchmaker. Would I have preferred an in-house Vaucher movement? Of course. But do I think it’s a dealbreaker? Far from it. For one, the movement is nicely decorated – the rotor is particularly intricate, while the entire movement boasts perlage decoration. Secondly, it keeps the price relatively affordable, at least as far as Hermes watches go. And let’s be honest – no one buys a Hermes watch for the technical innovations of the movement.
Instead, the strength of Hermes has always been its unimitable design – it’s elegant but also casual. I’ve worn it with Uniqlo clothing (as seen above), but also in a suit, and in both situations the Arceau Squelette felt right at home. It’s eminently versatile, making it a great grab-and-go watch. It’s a strap monster too, looking great when paired with both crocodile and shell cordovan straps.
Up close, the details shine even brighter. Notice how the numerals aren’t filled, but are merely outlined in white. The same goes for the minute track, which consists of miniature dots outlined in white with larger dots at 5-minute intervals. The slender leaf hands add to the elegance of the timepiece, while the perlaging of the movement is visually obvious even through the smoked dial. And as the icing on the cake, the beating balance wheel at 12 o’clock is mesmerising – I’ve found myself staring at it for seconds at a time. It reinforces my love for skeletonised watches, and it made me wonder why it took me so long to add one to my personal collection.
When I first started out in my watch-collecting journey, I was a bit of a watch snob. I’ll look for qualities such as in-house movements, brand heritage, resale value, etc. As time passed, I simply bought what I actually like, instead of what looked good on paper, or whatever Youtubers/journalists are championing. In fact, I realised I’ve developed a liking for “unpopular” watches. Sure, a Rolex Submariner ticks all the boxes, but it seems every Tom, Dick and Harry has one. Now, I’m not saying that the Hermes Arceau Squelette is a better watch than a Rolex Submariner, but it certainly is something different.
And sometimes, that makes all the difference.
Hermes Arceau Squelette – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the watch, do watch my Youtube review of the Hermes Arceau Squelette below:
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P.P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.