Hermès watches: how a luxury scarf brand created the next great watch

The H08 was a godsend for the watch department of Hermès. In the year since its release, sales have increased by 72%. In its latest quarterly report, Hermès shared that watches are again a big winner, with an additional 62% growth, making it by far the brand’s fastest growing category. “Hermès watches have become a very successful luxury watch brand for Mr. Porter,” said Maxim de Turckheim, senior buyer for the retailer. Naturally, it was the H08 that “became our most popular watch from the brand,” he added.

The success of the H08 is a victory for Hermès, but it is also representative of a subtle change in the way watch collectors consider their next purchases.

Skepticism towards fashion brands making watches hasn’t stopped these houses from trying. Over the past few years, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana have made serious investments in timepieces with the J12, the Tambour and the very complicated Don Carlo respectively. This year, Gucci launched a collection of watches equipped with tourbillons and skeleton movements, both designed to flaunt the mechanical authenticity of a watch. What all of these watches have in common is rock-solid technical bravado. These fashion brands, which gladly installed cheap and easy-to-handle quartz movements, are now showing their evolution towards real mechanical motors in a spectacular way.

This turn towards design is the very one that has propelled Cartier to the top of the watchmaking world in recent years. As retailer Eric Ku told me last spring, “People are realizing – finally realizing – that design is just as important as the complications or other attributes that people usually talk about in what they talk about watches. .”

The H08 isn’t the only Hermès watch on the rise, either. At this year’s Watches & Wonders, Hermès launched the Arceau Le temps Voyageur, a watch that features what, at first glance, appears to be an ordinary map. Instead, the watch case features a fictional map of an imaginary horse world – where countries have names like Dressage and are, presumably, ruled by a colt – taken directly from the design of a Hermès scarf. This watch, too, has already made room for watch enthusiasts in their collections. “The H08 was kind of a gateway to the brand,” Nico said, “because now I’m seriously considering their new releases.”

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