In the mid-to-late period of the last century, the mechanical watchmaking industry suffered heavy losses, forcing traditional watchmaking giants to explore new ways. Watches suddenly realized that they had played the role of tools and equipment for nearly 80 years. After a difficult winter in the industry, based on its own craft heritage and historical heritage, it has transformed into today’s luxury goods. Traditional luxury goods groups also seem to see the dawn of spring in the watch industry, trying to set foot in this strange and mysterious world. However, the market heavily influenced by watch culture can hardly bear these ‘heterogeneous civilizations’ lacking ‘pure watchmaking pedigree’ and is full of resistance to them. With the passage of time, the confrontation between exclusion and acceptance has begun to ease. The market has gradually found the nurturing soil in continuous exploration. People all deeply understand that traditional luxury goods groups do not lack classic culture and outstanding craftsmanship. It is how to make two different cultures communicate effectively so as to go hand in hand.
Generally speaking, brands that have entered the watch industry from other fields have not been too successful so far. Love, Lauren, Harry Winston, RAFF, etc. have not gained much market share. Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Vanke Albemarle and others also lack the approval of the mainstream watch market. Even Cartier and Montblanc, which everyone has defaulted to, are controversial in the field of fine watchmaking. However, this does not prevent close contact between multiculturalism and the watch industry. I think this should be a good thing. Sooner or later, a balanced development path will be found.
2012 Hermès Arceau Straw Dial Watch
In recent years, Hermès ‘frequent appearance in the watchmaking industry has attracted a lot of attention. Hermès has a good reputation in the luxury neighbourhood. Like many other luxury brands, Hermès’ watches are also questioned. In 2012, Hermes held the 100th anniversary of brand watchmaking. At the time, Luc Perramond, the CEO of Hermes watch company La Montre Hermès, stated that Hermès watches first wanted to attract people who already agreed with the Hermès brand culture. The customer base, if there is a watch enthusiast who also agrees with Hermès, it will be a good thing. Therefore, Hermès’ strategy is not to quickly gain a foothold in the watchmaking industry with its masters, but to enrich the needs of the original customer group. Hermès FY14 report shows that the watch business accounted for only 3% of the Hermès Group ( 4% in 2013).
Proportions of Hermes Group’s Major Businesses in 2014
Hermes and clock
In 1837, in the era when the carriage was mainly used for carriages, Hermes opened the saddle and saddle business prospectively. This was a good start. However, in addition to the well-developed transportation, Paris was also a world-famous French clock. Place of production, but Hermès has not entered this field. It wasn’t until 1912 that a photo caught people’s attention. The daughter of Jacqueline Hermès, the daughter of Emile-Maurice Hermès, the third-generation leader of Hermès, wore a watch, which was made by her father. of. But Emile itself does not make clocks, so this watch is actually a small pocket watch embedded in a leather case made by Emile.
1912 Emile’s daughter Jacqueline wears a watch her father made for her
In the 1920s, Emile expanded its original leather products business to include travel, auto parts, scarves, gloves, etc., including watches. In 1928, the first watch with the Hermès logo on the dial appeared, marking the birth of the first Hermès watch, and displayed and sold in the Hermès boutique at 24 Fubao Avenue. This watch is carefully made by the famous Swiss watchmaking brand Movado, commissioned by Hermes, using a Movado mechanical movement. In the 1930s, Movado also made a very interesting travel clock for Hermes and became a classic. Since then, Movado has provided Hermès with movements and made watches for many times.
Tavannes opening and closing watch for Hermes around 1928-1929
Since the 1930s, Hermès’ watch business has gradually expanded and is mainly divided into three parts: retailing watch products for well-known watch brands; commissioning Swiss watch brands to design and produce watches; and providing leather goods, watch boxes and other related accessories for watch brands. During this period, a number of table clocks, watches and portable clocks with Hermès logos appeared. Hermès frequently cooperated with Swiss watch brands, including Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Universal, Tavannes, and Henry Moser (portable box clocks). Wait. Among them, Jaeger-LeCoultre (for which Duo-Plan can hide the dial watch), Universal, Tavannes, Movado and Hermès have in-depth cooperation to manufacture movements and watches for them. At the same time, Hermès sells for Vacheron Constantin, Cartier and other brands Watch. At this time, in line with the Art Deco trend, Hermes also launched some pocket watches for women.
Upper left is a 1930s Hermès poster
Others: 1930s Hermès agency and cooperation brand watches
In the 1940s, chronographs continued to emerge. TAG Heuer, Vacheron Constantin, Bovet, Breitling, Omega, Rolex, Lemania and other brands launched many types of chronographs. Hermes has already (1936) teamed up with its in-depth partner Universal Geneva to launch Universal Geneva. Hermes chronograph. In the 1940s, Westma made an interesting doctor’s watch for Hermes (in addition to timing, it also has a pulse meter, tachymeter and other functions), which should be considered one of the earliest doctor’s watches. Tavannes has a similar relationship with Hermès, making a large size (38 mm diameter, 14 mm thick) waterproof chronograph. Because the chronograph has active buttons, waterproofing is much more difficult to make, so the brands that were able to make waterproof chronographs in the early days were more proud. In addition, some other types of timepieces have appeared, including openable and retractable timepieces, and chain-type timepieces.
1940’s Tavannes (two from left) and West Malaysia’s chronograph for Hermès
Left: 1940s Jaeger-LeCoultre linked watch for Hermès. Top right: Hermès table clock from Swiss Pontifa-Audoine movement in the 1940s.
Bottom right: Box clock made by Movado for Hermes in the 1940s
From the 1950s to the 1970s, Robert Dumas (the son-in-law of Emile), a fourth-generation leader of Hermès, was a silk scarf designer. He vigorously promoted the business development of leather bags, jewelry and other accessories, but the watch business slowed down. . During this period, Hermès ‘watch category had few bright spots. There were indeed a lot of small ladies’ watches and some portable clocks, but in general, Hermès mainly focused on watch brands with brand names and wrists with its own logo. The tables are not so rich. Jaeger-LeCoultre worked very closely with Hermès, and launched double logo products for it in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Hermes had acted as Rolex brand retail watch during this period. At that time, it was not expected that the Paul Newman Daytona watch would have such an important “position in the lake” today. The gold version 6241 watch with Hermes stamp on the case, 2013 Christie’s Geneva spring auction was sold for 410,000 Swiss francs, and 569,000 Swiss francs were sold at the Phillips auction on November 7 this year (sold on November 30, 1971).
1960s other products
1968 Rolex 6241 Paul Newman Daytona (back with Hermes stamp)
Although the watch in 1912 was not the first Hermes watch in a pure sense, it can be known from this that Emile at that time had begun to touch the clock and germinated the idea of transforming a traditional pocket watch into a watch. , And laid the groundwork for Hermès’ watch and clock business. For more than 60 years, Hermès has continued to cooperate with watch brands. Hermès is responsible for design, and Swiss movement watch factory is responsible for production. At the same time, Hermès sells watches as their retailer. Dumas took office and founded La Montre Hermes. Hermes started to produce watches by itself and really entered the field of watch manufacturing. Since then, Hermès has begun a new journey in watchmaking.