The Supremely Covetable Hermès x Hodinkee Watch Collab
"We always loved the Slim d'Hermès," says Ben Clymer, founder and CEO of Hodinkee, the site for watch cognoscenti that has grown in 10 years from blog, to polished hub, to strap store, to purveyor of one-off collaborations with a range of houses. Anyone who is into watches knows that you can throw yourself quickly down the horological rabbit hole here and happily never see daylight again. Or you can just skim the surface of all that is breathtaking and covetable in watchmaking daily, from bargain buy to grail watch.
"To us, the Slim represented the future of clean design," says Clymer. So, after a series of carefully managed collaborations with Swatch, Omega, and others, and an unhurried getting-to-know-you period, Hodinkee today releases a strictly short run of unique Slim d'Hermès watches, available exclusively at the Hodinkee Shop.
The original Slim is a modern classic, designed by the brand's in-house creative director, Philippe Delhotal, and launched by Hermès in 2015. It's an exercise in the playful restraint for which the venerable French luxury house is loved. To perfect the dial, the watch division drew on the skills of Parisian typographer Philippe Apeloig, who created the modern—yet vaguely deco—arabic numerals that are its defining characteristic. "That's pretty special," continues Clymer. "It's the charm of Hermès."
Much of that charm lies in the the ability of the resolutely privately owned fashion house to be both with-it and timeless. Nothing, in watchmaking circles at least, was so brain-knittingly surprising—and yet so right—as the 2016 launch of the Apple Watch Hermès, a combination of first generation Apple Watch with the iconic double-wrap leather straps made by hand in Hermès' own ateliers.
In the last 10 years Hermès—with characteristic lack of fuss or fanfare—has taken its own watchmaking to new levels of perfection, turning its production largely vertical so that many movements, dials, and cases are now all made and assembled under one roof. "The house has upped the level of in-houseness—if that is, in fact, a word—to a higher degree than many pure watch manufacturers do," Clymer explains. "That really appeals to watch guys".
Two watches, the three-hand Slim and the Slim GMT (with a second time function), were tweaked in subtle ways by Hermès and Hodinkee to make up the tiny capsule. "We wanted to add a little depth to it, so we gave the blue dial a deeper hue," says Clymer. "And to add a little romance, we smoked the crystal very slightly around the rim," The Slim itself (limited to 100 pieces priced at $7,650) and the GMT version (just 24 pieces, $14,700) has gone on sale through Hodinkee. You can't even buy these watches from Hermès. Talk about exclusivity.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.