Miniature paintings are the next big thing for the Slim d’Hermès collection
Draw me a tiger
The amount of detail you can squeeze onto a dial is surprisingly limitless. You only have to take a look at the new Slim d'Hermès collection — with two out of three novelties measuring only 39.5mm and a unique one-of-a-kind piece sized at 41mm — to be mindblown. Crafted from a camel bone dial and decorated with the age-old oriental technique of Persian miniature painting, this is uncharted watchmaking territory Hermès has embarked on, and is perhaps their most ambitious artisanal effort to date.
Under the deft hands of expert craftsmen, the imaginarium of the House comes in life in lush illustrations, representing the vibrancy and re-inventive spirit of Hermès when it comes to time. Using elements directly inspired from their silk scarf prints, the 'Dans un Jardin Anglais' motif by Alice Shirley and Philippe Ledoux's 'Promenade de Longchamp' are re-imagined onto the Slim d'Hermès, including a one-off design that came about from creative carte blanche; the Arceau Tyger Tyger. Perfect objet d'art pieces, this crossover of expertise and know-how between horology and the arts is so flawless, we reckon you can't help but marvel at a little helplessly.
To that end, here's the artistic process for the infinitely curious:
1. Natural pigments made from saffron, walnut, henna, pomegranate, lapis lazuli, turquoise, gold leaf and silver leaf are assembled. These will go onto a bone powder and resin dial base, creating a porous surface that will absorb the colours.
2. Gum Arabic, also known as acacia gum, is used to mix the designs in place. Both motifs are meticulously hand-painted onto the dial by delicately applying pigments with the tip of an extremely fine brush. A discreet layer of protective varnish finishes these Persian miniatures.
3. With the Arceau Tyger Tyger, its enamel dial utilises glass powder to manipulate the life-like vegetation surrounding the tiger, after undergoing various skillful and elaborate firings.
4. The majestic feline takes shape with the placing of tiny gold wires marking off the surfaces to be enamelled.
5. The cloisonné enamel technique then comes into play, finishing the dial off with a brilliant vivacity.