Hermes watches: 1000 glass flowers mark the passing hours on the new Arceau Millefiori

Artisanal glassmaking techniques and fine Swiss watchmaking converge to create unique pieces of art in Hermès' new Arceau Millefiori watches.

Hermès Arceau Millefiori watch in raspberry pink.

By Rebecca Doulton in Madrid

The millenary art of glassmaking meets fine Swiss watchmaking in Hermès' new Arceau Millefiori watches. The Hermès Arceau watch, with its stirrup-inspired lugs, has been decorated with a colourful mantle of thousands of miniature glass flowers crafted by Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis in France, the same company that has been blowing life into glass paperweights and other objets d'art since 1586.

In fact, the 2013 Atmos table clock, a joint collaboration between Jaeger-LeCoultre and Hermès, boasts an ethereal crystal dome created by Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis, perforated with circular portholes  for a view of its extraordinary movement, which relies on tiny variations in temperature to keep it ticking in aeternum.

Hermès, the company that 'speaks with its hands', is something of an anachronism in the galaxy of luxury goods and, to this day, one of the oldest family-owned and run companies in France. Possibly the last bastion of superlative craftsmanship, Hermès has never questioned its slow, artisanal approach to production, and it came as no surprise when Hermès bought the historic Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis in 1995.

The process of making a crystal dial inspired by 19th century Millefiori paperweights is artisanal to the core. Artisans blow, twirl, stretch and fire the molten 'gob' to create the colourful canes or rods that in turn will be assembled to form a Millefiori (thousand flowers) motif. Lined up like sticks of barley sugar or candy canes, the rods containing crystal and enamel are cut into 7mm portions and arranged vertically in a cast-iron bowl to form a carpet of flowers. The flowers are then protected by a clear crystal dome, which in turn is whittled down to a wafer-thin crystal to become the dial.

The Arceau Millefiori is presented in both pocket watch and wristwatch models. The 48mm white gold pocket watch features a Millefiori dust cover to protect the dial and Hermès manufacture self-winding movement with a power reserve of 50 hours. The Hermès watches, available in diameters of 34 and 41mm, are crafted from white gold with colourful Millefiori dials, including a vibrant pink model offset by 60 diamonds on the bezel. Both watches are equipped with beautifully decorated in-house self-winding movements, which can be viewed through the sapphire crystal caseback.

Editor's Pick

The Jewellery Editor is for sale

Help us make the future bright

Since founding The Jewellery Editor in 2010, we have grown our digital magazine to be the number one global source of information and inspiration for fine jewellery and luxury watches.

3,500 articles, 150 videos and a reach of over 2 million per month on social media later, we have offered unparalleled and highly respected coverage of our sector. However, despite our editorial success, we are financially struggling as an independent publisher.

Entirely funded, owned and run by Christine and Maria in London, we are now looking to sell The Jewellery Editor so that it can continue to grow in the hands of a different owner. As e-commerce becomes a priority in our industry, we believe there is huge potential for engaging editorial content and are seeking a buyer who shares our values and passion so that under their guidance we can give a bright future to the platform.

We can’t commit to financing the website for much longer so if we don’t manage to initiate any meaningful conversations in the next few weeks, the website will be frozen on 1st April 2018. If and when we find a suitable partner we will revive it and take it to the next stage.

If you are interested to discuss the above, please contact [email protected]

Alternatively, if you are willing to help, you can donate so that in the meantime, we can continue to publish more interesting content.

Terms and conditions

Shop this article

READ MORE

RECOMMENDED

MOST POPULAR

We use our own and third party cookies to improve your experience and our services. If you continue, we consider that you accept their use. You can get more information on your website at cookies policy.