Style / World of Watches (WOW)

New Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune redefines the Moon Phase

It’s not the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, it’s not even a new novelty but what is it about the new Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune that makes it such a compelling moon phase complication?

Apr 28, 2020 | By Jonathan Ho

One of the new New Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune rendered in Blue Pearl dial which has an artistic effect reminiscent of tortoise shell. Lapis Lazuli and Blue Pearl Arceau L’heure de la lune is serially produced, priced at $33,200

The Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune is not the maison’s new Moon Phase. It’s not even a celebration of the moon landing 51 years ago, but it’s still an important update for a novelty which was officially unveiled last year. The new Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune redefines the Moon Phase simply because what I thought I witnessed last year was already the pinnacle accomplishment in haute horlogerie in terms of the moon phase complication.

When it was first launched in 2019, the Arceau L’heure de la lune overturned centuries of watchmaking know-how and design. The oldest watchmaking complication in the book, the visible phase of the moon’s sunlit side, is displayed according to an Earthling’s perspective. A lunar movement completes in 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds, that’s the mathematical component of the watchmaking equation, required to cut the gear teeth to account for and work in tandem with the gear train already computing the 24 hours of the day.

One of our favourite New Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune with a “mossy” green Martian meteorite almost hinting at new life in a new frontier. The most expensive, it comes in limited production of two, price on application

New Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune redefines the Moon Phase with Black Sahara meteorite, Lunar meteorite and Martian meteorite

That still leaves the design of a moon phase complication unaccounted for.  A common version typically displays two moons on a rotating disc, one of them obscured as the other is shown through a shaped semi-circle aperture at a cardinal point of the dial. It’s an ingenious solution, the shaped aperture obscures part of the moon in the shape of a waning or waxing crescent, which then translates visually as the correct phase of the lunar cycle. Over the years, other watchmakers have experimented with various of the theme, rendering the moon phase larger or more artistically but basically executed according to those pioneering principles but what the Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune did, was re-write the book on “how to create a moon phase complication”.

Jean Francois Mojon of Chronode, worked with Hermes in creating the Arceau L’heure de la lune. For the first time, the master of “visible” complications where one typically sees the exposed gearworks behind the magic of the innovation like those of other projects he’s done (the Klepcys Tourbillon Vertical and the Opus X comes to mind), has hidden the mystery behind the Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune. It was something that World of Watches got Mr. Mojon to grudgingly admit – that he was rather surprised and pleased with the outcome because he truly believed in displaying the openwork for all to admire. But more importantly, though the mathematical principles remained the same, for once, and under the auspices of La Montres Hermes, the Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune exhibited the correct depiction of the earth’s only natural satellite, regardless of your geographical vantage point in the world.

The New Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune with black sahara meteorite dial is least colourful yet the most gorgeously sophisticated of them all. Price: $54,100

As fellow editor Ruckdee Chotjinda pointed out, “The moon is an astronomical, cultural and even philosophical object. For Hermès, this is the perfect pretext to talk about the skies and the realm beyond.” Its predecessor model had raised the bar with two mother of pearl moon discs set on a bed of aventurine stars, but then the new Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune excelled in 2020 with its twin mobile counters orbit a lunar, Martian or Black Sahara meteorite dial, revealing mother-of-pearl moons in step with Mojon’s exclusive module, coupled with a Manufacture Hermès movement and this is what makes the 2020 Arceau L’heure de la lune a definitive evolutionary step up from its predecessor. 

Our favourite: New 2020 Arceau L’heure de la lune executed with lunar meteorite with accompanying lacquered brown subdials – sublime execution

Meteorite inlaid with mother-of-pearl form a cosmos in which satellite dials float above hemispherical moons. The new Hermes Arceau L’heure de la lune sees the hemispheres swapped, with the south above and the north below, its unexpected for watchmaking (unsurprising for Hermes, makers of Le Temp Suspendu), causing observers to lose their bearings, and have heads metaphorically in the stars.

The horse, a recognisable nod to the legacy of Hermès, takes a place of prominence among the stars. At 12 o’clock, the moon is adorned by a Pegasus designed by the “dreamer-designer” Dimitri Rybaltchenko. Itself, a work of art titled: Pleine Lune (Full Moon), no other timepiece bears art within itself. The double moon of the new  Arceau L’heure de la lune eclipses a traditional aperture-type display, instead covering the entire surface of the dial. The result is a free-spirited and impertinent vision of mechanical watchmaking according to Hermès. 

New 2020 Arceau L’heure de la lune Price & Specs

Movement self-winding H1837 movement with “L’heure de la lune” module and 38 hours power reserve
Case 43mm white gold case
Strap Leather
Price of Hermes Arceau
L’heure de la lune from US$33,200


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