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A Stylish All-Rounder: The New Hermès H08 Gents' Wristwatch


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The three basic varieties of the new Hermès H08 wristwatch (pic from hodinkee.com):

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Hermès is not a company name that is frequently featured on the Watch Forum, but there are reasons why this might change. In recent years, Hermès has invested considerable resources into the development of its watchmaking division, and it has done so wisely. In 2006, Hermès acquired a 25% stake in movement maker Vaucher, a sister company of Parmigiani, and by 2013 it had taken over case maker Joseph Erard Holding and Swiss dial maker Natéber. A number of models have flowed from Hermès with this new-found watchmaking confidence including Marc Berthier’s Carré H, culminating to date in the new H08 all-purpose men’s wristwatch, designed all in-house as a collaboration between Véronique Nichanian (Creative Director), Pierre-Alexis Dumas (Artistic Director at Hermès), and Philippe Delhotal (Artistic Director at Hermès Horloger). One might fear that this collaboration would have committed the cardinal sin of “design by committee” and resulted in something aesthetically mediocre or overcomplicated, but in fact, the Hermès H08 is something of a triumph - a stylish and distinctive go-anywhere gents’ watch where complex aesthetic and practical elements have been skilfully blended together into a cohesive, deceptively simple, whole. It would seem that the watch wears well on the wrist, with the rounded contours and short lugs belying the 39 mm case width. Although I don’t really like the term “all-terrain” which seems to be the de rigueur term in the reviews as a descriptor of the H08, it does convey one of the main ambitions for the watch as proposed by Hermès.

 

 

 

The Hermès graphene and ceramic H08 on its black rubber strap (pics from Hermes.com):

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In reviewing the design of the Hermès H08, my first instinct was to describe the watch in terms of conventionally defined components. However, after attempting to write such a piece of text, I realized that conventional analysis and description proved to be too clumsy and simplistic, and I have decided to essentially leave out such textual information and rely on the photographic pictures to do the talking. What I will say is that the aesthetic design of the H08 plays firstly on the layering of shapes one on another when viewed from above, secondly on the subtle use of curves and the rounding of edges, and thirdly on different textures from brushed to highly polished chamfers and surfaces. And that is only the start. In addition, we have an interesting and original font for the applied main dial numbers, a suitably unobtrusive date window at the 4.30 position, the use of a dial chapter ring within which the hour hand and the orange-tipped, centrally-pivoted, arrow sweep hand move, and a nicely proportioned skeletonized minute hand. The back of the watch has not been ignored either, with an attractive display through the rear crystal.

The Hermès H08 comes in a choice of three flavours, all sized and shaped the same in their 39 mm X 39 mm X 10.6 mm thick cases - designated as titanium, matt black DLC-coated titanium, and thirdly, graphene composition and ceramic. Titanium and DLC coating are well-known materials but graphene is a relative newcomer to the horological scene, so I will deal with the graphene and ceramic version of the H08 first. Graphene is an allotrope of carbon, six times lighter than steel and apparently 200 times stronger. In the graphene with ceramic H08, the case only is in this new lightweight material while the bezel and crown are in polished black ceramic. This version of the H08 is intensely black with a black gold-coated dial and chapter ring, black nickel-coated numerals lumed with grey Super-LumiNova, black rubber strap with titanium butterfly clasp and a black-tinted rear crystal.

 

 

 

Wrist shot and rear view of the black DLC-coated titanium Hermès H08 (pics from monochromewatches.com):

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Four views of the titanium H08 with matching titanium bracelet (pics from top, monochromewatches.com, next two from hermes.com, and bottom picture from hodinkee.com):

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The two titanium versions of the H08 both have a black nickel-coated dial with a slightly darker gold-coated chapter ring; the dial numerals are rhodium-plated. The two-tone black DLC-coated titanium version with black nickel-coated hands is available with a black or orange rubber strap, or a blue or black/anthracite webbing strap, and it features a brushed titanium bezel above the black-coated titanium case. The plain titanium colourway has a brushed titanium bezel and case, and rhodium-plated hands, and this version is available with either a black or orange rubber strap, a black/charcoal or blue webbing strap, or, more importantly, a titanium bracelet with brightly polished middle links shaped like rounded rectangles and sleek brushed outer links. Clasps on all the straps are in titanium, and both titanium versions are lumed with white Super-Luminova.

Other specifications so far not mentioned and fielded by all three versions of the H08 include the following: titanium display caseback fixed with screws, sapphire crystal front and back, screw down crown and 100 metres water resistance. All three iterations of the H08 are powered by the same movement, the Vaucher-made caliber H1837, first introduced at Hermès in the Dressage collection back in 2012. This caliber was the first in-house movement done for Hermès after they acquired a 25% stake in Vaucher in 2006 (with the Sandoz Family Foundation/Parmigiani owning the majority stake). Unlike their micro-rotor movements, the three hands plus date, 28J, H1837 automatic movement has a full central rotor together with a double barrel. It operates at a frequency of 28,800 vph/4Hz and has a power reserve of 50 hours; decoration essentially comprises the repeating H-pattern that has become standard for the brand.

According to the review of the H08 by Bilal Khan in “A Blog To Watch” dated 6 April this year, prices for the watch are as follows: H08 in titanium on strap, US$5,500; titanium version on titanium bracelet, US$6,050; titanium with black DLC on strap US$5,700; graphene with strap, US$8,900. I am not going say much here on the question of value for money in this introduction; Hermès is an unashamedly luxury brand with a particular following for its house style and quality, and the H08 would seem to be priced accordingly, with perhaps some leeway to attract new customers to the brand. The H08 will no doubt divide opinion quite markedly among watch collectors generally; I personally like this watch very much and find the design satisfying enough that I would happily have an H08 sitting on my wrist through almost all of my activities and occasions.

 

 

 Black DLC-coated titanium H08 with blue webbing strap (pics from ablogtowatch.com):

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I really, really like it. I think it inspired my budget buys of the Larrson & Jennings watch and also the Briston I purchased in the past month, trying a similar look.

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STOP PRESS: I now have the latest Sterling prices for the Hermès H08 from Hermes.com; when I wrote the above topic, the Hermès website was temporarily out of action. Prices are as follows:

Titanium H08 with titanium bracelet - £4,890

Titanium H08 with rubber strap - £4,440

Graphene and ceramic H08 with black rubber strap - £7,250

Black DLC-coated titanium with webbing strap - £4,620

Black DLC-coated titanium with rubber strap - £4,620

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Always"watching" said:

STOP PRESS: I now have the latest Sterling prices for the Hermès H08 from Hermes.com; when I wrote the above topic, the Hermès website was temporarily out of action. Prices are as follows:

Titanium H08 with titanium bracelet - £4,890

Titanium H08 with rubber strap - £4,440

Graphene and ceramic H08 with black rubber strap - £7,250

Black DLC-coated titanium with webbing strap - £4,620

Black DLC-coated titanium with rubber strap - £4,620

 

 

 

Bargain!

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I don’t mind round and I don’t mind square (well, at least, rectangular) but for some reason my mind doesn’t cope easily with the circle within the square. And at 39 mm x 39 mm, that is a relatively huge case with a lot of spare acreage.

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A well written post , Honour , thank you for posting . I like the look of the watches , but like others have said , the date window just doesn't look right . Now if there was a non date version within my budget , I would certainly think of purchasing one :thumbsup:

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Something a bit different, having its own style, some interesting touches eg font and second hand, nicely finished and I do like the look overall.

Would be better without 'Paris' on the dial IMO but it's the date window at 4:30 is real no-no for me personally.

We are talking Speedy money unfortunately, which is well outwith my budget anyway, but thanks for the write-up @Always"watching" :thumbsup:

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2 hours ago, WRENCH said:

I've just read this again, and it's a "grower".

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:thumbsup:

 

I do like that strap, and the black rubber one, but I'm not keen on the bracelet, looks too fancy for my taste, similar to an old Gucci watch I had.

 

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