Hermès Arceau Marqueterie de Paille Honors Straw Marquetry

Blue and black motifs show off Hermès tie patterns

In 2010, Hermès recreated several pieces of furniture based on Jean-Michel Frank’s furniture designs. The French interior designer known for his minimalist aesthetic and luxury materials was a strong proponent of straw marquetry, an intricate art form that has all but disappeared in recent years. Presenting such artistry on a watch dial requires an extremely complex miniaturization technique, one that differs greatly from straw marquetry in relation to furniture. The two versions of the new Arceau Marqueterie de Paille display elaborate backgrounds that show the hard work put into their production and the novelty of straw marquetry applied to watch design.

Originally designed in 1978 by Henri d’Origny, the Arceau has now been released in two new versions. They differ only in the black and blue motifs of the watches, with the trademark Hermès tie patterns of either chevrons or tiny squares, encased by the 41 mm diameter white gold case. The model also features the asymmetrical lugs from the original model, with the stirrup-fitting shape evoking images of the brand’s traditional saddle-making roots.

Manufacture Vaucher’s Calibre H1928 movement, made specifically for Hermès, self winds the two Swiss-made models. The 220-part timepieces glitter with 32 jewels, pack a 55 hour power reserve and run at 28,800 vph. The matte indigo alligator watch strap finishes the look by matching perfectly with the straw dial.

Today, only one French farm produces the rye straw needed to create these models. Already the optimal straw by virtue of its length and lack of knots, the rye still must undergo hand reaping to select the most usable parts. After mass coloration and a drying period, craftsmen subject the straw to a variety of weather conditions before being split open with a blade. Much physical strength is used in cutting up wisps before the artist configures how to assemble them. Finally, the straw marquetry is laid out in its ultimate glory on the watch dial, akin to the process needed to create leather-bound books.

The venerable House of Hermès takes considerable pride in hands-on craftsmanship, especially those involving leather, as the brand has made saddles since 1837. Many other materials, precious or humble, find their place among Hermès workmanship and join together hand coordination with brainpower to create objects that embody the brand most. The Arceau Marqueterie de Paille is thus a prime example of Hermès’ artistic expression.

Splitting colored straw open with blade
Splitting colored straw open with a thin blade

Audemars Piguet to launch new ad campaign

By Emayeneme Gbemiye-Etta

Audemars Piguet announced on January 19, 2012 that it is launching a new ad and brand identity campaign. This campaign revolves around the theme to “To break the rules, you must first master them.” The campaign reflects a departure from regular watch manufacturer’s campaign both with the type of campaign and the presentation and uses two innovative photographers: Richard Foster and Dan Holdsworth to present the campaign and products in a pictorial fashion.

Audemars Piguet watch

Audemars Piguet  is a Swiss watch company that was founded in 1875 by Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, families The Audemars Piguet trademark was registered in 1882 b officially opened its first branch in Geneva Switzerland in 1889.

Now Why the New Campaign?

The campaign is a celebration of sorts for the Audemars Piguet Company for a number of reasons:

1. 2012 is the 40 year anniversary of their Royal Oak watch, a luxury sports watch.

2. To celebrate that it is still family owned and by the same families (s) Audemars and Piguet that started the company.

3. To celebrate the innovative and modern ideas that the company embraces in their use of technology and innovative ideas in their watch making.

4. The company’s management feels that the company offers customers very good products and this campaign is to make sure that prospective customers who don’t know about the company will by the end of the campaign.

5. The campaign is also an opportunity for the company to refresh itself which is part of the tradition and “modus operandi” of being innovative and using new technology as part of its watch making tradition.

This Campaign Comes at a Good Time for a Number Of Reasons:

Valentine’s day is coming up in a couple of weeks and it is a great way for the company to place its products in the minds of possible consumers, male or female looking to buy a luxury item for a loved one.

The approach of the Olympics brings time keeping and watches into the minds of fans of the Olympics and possibly an interest in watches.

Audemars Piguet will start the campaign immediately this month and it will continue through out the year with the company as part of the campaign releasing a new product Millenary 4101 and the new Royal Oak model with a 41mm (1.614 inches) diameter and other products as part of the 2012 product collection. The campaign is also a way for the company to reinvent its traditional bearing and show itself to be a company of the modern age with innovative and technologically advanced products and the innovator in the field of watchmaking.