Written by Chaz Nash
Three renowned Houses of artistry and time collaborated to engineer and design the amazing Atmos Hermès clock.
Manufactures Hermès, Jaegar-LeCoultre and Les Cristalleries de St. Louis united their collective knowledge of art, science and materials to forge an innovatively diametrical sphere of horology. Their collective collaboration is a three-dimensional visionary translation of technical philosophy meets fine craftsmanship that masterfully conveys one language – the Living Essence of Time.
The Atmos Hermès clock is an artistic marriage of glass and metal innovatively enveloped into a handcrafted crystal sphere housing a self-sustaining perpetual movement.
Hermès entrusted Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre to develop the scientific self-sustaining perpetual movement inside the Atmos clock. It is amazing because Atmos operates without the use of a battery or electrical current; it merely uses air – that’s right it breathes (so to speak). Atmos incredible feat is due to a hermetically sealed capsule filled with a mixture of gases. The gases expand inside the capsule when the temperature rises and contracts when the temperature falls. This same capsule is also connected to the mainspring of the clock and acts like a concertina consistently winding the movement. This mechanism is so sensitive that a mere one-degree temperature difference is said to be enough to power it for an entire 48 hours. Atmos balance oscillates twice a minute allowing it to consume less energy in contrast to that of a classic wristwatch which oscillates an average of 300 times consuming 250 times as much of energy.
The Crystal Sphere
Hermès communicated the vision of Atmos to Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis, who in turn meticulously designed and handcrafted the crystal sphere housing the amazing movement of the clock. Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis master glassblowers employed blowpipes to collect molten white enamel and fashion it into a ball known as a gather; a process that involved glass blowing, consistent heating and shaping of the gather using a mailloche or shaping block as well as layering overlays of white enamel. This glass blowing process goes through multiple technical techniques and processes until the glass mass reveals transparent pearl-like beads, which are polished to present subtle light effects. The sphere is worked, cooled and reheated until it weighs approximately 10 kilos, it is then perforated allowing for the insertion of the mechanism. The laborious complexity and painstaking artistry employed in the making of the Atmos crystal sphere is scantily address here but the overall process requires the efforts of four master glassmakers to create the elaborate exterior of the Atmos clock.
Hermès, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis collaborative efforts demonstrates the diametrical flexibilities that horology and art can achieve in the visionary translation of time. A visionary translation that makes the Atmos Hermès clock a limited edition of only 176-pieces. The Atmos Hermès is indeed a clock that the Houses of art and time built speaking a language that is the living essence of time.