Hermès : Parallel illusions

The watch : Hermès – 38mm Arceau Le temps suspendu
A watch that stops time in its tracks, offering a welcome break in a daily existence ruled by the notion of speed. This is the spirit in which the Arceau Le temps suspendu was created. Its 38 mm case has a button that may be pushed to bring the hour and minute hands to a halt near 12 o’clock. As the only witness to the ongoing course of time, confirming that stopping the latter is merely an illusion, a mischievous seconds hand untiringly continues sweeping counter-clockwise on a small graduated subdial. A further push on the button allows time to resume its course. This poetic game is made possible by the use of an ingenious 360° retrograde hours and minutes mechanism protected by two patents.


The monument : Metropol Parasol , Seville, by J. Mayer H. Architects
The renovation programme of the Plaza de la Encarnación, in old Seville, comprises an archaeology museum, a market and a square covered by a strip-board wooden structure. Metropol Parasol is a large infrastructure that measures 150 by 70 m and is approximately 26 m high – all in a climate characterised by high temperatures that test the materials used to the utmost. The project to redesign the Plaza de Encarnaciòn is a very particular undertaking. The urban area is reinterpreted here and the esplanade is partially covered with a wooden roof. This makes it look something like a large urban living space. The proposed roof, fitted between the buildings marking the boundaries of the square, stands out from the square geometry of the square and features a random shape. This establishes a visual play between the various geometrical shapes and between the proportions of this area and the screening of the light caused by the “parasol”. Attention is alternately drawn to the existing elements and to the newly created infrastructure. A delicate insertion that gives the urban landscape a new look yet without turning upside down the values acquired over time, thereby creating a space where the “subtle play on light” affects the shape and daily transforms the area of the square into a place where light is reinterpreted.
Like the Metropol Parasol, the various indications – and particularly the small seconds subdial – positioned around the dial of Hermès’ Le temps suspendu watch bring to mind a playful purpose: that of the confrontation established between the underlying base or supporting element and the signage freely arranged upon it. And perhaps also of a convergence of ideas between the two above-mentioned examples, both imbued with the unutterable presence of the passing of time. As if time had indeed stood still …


Arceau Le temps suspendu 38mm
Movement : mechanical self-winding, Manufacture Calibre H1912
Case : steel Diameter : 38mm Functions : hours, minutes, seconds “time suspended” function  Strap : alligator leather

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