So if you have already shown that you can ‘suspend time’, what is there to do but to hide it as well? The word ‘whimsical’ has been used for both of these watches, but although it makes sense to see the new Dressage L’Heure Masquée this way, I see it not as whimsical, but as bold. Why so? Well it is pretty bold to wear a watch and not care much about what hour of the day it is until you decide to find out whether it’s time for a meeting, only to discover that it’s actually 3:00pm not 2:00pm, and that you’re going to have some explaining to do.
This isn’t suspending time at your desire, this isn’t a single-handed watch where you can only estimate to the nearest five minutes, this is deciding the hours don’t matter unless you decide that they do. When you do decide to find out what the time is, that’s when the magic happens. A monopusher in the crown is depressed to activate the hidden hour hand from behind the minute hand, to the correct position on the dial. The pusher must be kept down to read the time , and on release, the hour hand flies back to its hidden home.
The time isn’t the only thing that is masked, so too is a second timezone function, which is in a ‘GMT’ window at 6 o’clock. This is revealed on demand courtesy of a pusher on the left of the case, the pressing of which ‘swaps’ the static text for the time in the second time zone. The second time is advanced in hour steps by the pusher at 9 o’clock. Both of these hidden complications are powered by the automatic Hermes H1925 movement, developed and made by Vaucher Manufacture, of which Hermès owns a quarter.
This is a watch that is good fun as well as being horologically interesting. It comes in a 40.5mm case in either rose gold or steel, with stamped vertical guilloche dials. The rose gold model is limited to 500 pieces and priced at USD44,000, whilst the stainless steel is USD19,500 and limited to 1000 pieces.