Anchoring the corner of fashionable Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and quiet Rue Boissy d’Anglas, and a block away from Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Garden, sits Hermès’ hulking Paris emporium and headquarters. The impressive flagship houses not only the gorgeous Hermès boutique and offices, but also a new Émile Hermès Museum, which features a collection of antiquities that embody the heart of the brand’s beginnings.
The grandson of founder Thierry, Émile was mostly responsible for the brand’s expansion beyond saddlery and for establishing a foothold beyond France. While the museum isn’t open to the public, a handful of journalists (myself included) were treated to a walk through the space, which reminded me of a very well-kept attic of a very wealthy grandfather — or so I would imagine if I had a very wealthy grandfather.
It was a treasure trove of historical curiosities (e.g. the first walking stick Émile ever acquired, intricate travel cases with gold finishings, equestrian saddles, bits and stirrups, et cetera) that contributed and shaped the heritage of La Montre Hermès and were preserved as meticulously as one would expect from the brand. Also on display was the first “wristwatch” Hermès ever constructed, which dates to 1912.
In actuality, it was a pocket watch with a clever leather attachment that allowed it to be worn on the wrist, and its inclusion in the museum presentation was a nice segue for another first for the brand.