There’s something beautiful about whimsical complications, the kind that purposely disregards the utilitarian function of a watch: that of telling time, in order to make a statement. Like the well regarded Hermès Arceau Le Temps Suspendu, the new Dressage L’Heure Masquée (literally “Time Hidden”) from the same brand continues their somewhat playful obsession, that of making the time impossible or difficult to read.
The star complication here is a monopusher in the crown that when activated, fleetingly sends the hidden hour hand (under the minute hand) to the correct position on the dial. Keep your finger on the pusher to hold the time in position as you read it, then release it again to send the hour hand back to under the minute hand.
Of course, one might question that reason why such a watch would hold any appeal, given that the basic function of a watch is to tell the time. Here then, perhaps the message that these watches embody is that sometimes, when one wants to disregard the flow of time and be in the moment, the watch can serve you in this purpose, rendering its display useless, because you are not supposed to use it anyway.
The new Dressage L’Heure Masquée differs from the Le Temps Suspendu by allowing you to read the current minute, instead of not being able to read anything at all in the latter. Coming along with a very useful GMT function, making it an ideal travelling watch, even this is not spared from the necessity of having to press a pusher to reveal your home-time.
Two pushers are responsible for the magic, with the GMT being revealed by the pusher on the left side of the case, while the hour, hidden under the ever-present minute hand, reveals itself only by pressing and holding down the pusher on the crown. Which is basically to say that the watch retains it’s hidden mode as a matter of course, and requires action on the part of the owner to recapture its function as a watch.
Coming in a rose gold and stainless steel version limited to 500 pieces, the watch contains the Calibre H1925 movement made entirely in-house. This is a watch that is easier to show than to explain. Have a look at the video below to see the mechanism in action, and to really know and feel what Hermès is trying to convey with this most beautiful complication.