Falling snow makes for incredible imagery, especially when the cold white powder falls from the sky and blankets the ground. And although this white shroud completely covers the environment, it still allows us to recognize structures via their silhouettes. The Hermès Sertie Neige watch, which roughly translates into “snow setting” watch, is very reminiscent of the scene described. The iconic Hermès Cape Cod style case was chosen for the Sertie Neige, only it appears to be dipped in a sticky bath of precious diamonds. Stones cover the entire case and dial in a seemingly organic fashion—as though snow had fallen directly onto and covered one of the brand’s most recognizable timepieces. A mere round or rectangular case would not have had the same effect, as Cape Cod cases are easily recognized by their curved lugs integrated into the sides of the case, and their middle protrusions out of the top and bottom of the case.
The non-symmetrical approach to the diamond decoration is where the “snow setting” name is derived from. The aesthetic is meant to look more natural as opposed to engineered, though the construction is anything but. The design structure of the watch is almost ironic: natural stones are plucked from the earth, meticulously selected, cut, shaped, and polished. They are then set by hand to look as though they were meant to fit together like a puzzle. In reality, the ecosystem of jewels on this watch is highly curated, ensuring a look and tactile feel rarely found in the world of jewelry watches.
Hermès watchmakers have dutifully selected more than 1,100 diamonds for the Sertie Neige, a task often more time consuming than the actually manufacturing of the complex timepiece. Stones must be chosen in such a way that they act in concert with each other—meaning that adjacent stones must be of a similar height, color, compatible shape, and luster. They must then be handset in the 18k gold case to ensure maximum quality and a seamless look.
Hermès wanted the Sertie Neige to have a carpet-like feel, so that running your finger over the diamonds on the case would reveal a smooth, welcoming touch. Like the case, the entire dial is covered in diamonds and is encased in a sapphire crystal and the hands are baton style. The Hermès branding plaque on the dial is an important visual feature in the otherwise stark (if you discount the diamonds) design.
Inside is a Swiss quartz movement, but a mechanical tourbillon version with an Hermès Caliber H 8930 movement is also available. Built for ladies, the tonneau-shaped watch is 30mm wide by 33mm tall. With diamonds all over, the style takes on a new life, coated in supreme luxury and boasting a black alligator strap.
If you would like one of these outstanding watches, visit the Hermès boutique in New York City. Production is highly limited and based upon the number of orders.
$148,000 | www.hermes.com