Haute Time Dubai recently had the chance to sit down with Luc Perramond, CEO of La Montre Hermès, during the brand’s ‘Of Mastery and Time’ exhibition in Dubai. Here is our exclusive interview:
Haute Time: What made the ‘Of Mastery and Time’ exhibition so unique, and how did you choose which watches to display?
Luc Perramond: The exhibition is dedicated to pieces of exception to highlight Hermès’ expertise in watchmaking and the ‘métiers d’art’: Haute Horlogerie, Métiers d’Art, precious pieces, Le Temps Suspendu (platinum and gold), as well as Manufacture pieces (in gold). The exhibition plays with time illustrated by the binary rhythm of day and night. The time of day and brightness, characterized by a set of sun beams, with zenithal tower showcases where watches are exposed. The profound blue of the night, that invites customers to discover the details of our precious timepieces within the milky sweetness atmosphere of moonlight.
HT: What is the philosophy behind La Montre Hermès and how does it differ from other watch brands?
LP: Its singular, elegant, discreet and refined style, yet still expressing a strong identity. The quality of the materials, the movements, the assembly and the finishing. The excellence of the leather, calfskin or alligator straps that are hand-finished by the leather craftsmen in our leather workshops. And the expression of a certain philosophy of time – Time to Dream – with technical innovations.
The first model to express this philosophy was the Cape Cod Grandes Heures in 2008 which expresses the time differently and according to customer’s expectations. Hermès offers complex mechanisms that are singular.
The second step was taken in 2011 with the launch of a complication which again offers an unconventional relationship with time. The Arceau Le Temps Suspendu has given us the possibility of maintaining simple time read-off along with a very elegant touch. This year, we have developed a new complication to make our customers dream with a playful function called Dressage L’Heure Masquée, where only the minute can be seen as a normal time reader so that you can enjoy the time for yourself. This is time made to measure, time that is tamed…Such models convey the special relationship Hermès has always cultivated with time: time is a friend. One can tame it and not merely be subject to its constraints, but instead enjoy its company.
We always work with the same objective in mind: offering our customers extremely high-quality products which highlight our distinctive skills, and complications that stand out from conventional complications.
HT: What makes Hermès’ 2014 novelties so unique, for example the Arceau Temari?
LP: Hermès was very excited to present this year’s watches, which are strengthening the legitimacy in watchmaking that we have built over a century. Firstly, we have built the next chapter around the Time to Dream territory after the Arceau Le Temps Suspendu, with the new Dressage L’Heure Masquée. Then, we are relaunching a collection in the Cape Cod line for women which highlights an innovation with an exclusive new silver alloy. And finally, there are also important novelties with the exceptional pieces, especially one which is a craftsmanship which has never been used in the watch industry before. This novelty has been developed with La Cristallerie Saint-Louis (which has been owned by Hermès since 1995). We are using the millefiori technique applied on the paperweight to make exceptional crystal dials. The Arceau Temari presents also a very strong craftsmanship which is the stone marquetry and diamonds settings highlighting the Hermès creativity.
HT: There has been a notable increase in the interest for luxury watches in the UAE over the last year. What changes have you witnessed in the market for high-end watches over the last year? To what do you attribute the increased interest?
LP: Customers are looking for high quality watches from brands endowed with a heritage, genuine craftsmanship skills and unique creativity. The relationship between Hermès and Time is very strong. The first timepieces date back to the early 1920s, when we cooperated with well-known Swiss watch manufacturers. In all the products it creates, Hermès aims to present objects of the highest quality reflecting a long-term strategy, and that therefore naturally implies making high-end watches embodying all the values of the House.
The value of Hermès linked to the heritage of the House has been an asset for the UAE also. The Hermès watch business in the Middle East is growing very fast since 2 years at a double digit growth. We shall continue growing a double rate digit for the next coming years.
HT: Have you observed a clientele that is more knowledgeable about the watch industry than before?
LP: Absolutely. They are better informed and are looking for high quality timepieces. At Hermès, we notice this evolution thanks to their interest into more exceptional timepieces showing high craftsmanship and creativity and into manufacture watches.
HT: What particular brands do you find UAE watch collectors particularly lean towards?
LP: They are looking for brands which are protecting the integrity of their equity and maintaining a long-term vision while resisting short-term commercial temptations.
HT: What do you think is in store for the future – for La Montre Hermès and for the watch industry in general in the Middle East?
LP: It lies in remaining loyal to the values of the brand. At Hermès: an elegant and discreet style, beautifully crafted products, and strong creativity.