Hermès - An unusual interpretation of its Pendentif Boule

September 2015

Hermès introduces an unusual interpretation of its Pendentif Boule by exploring the art of cloisonné enamelling. The unique demands of this unique skill are rendered all the more complex by the rounded nature of the back of the watch on which the enameller creates a unique motif for Hermès.

Everything begins with a white gold half-sphere, on which the artisan marks off the central point of the motif using a compass. The initially geometrical operation then becomes unmistakably artistic with the putting in place of white gold cloisons or partitions, a change from the yellow gold generally used in cloisonné enamelling.

With infinite patience, the artisan positions the partitions that will house the various shades of enamel. Starting from the centre, he gently bends the slim gold ribbons that he individually shapes by hand until they mould the curve of the sphere. He then draws the slimmest petals, before sketching out the lower rows, whose tapering, staggered arrangement will enliven the surface with an elegant visual dynamic. The entire art of the enameller lies in the perfect adjustment of each partition and of the surface of the dome. Without this meticulous fitting and joining process, the enamels – once molten in the kiln – would seep out of their golden compartments.

Then comes the time for colour. Using his brush, the artisan applies the finely crushed enamel powder to these white gold-hemmed petals. Whether shades of blue or red, or juxtaposed bright Harlequin hues, the various nuances will reveal their radiance after numerous firings at a temperature of 800°C.

Dangling gracefully from a white gold chain, the Pendentif Boule whirls and twirls, presenting its two faces as desired: a multi-coloured corolla motif on the back, or white mother-of-pearl on the dial side where the time ticks by with exquisite delicacy.