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For the most part, the luxury watch world draws a stark line between classic design and the sort of mechanical wizardry you’ll find in the avant-garde horological machines on the cutting edge of watchmaking.

But the latest watch from Hermès manages to meld both quite handsomely.

This Tuesday, we delve into the inner workings of the Hermès Dressage L’heure Masquée…

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The long history of Hermès luxury watchmaking begins, in earnest, all the way back in 2012. Of course, they’d been making fashionable watches for decades prior, and have worked with the likes of Jaeger-LeCoultre in the past, but it wasn’t until 2012 that the label decided to get serious about making mechanical watches in-house.

In fact, the design for this watch, part of the Dressage line, was introduced in 2003, but this year’s iteration only shares its classic aesthetics with its forefather—what’s inside is light-years ahead.

And that’s what we’re here to talk about: L’heure Masquée.

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You might not have even noticed on first glance unless you looked closely enough, but this watch is only displaying minutes. Which is a nice touch on an aimless beach weekend, but not as helpful when trying to catch the flight home. Luckily, with a push of the crown button, out comes the hour hand whirring from its hiding place behind the minute to display the correct hour. Press the bumper button, and out from under the letters “GMT” pops up your secondary time zone hour.

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It’s a neat little parlor trick and feat of horology: beneath the calm, carefree surface, the watch’s caliber is keeping perfect time, ready to alert you to the hour in a split second. And the best part is the subtlety of it all—there’s nothing oversize or tech-looking strapped to your wrist, glaring from under your shirt cuff.

In other words, it’s the right kind of smart watch.

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar