Vernis Martin lacquering technique was developed by the French in the late 17th century at a time Japanese and Chinese lacquerware grew in popularity. While Asian lacquer art was limited to colors red and black, the French were able to generate blues, greens, and yellows. Hermès for their new watches, the Arceau Cheval d’Orient a limited collection of three timepieces has used the Vernis Martin technique to apply miniature art to the dial.
Although lacquering is used mostly on wood and bamboo, applying them on metal is done occasionally as is the case with the Arceau Cheval d’Orient collection. Skilled masters at Hermès have expertly used the technique and applied art with a fine tipped brush to the watches. Time consuming process starts with the application of a layer of black lacquer – pigments mixed with a copal-based varnish and letting it dry for three days, a second coat is applied after fine sanding the first coat. Process is repeated at least 30 more times to achieve the deep black base and other colors.
Horse motifs are then penciled and brought to life by applying colors. Colors are individually applied in multiple coats to produce the patterns. The Arceau Cheval d’Orient are available in three versions with each limited to just 24 pieces. Powered by the Manufacture Hermès automatic H1837 caliber movement, they are encased in a 41 mm white gold Arceau case. The watches are fitted with a matt black alligator strap with a pin buckle in white gold.
Source: Watch Agora