5 Nov 2023 By May Ng

Hermès Watch – Arceau Libre comme Pégase

From flat to raised. From brush to mallet. From Antiquity to the present day. From Earth to Heaven.

Limited and numbered edition of 24.

Some myths find their way across successive fashions and millennia, before taking concrete form in our daily lives. Pegasus is one of them.

Pegasus is a famous divine winged horse from Greek mythology whose father was none other than Poseidon. The animal stayed briefly on Earth, rising to Heaven after its birth to serve Zeus.
Projecting their imagination onto a cluster of stars, human beings rendered it immortal by naming the constellation of Pegasus after this fabled creature.

Such are the foundations that made it possible to capture the myth. There was an entirely obvious connection between Hermès and its original saddle-making profession and Pegasus the horse.
Yet history can be mischievous and indeed played a final trick on the legendary animal and the Parisian saddler: the Pegasus constellation located in the Northern hemisphere is part of a distinctive geometrical formation known as the Great Square of Pegasus (Carré de Pégase in French). A direct and entirely fortuitous allusion to the world of Carrés Hermès (carré being the French word for square and the term traditionally applied to Hermès silk scarves) for which the House is now internationally renowned.

Was Jean-Louis Sauvat aware of this collision between myth and reality, between mother Astronomy and her daughter Watchmaking, when he created his first Carré Hermès Pégase (carré meaning square in French and the term traditionally applied to Hermès silk scarves). This would remain the secret of this artist, a sculptor, painter and skilled horseman who has dedicated his passion and talent to horses.

Jean-Louis Sauvat sketches more than just lines, instead conveying the power, the pace as well as the wild and untamable character. The ink of his design on a Hermès silk scarf was barely dry before the fiery horse had flown off to Switzerland, where the artisans at Hermès Horloger set about taming it.

The Arceau paying tribute to this proud steed bears its name as well as conveying its spirit: «Arceau Libre comme Pégase» (free like Pegasus). Its divine filiation confers a majestic aura, as Pegasus appears alone on stage. Its mythology engenders a sacred dimension, with Pegasus occupying the entire space of the dial and even beyond it in some places.
Finally, its power gives rise to a sense of volume, as the horse literally springs from the dial to which it is applied, by means of glyptic engraving.

The choice of the latter art form was also self-evident. Its origins can be traced back to Ancient Greece, birthplace of the true Pegasus. A blend of meticulous care and dexterity is devoted to making a sculpted motif rise from the stone.

The task involves two key objectives: revealing depth and volumes to bring life to the object; while also working on the thickness to create various levels of transparency through the stone. This craftsmanship requires a rare degree of skill
to create suppleness, light and movement through a hard and by nature monolithic material. It is a delicate art that pushes material to the limits of its resistance. The end result is an incomparably
refined motif, displayed here on an anthracite agate dial.

«Arceau Libre comme Pégase» thus reveals a noble, powerful horse featuring the slender yet muscular frame desired by Jean-Louis Sauvat.
Prancing and rearing, Pegasus is about to leap. Muscles flexed, chest protruding, wings spread, ears erect and tail floating in the wind, the animal is still on Earth… but not for long.
Arceau “Libre comme Pégase” captures this fleeting trot, the last earthbound moment of a winged myth ready to soar skyward.

Hermès Watch - Arceau Libre comme Pégase