Back in 2010 Hermes released a now very rare limited edition of 173 pieces designed by Marc Berthier known as the Hermes Carre H. I never actually got around to writing about this watch on aBlogtoWatch, but I always admired it. When brands like Hermes entrust talented designers to produce contemporary watch designs and more or less actually build the vision of the design, the result is usually lovely (and very expensive). For 2018 Hermes returns to this design with an updated set of models, but the exact same watch name. Let’s take a look at the Hermes Carre H for 2018.
The original Carre H was produced in titanium in a 36.5mm x 36.5mm square case. It also cost $15,000 and was truly for those customers who were both big design and Hermes fans. I really liked the original March Berthier model, but did feel that it was on the smaller side as a men’s watch. The dial was great, but did look a lot like some of Rudy Kulling’s work at Xemex- namely for some the also square Xemex Avenue models. For 2018 Hermes updates the Carre H with a new case size as well as a new dial.
Original Hermes Carre H watch by Marc Berthier from 2010.
No longer in titanium, but rather in steel, the new Carre H watch case is a 38mm wide square (water-resistant to 30m), with 21mm wide straps. Hermes calls this size “medium,” and I think that is correct. I wouldn’t call it large, but it certainly will feel a lot more masculine as compared to a 36.5mm square case on the wrist. Hermes maintained the slick looking “towel rack” style lug bar, as well as the elegant curvature of the case designed to make it feel more comfortable while being worn.
Also new is the movement. Inside the watch is the Hermes caliber H1912 automatic movement- produced for the brand by Vaucher,which Hermes also owns. The movement can be viewed through a sapphire crystal caseback window, and operates at 4Hz with 50 hours of power reserve. For this watch it offers just the time with hours, minutes, and central seconds.
Hermes seemingly wants the Carre H to be a bit more of a mainstream model- and why not? I mean the Carre H case design is beautiful, and none of the other more square or rectangle watches from Hermes are too appealing to men. The Carre H is masculine but also a shape that many brands would love to say they have a winning watch in. Only a few brands can claim this, and Hermes clearly wants their own popular non-round men’s watch too.
The Carre H for 2018 dial design is spirited, and comes in both black or gray with either a red or yellow-colored seconds hand. Hermes was clearly trying to be a bit different here and succeeded in making a dial that looks both modern and distinctive. However, they didn’t seem to manage to design a square dial for a square case. I wouldn’t call the 2018Carre H dial an instant classic, but it is satisfying and attractive.
The hands are nice looking and the various dial patterns and levels are eye-pleasing. I would have liked the design to include longer hands, and on that note I feel that the hour and minute hands are too similar in size so as to be visually distinguished from one another with immediate ease. Price for the 2018Carre H watch is more reasonable than the 2010 limited edition, but it would have been nice to see the titanium case return. Attached to the straps are (of course) beautiful quality Hermes Barenia leather straps in either brown or black to match the dial tone.
If Hermes is going after a more youthful audience with the 2018 Carre H, then I think they will succeed in hitting the mark with a fashion-loving audience seeking an appealing, less than usual design. Purist watch lovers might not have too much to comment on, but they should be giving lots of kudos to Hermes for focusing on watches just like this. Price for the Hermes Carre H for 2018 is $7,725 USD. hermes.com
Original Hermes Carre H watch by March Berthier from 2010