Hermès has called on the services of one of Switzerland’s foremost silicon experts for a creative project sculpted using nanotechnology.
Neuchâtel-based Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM), which has developed technical silicon-based watchmaking solutions for Patek Philippe, Girard-Perregaux and Swatch Group, first met with Hermès in 2018 to discuss the venture.
The decision was made to create a dial from a silicon wafer featuring the “intimate and refined Crépuscule” motif from design and graphic artist, Thanh-Phong Lê.
The Hermes Cape Cod crépuscule appearance and color of silicon is dependent on how much of the material is deposited on the 0.5mm thick dial plate during production, allowing “an infinite palette of subtle and unique shades.”
Through photolithography, blue light is used to print the motif before a final “gold-coating stage.”
The 29mm x 29mm stainless steel case is paired with a blue calfskin strap, while a quartz movement keeps time.
In 1991, the Hermes Cape Cod crépuscule watch was born beneath the bold pencil strokes of Henri d’Origny. With its “square in a rectangle” case formed by two anchor chain half-links, Cape Cod now welcomes a dial with a singular aesthetic uniting and revealing two ordinarily distinct worlds.
n 2018, Hermès initiated a meeting with the Neuchâtel-based Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) as part of its search for a technological innovation that would be dedicated to creativity. This gave rise to a project for a dial made from a silicon wafer, which was to feature the intimate and refined «Crépuscule» (dusk) motif by designer-graphic artist Thanh-Phong Lê.
Used in microelectronics for its semiconductor properties, the silicon wafer was chosen here for its purely aesthetic qualities, representing a first. Depending on the amount of material deposited during production, its colour varies across an infinite palette of subtle and unique shades. This highly technological process is carried out by specialised engineers in the CSEM labs.
The dials of the Hermes Cape Cod crépuscule are created from a single 0.5 mm thick plate, which is coated in an extremely precise manner with a tiny (72-nanometre) film of silicon nitride to obtain the desired intense blue colour.