Hermès H08 Comes in Hot
A new watch for men, this one hits all the right notes as it straddles the divide between formality and casual chic.
By Ashok Soman
New for 2021, the cushion-shaped Hermès H08 watch has nevertheless already garnered tonnes of attention. It feels quite like a brand new frontier for Hermès Horloger but it is not quite introduced as a fresh collection. There is only one Hermès H08 watch, in terms of functions and size (39 mm x 39 mm), but there are 10 versions, if you include all the options. We found this watch so intriguing that we will dedicate the bulk of this story to it, with a minor digression into fine watchmaking. You can actually discover it for yourself right now as it is already in stores.
The brand had been teasing Hermès H08 for a little while, telling us in advance that it was not about whimsical complications, like the Heure de la Lune is, for example. That is certainly true, with the movement powering the Hermès H08 being the familiar automatic H1837 it offers time and date indications with a slightly idiosyncratic truncated second hand. However, we submit that the lack of complications does not mean the watch is not of interest to timepiece aficionados. On the contrary, we think all the little details in this new design will earn the Hermès H08 a place in most collectors’ mental watchmaking cabinet (or whatever space we use to mentally file away notable pieces for future reference).
By now, you will have heard some such aficionados address this as a defacto sports watch, but La Montre Hermès does not call it that. The press notes do use the word sporty a few times though. To be fair, the Hermès H08 does look the part, right down to the curious fact that it is not offered with a leather strap. It is also water-resistant to 100 metres, and that is better than certain legendary sports watches managed on their debuts. Of course, the Hermès H08 is not really about utility – it might be best considered a contemplative study of the concept of the tool watch. To this writer, it seems entirely meta, which is reinforced by all the little useful touches here, including a brand new clasp and the (almost) unprecedented bracelet.
The most intriguing version for our money is the graphene filled composite one, which fits in entirely with themes we will be exploring this year. The case construction is also very intriguing, allowing for a ceramic bezel and a ceramic crown, of all things. There is also a full titanium version, with a properly distinctive bracelet that integrates all the brand’s codes. About that note about 10 versions, well Hermès Horologer actually comes up with this via just three case variations – two in titanium (DLC and satinated) and one in the aforementioned composite.
There are many elements we have yet to get to – Watch Advisor has a 40+ minutes video on this collection, believe it or not. Well, you better believe the Hermès H08 deserves it, and we will be doing our best to cover this in more depth in print and online.