Swiss luxury watch maker Jaeger-LeCoultre has joined Les Cristalleries de St. Louis and Hermès in creating the Atmos Hermès table clock, a 176-piece limited edition crystal clock that quite literally lives on air. The crystal sphere thus houses a unique, almost perpetual movement developed by the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Since 1928, the mechanism of the Atmos clock fascinates by its exceptional mode of operation with no battery, no electric current and no winding. It lives on air by means of an ingenious principle: a hermetically sealed capsule containing a mixture of gases that expands when the temperature rises and contracts when it drops.
Connected to the mainspring of the clock, the capsule acts like a concertina or bellows, thereby constantly winding the movement. It is so sensitive that a one-degree temperature difference is enough to power it for 48 hours. Its balance oscillates just twice a minute rather than the average 300 times of a classic wristwatch, which consumes 250 times more energy than an Atmos clock. The 190 parts composing this clever construction are precision-assembled within the Manufacture.
Pursuing this demanding hand-crafted approach, Hermès entrusted Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis glassmakers with creating the astonishing exterior of this clock: a crystal globe made using the so-called doublé or double overlay technique, which consists in coating layers of glass over each other, including a coloured one. Within the company, only six master glassmakers have the mastery and experience required to perform this task.
Thierry Hermès, a saddle-maker, set up his business in Paris in 1837. The Hermes house has developed steadily ever since and now exercises 14 different métiers or skills: leather goods-saddlery, men’s and women’s silks, men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, perfumes, diaries, hats, shoes, gloves, enamel, art of living, tableware, jewellery and watchmaking.
In 1928, the first Hermes watches were presented in the store at no. 24, Faubourg Saint-Honoré. At the time, Hermès placed its signature on “timepieces” that it created in collaboration with the greatest Swiss watch manufacturers including Jaeger-LeCoultre – the firm that would later equip Hermès clocks with its Atmos movement. In 1978, the La Montre Hermès workshops were set up in Switzerland, thereby confirming the company’s taste for high standards and its passion for precision – two qualities that enabled it in 2012 to launch its first models equipped with its own Manufacture-made movements.
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