French luxury brand Hermes introduced its H08 watch collection in 2021, designed by creative director Philippe Delhotal. The H08 boasted a sporty appearance, a unique cushion-shaped case, and a comfortable fit for daily wear. In 2023, Hermes returns to the recently launched H08 line with a range of fresh models, featuring updated aesthetics and materials. Among these new iterations is the Hermes H08 “Colors” collection, comprising four new models with distinctive blue, green, orange, or yellow accents. This article will provide an in-depth look at the Hermes H08 “Colors” collection.
Despite retaining the 39mm x 39mm case size proportions, the new Hermes models are lighter in weight and sportier. This is due to the use of a glass fiber composite case material and a polished black ceramic bezel material. The composite case material was chosen for its aesthetic appeal, owing to its unique surface texture. Hermes has coated the glass fiber material with aluminum and slate powder, which has likely enhanced the color of the grooves in the material, resulting in a more dramatic sense of color and a visually pleasing organic texture.
Although composite materials are now commonplace in luxury watches, their formulation and style can vary greatly. Hermes has chosen a distinctive and attractive composite material that is currently exclusive to its products.
The watch case of the Hermes H08 “Colors” collection is designed to be water-resistant up to a depth of 100 meters, and it features a flat, anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal covering the dial. The black ceramic crown complements the bezel material, creating a cohesive design. The dial is both playful and legible, with “revolving” style hour markers, similar to past Hermes models. The hour markers are prominently displayed on the dial, giving it an instrumental look. The hands are well-proportioned and easy to read, while the date indicator is thoughtfully positioned to maintain the symmetry of the hour markers.
The Hermes H08 “Colors” collection is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional. The watch is designed to be a luxury tool watch, much like the Patek Philippe Aquanaut, but with a more affordable price tag.
The Hermes H08 “Colors” collection features color accents on the watch dials and a ring around the periphery of the face. However, the majority of the color is displayed on the 21mm-wide textured rubber strap, which is not only comfortable but also comes with a titanium folding clasp. The rear of the watch has a smoked sapphire crystal that allows for a view of the automatic movement inside the watch. The movement is the Hermes “in-house” caliber H1837, produced by Vaucher in Switzerland. The movement is impressively thin, measuring only 3.7mm in thickness, and operates at 4Hz with a power reserve of around 50 hours.
During the Watches & Wonders 2023 event where the new H08 watches were unveiled, the team had the pleasure of trying on these playful timepieces. Although Hermes produces less expensive versions of the H08, the H08 “Colors” serve as the entry-level models for this year’s collection. Along with these new models, Hermes has also introduced the H08 Chronograph and a version of the H08 that matches the style of the “Colors” models but features an 18k rose gold case and a black ceramic bezel.
Luxury fashion houses, including Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Bulgari, used to struggle to gain the attention of traditional watch enthusiasts just a few years ago. Despite producing fantastic timepieces, there was a strange prejudice from the often conservative collector community, who viewed these “fashion maison” companies as primarily marketing to women. However, this perception has finally changed, and watch collectors are now just as excited about watches from these companies as they are from traditional watchmakers. This is a positive development because companies like Hermes use the same manufacturing and movements as those from traditional watchmakers, while also boasting contemporary and beautiful designs. The Hermes H08 watches, which blend traditional utility with beautiful design and trendy materials, may not be for everyone, but they are comfortable and excellent timepieces. The price for the Hermes H08 Colors watches is $6,800 USD each.