In 1912, Jacqueline Hermès as a child could not wear a watch attached to her clothing or slipped into her pocket. Especially for her, her father devised an ingenious “porte-oignon” or pocket-watch holder designed to fasten it onto the wrist. Drawing upon the original harness and saddle-making know-how of the House, he created a leather strap similar to those worn by the Lads. It encased the pocket-watch, adopting its shape and its curve so as to ensure optimal protection. This object embodies Hermès’ full wealth of inventiveness, which has been expressed ever since through its timepiece collections offering a blend of creativity and functionality.
In 2012, the workshops of La Montre Hermès revive this emblematic model while enhancing it with exceptional horological expertise.
Three layers of leather compose the longer and shorter parts of the strap:
Barenia leather, an unfinished full-grain leather that is both natural and alive; an inner cow skin reinforcement chosen for its sturdiness; and a Zermatt calfskin lining.
First comes the cutting process: cut and then split into two, the hides are soaked and then molded in a die. They dry in this way for 10 days before being cut with a pointed tool, split again, sanded and glued. Each of the parts is then partially stitched. The longer part is perforated to free the space through which the dial will be visible as well as the slit through which the shorter part will be inserted and the hole through which the crown will emerge.
Then comes the “table” phase in which the shorter and longer parts are put together and then marked with a compass, hallmarked and sewn according to the saddle-stitch technique.
And at last it’s time for finishing, which involves hammering the stitching, marking a furrow between the sewing line, dyeing and polishing with bees’ wax.