object study: the hermes cape cod double tour


Photographer: Scott Schuman for The Sartorialist

I'm a watch girl. Not in the serious "what kind of movement is this" sense, but in the sense that I I always need to know the time, and I need to know it in an aesthetically pleasing way.

If I liked the Georg Jensen for its cool sculptural modernist quality, I like this Hermes for it's sporty, preppy equestrian vibe, given an extra kick by the long double strap (introduced by Martin Margiela in 1998; the first Cape was introduced in 1991). The double strap may be unnecessary, but there's something very alluring about having the bands wind around your wrist. I remember first seeing it in a magazine, and thinking: it's so simple, so elegant, and just a tad subversive, but not at all in an obvious way. It's really a beautiful everyday accessory that's special, that also tells the time.

Plus, it's Hermes. The very word for me conjures up the smell of melting soft leather, discreet elegance and its luxury-utility roots as the maker of saddles and...practical stuff. Like the Kelly bag.

Last year, I went into a watch retailer and tried it on, and boy, it was hard to take it off once you feel the seriously soft leather straps on your wrist. With it, I felt very chic, the kind of woman whose white shirts are always crisp, who will look devasting in jodhpurs at age 60, who will look elegant barefoot in jeans, surrounded by adorably well-behaved dogs, cashmere throw around her shoulders. It's like I...become that woman above.

I considered buying it, since it was actually something I can afford and I've always wanted a "good watch" for myself. Hermes timepieces aren't much of an investment for collectors, and I'm probably better off putting my money on something affordable by a proper watchmaker (Rolex, Tag Heuer, etc). In fact, the sales assistant helping me was far more partial to the Cartier Tank Solo, which was just slightly more expensive. But this looked so good.

I felt confused. Should I go for design and let's face it, the allure of the Hermes brand, or should I go for watch pedigree. And, when you think about it, if you're not buying something that's one of 20 in the world, with a "sapphire exhibition case back, proprietary XXX chronograph movement etc etc" does all of this really matter anyway?

I walked out and a few days later, spent about the same amount of money on....scuba diving gear. I know, such an anticlimax. But well-cared for dive gear actually lasts a lifetime (I know divers who have used the same set of gear for 15 years) and your life depends on it underwater.

But it such a beautiful watch. Maybe this year?

Pictures from the sartorialist, hermes usa

EDIT: I forgot to put in a shot of the watch itself!


heart in a cage said…
Tthat woman looks beautiful, very elegant!
I'm looking for a watch, too. Something like this: http://www.polyvore.com/vintage_cartier_ladies_tank_18ct/thing?id=12064450
But way less expensive!
lin said…
Wow, that's pretty unique looking Tank, and so elegant.

Yes, I've always loved this shot by the Sartorialist. Her outfit plus the way she carries herself is perfection.
Ammu said…
It is a lovely watch, but I have always believed that when you spend more than $500 on a watch, better to get one by a watchmaker, like Longines, Rolex, or Cartier (who were making watches before they entered the jewelry business). That said, my mom gave me an Emporio Armani watch nine years ago, and aside from changing its battery every couple of years, it's in terrific condition.
lin said…
Ammu: Exactly! Which is why I haven't quite been able to plunk down the money for it and I'm wearing Casio, haha. The Hermes is absolutely about the design and it brand appeal, rather than an assurance of quality, when it comes to watches, I think.
So... did you ever buy one?!

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