The Hermès Cut debuted in April at Watches and Wonders in Geneva. That’s why we were quite surprised when we received an invite from Hermès for a press trip organized around this new watch. Usually, trips like this are organized in advance to focus everyone’s attention on the novelty. It’s also common that the program includes some kind of hands-on presentation of the new watch. However, this trip took place a month and a half after the official launch of the Hermès Cut, and no session with the watch itself was mentioned in the program. So, what was this trip to the Greek island of Tinos all about?

Hermès has a reputation for spending little on advertising compared to other luxury brands. Of its $13.4 billion revenue in 2023, the company reportedly spent “only” $607 million on marketing — that’s close to 4.5%. The LVMH group, for example, spends about 12% of its revenue on marketing. Moreover, the Louis Vuitton brand reportedly spends about 40% of its revenue on marketing. That makes it seem like Hermès is whispering compared to Louis Vuitton, which is shouting. So, Hermès does things differently. Let’s see what that whispering about the Hermès Cut was like on this press trip.

Hermès Cut

Very classy and mysterious

When I met the first Hermès representatives, it was quite clear the brand’s Cut was the star of the trip. All the women were wearing a different version of the Hermès Cut. Of course, I complimented the staff on what they were wearing on their wrists. Apart from the fact that I think it is indeed a great-looking watch, that’s also what you’re supposed to do on trips like these. But their reactions were very modest. They accepted the compliments but wouldn’t draw any more attention to the watches and went on with whatever they were doing. This was very classy and a bit mysterious.

The mysteriousness continued throughout the entire first day. We were transported by 22 black Jeeps to an unknown place on the island. Tinos has some paved roads, but from what we’ve seen, much of the island can only be reached by gravel roads. We stopped at an inactive marble quarry right next to the seaside. There, we were told to walk a little further into the quarry where were surprised by a wonderful musical performance. After that, we had lunch and then went back to the hotel without any further explanation about what we had witnessed.

Hermès Cut wrist shot

The Hermès Cut on the wrist

As the program didn’t mention any specific activity with the Hermès Cut, I had asked upfront whether it would be possible to wear it during the trip. That’s why, on the first day, I had the opportunity to experience it on my wrist. As I mentioned in the introduction article, I’m a big fan of this pebble case in combination with the integrated bracelet. At 36mm and without a classic lug design, it certainly feels small on the wrist, but the wide bracelet helps give the watch sufficient presence.

Hermès Cut on wrist

The polished cuts on the top, bottom, left, and right of the brushed case make for a playful design, especially in combination with the applied numerals on the dial. The slight touches of orange on the seconds hand, minute track, and crown hint at the Maison’s signature color. Of course, they also work very well with the optional orange rubber strap.

By the way, the various rubber straps also make the Hermès Cut very suitable for swimming. The watch doesn’t have a screw-down crown, but it is water resistant to 100 meters. I quickly jumped into the pool with it when we got back to the hotel, and it felt right at home.

Thoughtful design elements

What I love about the Hermès Cut are its well-considered design details. From the side, the bracelet links look exactly like the pebble-shaped case. The polished center links have a corrugated shape, which matches perfectly with the brushed H-shaped links. The concealed butterfly clasp is operated with push buttons and works like a charm. Finally, the bracelet features a proprietary quick-release system, which makes swapping it for one of the colorful rubber straps a total breeze.

Hermès Cut

Then, there’s the crown, which cuts into the upper right corner of the case. It’s not as if no other watches have something like this, but it makes for a nice interruption in the otherwise very smooth design. Now, when it comes to materials, I prefer the all-steel configuration of the Hermès Cut. I’m not a big fan of rose gold, and I’m not ready for diamonds on the bezel just yet. However, I do like the colorful rubber straps, especially the orange, green, and blue ones. Just like the bracelet, they resemble the Hermès Cut’s case shape and suit its sporty character well.

It all starts to make sense

The second day started with an easy hike through Tinos’s rocky mountains. When looking at the island’s landscape, the first thing that jumps out is the countless amount of terraces on all of the hills. These terraces were made by building dry walls around 700 BCE. It’s impressive to see so many of those handmade walls still standing strong.

After lunch, we visited the Marble Museum in Pyrgos. Our guide taught us that you have to know how to “read” marble if you want to shape it how you want. After the visit, it was time for each of us to try to make a marble sculpture of our own. First, we had to even out a crude block of marble, and then we could put our engravings on it. It was much harder than I expected.

Hermès Horloger Creative Director Philippe Delhotal

But according to Philippe Delhotal, the creative director of Hermès Horloger, that was exactly what was supposed to happen. The marble workshop was meant to show us how difficult it is to shape such a hard material, just like modifying a watch case.

And that’s exactly when this whole trip started to make a little more sense. The countless dry walls on Tinos’s hills and the marble quarries showed exactly how much effort is necessary to achieve something extraordinary. And all this was on an island where it seems like time has stood still for a while. That very much resembles Hermès’s idea of time. Rather than measuring, ordering, and seeking to control it, Hermès views time as something that arouses emotions, invites interludes, and creates spaces for spontaneity and recreation.

Hermès Horloger CEO Laurent Dordet

Enough opportunities for growth and lots of ambition

In between all the excursions around the island, I also had the opportunity to briefly speak to Hermès Horloger’s CEO Laurent Dordet. He’s been in his role since 2015. During those nine years, he has seen the division make big steps in terms of growth in recent years. However, this first quarter, his division only grew by 4%, compared to 23% over the year 2023. That, of course, isn’t only his fault but is also due to a struggling watch market in general. The good thing is that he still sees a lot of growth opportunities.

“I see how dedicated and knowledgeable our sales teams in Asia are when it comes to watches. Our European and US salespeople can definitely learn a lot from them. At the moment, I think only 40% of our boutiques are focusing on watches. It’s still a fairly new division that needs to be cultured within the business.” When I asked him about the next 10 years, he quickly said, “We need to become a top-five watch brand. That’s when a large group of people will actually consider buying one or more of your watches.” Let’s just say he’s still very hungry and clearly full of ambition.

Hermès Cut pocket shot

Regarding the Hermès Cut, Dordet also told me that people were asking for a smaller Hermès H08. That’s when the idea of the Hermès Cut arose as a smaller alternative to the H08 that could work for both men and women. Based on the positive reactions I saw from both those target groups, it looks like Hermès succeeded. Dordet also admitted that the pricing strategy is quite aggressive to compete with alternatives from the likes of Cartier, for example.

Another look at the marble quarry, also the stage for that day’s musical performance

Final words

At the last evening’s dinner, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the Maison’s artistic director and the great-great-great-grandson of Hermès founder Thierry Hermès, spoke the final words of the trip. He said that the cuts on the sides of the Hermès Cut’s case are a reminder of what the human hand is capable of. That pretty much closed the circle with what we had seen in the marble quarry and the museum, reminding us that as long as you do your utmost best, you can create almost anything, even out of the hardest materials on Earth.

Hermès Cut wrist shot

When it comes to my conclusions for this trip, I’m still working through my thoughts. The trip certainly showed me how effective Hermès’s whispering tactic is. Without actively selling me the Hermès Cut, the brand still intrigued me with it. I’m now also thoroughly intrigued by the brand’s mysterious ways of communicating. It looks like Hermès has found the perfect balance between savoir-faire and laissez-faire. It makes me want to know more about the company and how it got to where it is today. That might result in another article someday. For now, though, I’ll just keep reflecting on those nice pre-summer days we spent on the Greek island of Tinos.

What do you think of the Hermès Cut, and how do you view Hermès as a watch brand? Let me know in the comments below.

Watch specifications

Opaline silver with applied luminous numerals
Case Material
Stainless steel or stainless steel and rose gold, with or without diamond-set bezel
Case Dimensions
36mm (diameter) × 42mm (lug-to-lug) × 10mm (thickness)
Case Back
Stainless steel with sapphire crystal
Vaucher H1912: automatic with manual winding, 28,800vph frequency, 50hr porwer reserve, 28 jewels
Water Resistance
10 ATM (100 meters)
H-link bracelet in all stainless steel or two-tone (stainless steel and rose gold) with push-button butterfly clasp / Rubber strap in choice of eight colors with quick-release pin buckle
Time (hours, minutes, seconds)