We have always admired Hermès for its beautiful and unique aesthetic. Not only in the creative design of the cases and dials but also in the innovative materials they explore to create this fresh styling. This new Cape Cod is no different. Named crépuscule, or dusk in French, it is an exploration of the gradations in the tonality of the sky as the sun sets each day. And the way they set about doing this particular style is also interesting. The design is the abstract motif of dusk on the ocean by Vietnamese graphic artist Thanh-Phong Lê. But what is even more interesting is the collaboration with the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology to produce a wafer dial to represent this design. This is perhaps a unique way to use high-tech wafer fabrication technology, but the result is rather stunning.
Under the bold pencil strokes of Henri d’Origny, the Cape Cod watch was born in 1991. With its «square in a rectangle” case formed by two «anchor chain» half-links, Cape Cod now welcomes a dial with a singular aesthetic uniting and revealing two ordinarily distinct worlds.
In 2018, Hermès initiated a meeting with the Neuchâtel-based Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) as part of its search for a technological innovation that would be dedicated to creativity. This gave rise to a project for a dial made from a silicon wafer, which was to feature the intimate and refined «Crépuscule» (dusk) motif by designer-graphic artist Thanh-Phong Lê.
Used in microelectronics for its semiconductor properties, the silicon wafer was chosen here for its purely aesthetic qualities, representing a first. Depending on the amount of material deposited during production, its color varies across an infinite palette of subtle and unique shades. This highly technological process is carried out by specialized engineers in the CSEM labs.
The dials of the Cape Cod crépuscule are created from a single 0.5 mm thick plate, which is coated in an extremely precise manner with a tiny (72-nanometer) film of silicon nitride to obtain the desired intense blue color.
Then comes the photolithography stage, during which the wafer is exposed to blue light so as to print the pattern. The process involves several successive baths, before the gold-coating stage, followed by other baths to remove any superfluous material. Finally, the plate is precisely cut to the shape of the Cape Cod case.
The dial, with its slender gilded hands, reveals the bluish shades sprinkled with yellow gold, achieved by this unique method combining creativity and nanotechnology. A navy blue calfskin single or double tour strap crafted in the Hermès Horloger workshops puts the final touch to the Cape Cod crépuscule watch.
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