Sunday, 17 March 2013

The astonishing Atmos Hermès Clock


One of the most stunning accomplishment of recent times, in terms of timekeeping, is the Atmos, a staggering clock recently exposed in Paris. Three different and identically fabled brands have collaborated to create it – Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis, Hermès and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Boasting with 783 of expertise, put together, the brands have achieved something that’s out of the ordinary, far away from everything we’ve ever seen. Furthermore, equally nice is the fact that the brands have collaborated before, in order to make up unique stuff. For instance, Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis was founded back in 1568 in the French country of Alsace, but was acquired in 1989 by Hermès and has hand manufactured crystal items for the brand ever since.
As for Jaeger-LeCoultre and Hermès, they’ve collaborated between 1928 and 1972, a time when the famous store under Hermès tutelage, the No.24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré, from Paris, started selling exquisite timepieces. The mechanical movements were reportedly provided by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Never mind this, let’s stick to the Atmos Hermès Clock. This astonishing piece of engineering was unveiled at Paris’ Place Vendôme. Hidden deep inside a stunning crystalline cage, the movement seems to be of almost hypnotic beauty. The Atmos was in fact released back in 1928, at the beginnings of the collaboration between Jaeger-LeCoultre and Hermès. By far the most incredible feature of the Atmos is that it never needs winding.
The mechanism it houses sports a gas filled capsule which acts as a bellows, fanning the mainspring into action as the temperature inside the room changes, through contraction or expansion. According to its makers, even a temperature change of as low as 1 degree may ensure 48 hours of power reserve.
The astonishing appearance is the work of Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis. Here is where their extensive expertise is incredibly well proven – the glassmakers have manufactured the crystal bowl through doublè or doublè overlay technique. This special technique consists of coating layers of glass over each other, even colored glass.
Only 6 master glassmakers have the ability to perform such an intricate technique – the glassblower collects the molten white enamel and fashions it into a ball – the gather. Four additional master glassmakers  stand aside the main glassmaker, preparing a light colored glass mass and shaping the glass to a spherical form. The overlay operation starts just about now, resulting in the 10-kg mass of brute glass.
The artistic director of Hermès, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, describes it – “It’s something Captain Nemo would have had in his ship.” The Atmos Hermès Clock will be manufactured in 176 units, celebrating each year that has passed since the founding of Hermès. They are available for purchase through Hermès and Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques worldwide.

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