With the Cape Cod Martelée, Hermès hammers home its mastery of metalworking and crafting patinated surfaces.
Like many of the most iconic creations of maison Hermès, the Cape Cod watches owes its design to the brilliant mind of Henri d’Origny. In this case, the legendary designer was meant to draw a square watch. Guided by his creative freedom, however, d’Origny came up with the now-famous “square within a rectangle” concept.
The Cape Cod also took the famous Chaîne d’ancre motif which was created back in 1938 by Robert Dumas. To be exact, two Chaîne d’ancre half-links would form the aforementioned square within a rectangle, resulting in what was, and still is, a boldly original yet rigorously disciplined design. Since its debut back in 1991, the Cape Cod has continuously transformed itself through myriad interpretations, both graceful and whimsical. This year, this timeless icon highlights a classic craft in the world of fine jewellery-making: hammering.
The aptly named Cape Cod Martelée features a hammered 316L hammered steel case along with a shaded-black lacquered and hammered dial. While sounding deceptively simple, hammering in this case is a complex and sophisticated technique that enhances the steel case with a unique patina-type effect. The dial is similarly worked on, and then coated with a thin layer of translucent lacquer, in graded shades ranging from anthracite to black.
The end result is an entirely unexpected look. The material of the Cape Cod Martelée’s case and dial has a roughness to it that is akin to raw metal. At the same time, the watch is unmistakably crafted with a striking depth. In other words, while it might come off almost like a work in progress, the knobbly effect on the steel case and dial of the Cape Cod Martelée is a true goldsmith’s artwork.
So, in a way, Hermès has taken a rather unglamorous classical technique and then applied to one of its chicest creations, giving the Cape Cod another new aesthetic that beautifully blends contemporary luxury, time-honoured craftsmanship and a slightly rough, somewhat industrial vibe. Elegant and unique, stylish and noteworthy, the Cape Cod Martelée is a definite standout piece. And in an exquisite finishing touch, the watch is fastened to the wrist with an understated Black Barenia calfskin strap, which comes in single or double tour versions.