One might not realize sometimes just how ambitious a non-round-cased watch can be and how difficult it is to get right. You see the very few “iconic” successes a lot, but naturally, you don’t see much of the many, many others. Carré means “square” in French, and it is also the name of other product lines from Hermès such as women’s scarves. The Hermès Carré H watch for 2018 is 38mm wide in steel and square-shaped with kind of wire-style lugs and a round dial design. The original Hermès Carré H from 2010 designed by designer/architect Marc Berthier was 36.5mm wide in titanium with a squarer dial, and it cost almost double this version. See the 2010 version and more background along with our initial coverage of the 2018 Hermès Carré H watch here.
The new 2018 Hermès Carré H is also designed by Berthier, I believe, and it is not the brand’s only attempt at a square/rectangular/non-round watch design that will stick – our hands-on with the Hermès Cape Cod watches here, for example. Personally, first impressions of the 2018 Hermès Carré H watch immediately conjured a number of other watches for me. From dead-on, it was inevitably the well-known shape of Bell & Ross’ square cases, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the dial reminded me of – and then I remembered these also design-driven Gorilla watches with the combination of squarish case, round dial, and large double-digit numerals all around.
The rounded caseback plus the lug shape said (oh no!) “Apple Watch” – and, of course, there is the further connection that Hermès makes straps and exclusive faces for the Apple Watch. Note, however, when making that comparison, that these traits were present in the Hermès Carré H in 2010, well before the Apple Watch existed. The Hermès Carré H straps measure 21mm where they meet the lugs, but Hermès’ straps that have the more common measurements of 22mm (for the 42mm Apple Watch) or 20mm (for the 38mm Apple Watch) might even fit since the lugs’ bended corners seem give some leeway. What is distinctive and elegant about the case profile, however, is that it curves subtly, and the lugs are angled downwards to follow the arc. Above, these were called “wire” lugs, but they are in fact angular and appear well integrated and executed – they have also been compared to towel racks.