Ploughing through the press materials for the Jaeger-Lecoultre Atmos Hermès clock is like taking a tour of The Louvre with René Descartes. But I think I’ve got a handle on it, therefore I am going to try and explain it. We’ll keep phrases like “bienfacture”, “giving substance to immaterial reality” and “doublé overlay technique” to a minimum and cut to the chase – it’s a fancy clock that runs on air. Now admittedly that does sound quite cool.
In plain English, it works via a mechanism that contains a mix of gases that expand and contract as temperatures rise and drop – just one degree temperature difference is enough to power it for 48 hours, and it consumes around 300 times less energy than more conventional methods.
It’s made up of 190 parts that must be very precisely assembled, and the exterior comprises a crystal globe with a fashioning process so complex, only six master glassmakers at the famous Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis have the mastery required to perform the task. If you want to get your hands on one, it’ll set you back 30,000 euros, and it’s limited to 176 pieces – so the clock’s ticking.