Cartier has definitively won its daring wager. Over a period of just five years, during which it has introduced 29 movements comprising some amazingly inventive horological complications, the Maison has managed to assert itself as a major actor on the Fine Watchmaking stage. It has moreover done so with the same timeless elegance that remains unruffled by even the boldest move, pervaded by the same historic design codes that Cartier loves to have fun with – playing aesthetic games that are sometimes wild but never unreasonable.
“People are pretty impressed by the creative wealth of Cartier”, says Guillaume Alix, CEO of Cartier Switzerland, with a knowing smile. “I’ve been working at Cartier for 17 years now and am as dazzled as ever by the talent of its artisans. It’s a matter of perpetual reinvention and springing surprises – and yet the models we are presenting this year also embody a sense of continuity, since they strength the credibility of our men’s watchmaking segment and also highlight our creativity in the field of jewellery watches.”
On the men’s watch side, the Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendar watch, tourbillon and perpetual calendar is bound to appeal to all those with a strong penchant for technical and aesthetic innovation. Cartier is revisiting the appearance of the perpetual calendar, as well as how it operates. Powered by a calibre designed without springs and levers, it forms an amphitheatre in which the 12 months, seven days, date and nature of the year are juxtaposed. This horological feat issued in a 100-piece limited edition offers the huge advantage of enhancing the legibility of the indications, while remaining imbued with the Cartier DNA. “This watch reflects a determination to reflect our identity codes with great mechanical creativity”, insists Guillaume Alix.
The Ballon Bleu de Cartier 39mm Flying Tourbillon with an enamel dial is entirely in line with this approach. The iconic line further accentuates its signature in a new size framing a deep blue enamelled dial. Crafted according to the grand tradition of early 20th century clock dials, the face of this watch was first guilloché-worked with a radiating motif on a white gold disc, and then covered with several layers of translucent enamel – a technique that endows this model with supreme elegance, luminosity and a truly unique texture.
While thus affirming its stature in the exclusive spheres of Fine Watchmaking, Cartier plays an equally significant role in the realm of ladies’ watches. Among the new models unveiled in 2014, hats off to the Ballon Blanc model featuring a single diamond set on the bezel and mischievously intruding on the regularity of the flinqué mother-of-pearl dial; as well as to the Ballon Bleu Floral-Marquetry Parrot watch which highlights an artistic craft never previously used in the watch industry. “At Cartier, there is a genuine wish to preserve artistic crafts by incorporating them in-house”, says Guillaume Alix. “We’ve been cultivating handcrafts for 16 years through creations firmly rooted in our DNA and perpetuating these skills is also one of our responsibilities.” As a natural illustration of this conviction, he instinctively points to the amazing jewellery watches composing the evocatively titled L'Heure Envoûtée de Cartier collection, embodying the very pinnacle of jewellery creativity.
Click on the picture on top of the page to view the slideshow