As a member of the Cartier Fine Watchmaking Club, I enjoy the privilege of trying on the watches from the high-end production of the famed company and which are rapidly gaining as much respect as the legendary jewellery has enjoyed for decades already. This impressive feat is only possible because of the brilliant mind of Carole Forestier-Kasapi. She has been at the head of movement development since 2008 and since then been responsible for the birth of no less than 29 inhouse calibres – of which only three were made with help of the renowned Renaud-Papi movement development specialist.
For 2014, she once again has plenty of treats in store for fans of fine and innovative horology. Not only will Forestier-Kasapi and her team introduce five brand new inhouse movements (one of which will be the last made with the help of Renaud-Papi), but she is also introducing nine new models among which the Calibre de Cartier Diver´s watch is sure to be a huge hit and certain to make the male audience look twice when spotted in the retailer's window.
Never forget the passion
Do not be tempted to think this is just another diver's watch from Cartier. It is far more. With Forestier-Kasapi at the helm, nothing is done merely for fun, even though she jokes about “making toys”. That is just her humble way of explaining what she does for a living, but don't get her wrong: over lunch I had a long chat with her and asked her what gets her out of bed in the morning.
“In this line of business you need to constantly question yourself. Don't take anything for granted and don't just do things because they have always been done that way. Challenge yourself. Make sure you innovate, but not just for the sake of innovating. At the same time, always respect the past. Like an author, it is important to always remember what happens in the first chapter,” Forestier-Kasapi tells me in a very determined voice, making sure I understand what she´s saying and continues: “Never ever innovate at the expense of quality and durability. But most importantly: be passionate. This applies not only to watchmaking but to everything we do”.
With this in mind, it is no surprise that Forestier-Kasapi and her team have come up with a truly remarkable diver's watch. Not only is the Calibre de Cartier Diver ISO 6425 certified, which means a long list of rigorous tests performed on every single watch made (and not just sample tests); but it also features a unidirectional rotating bezel that looks good, operates smoothly, and evensounds great. “The sound of a rotating bezel is of the utmost importance for Cartier. Think of it as the closing of a car door. The right sound makes you think of quality. And that was the sound we went for,” Forestier-Kasapi points out, while explaining the 120 notches per full turn of the black ADLC-coated steel bezel, one notch per half minute.
As every watch is severely tested by the stringent ISO regulations, Cartier had to make a robust watch. But even though the Calibre de Cartier Diver can be used 300 meters below water, it is not huge or bulky like many other diver's watches. Actually it is only 1.2 millimetres larger than the standard three-hander Calibre de Cartier, which is clearly visible when placing the two watches next to each other. The slender height of only 11 millimetres has Forestier-Kasapi claim that this could very well be one of the slimmest diver´s watches on the market – at least among the ISO-certified mechanical ones on offer.
Fitted with a black rubber strap or bracelet, Calibre de Cartier Diver (powered by the inhouse automatic calibre 1904 MC) is offered in steel, two-tone or rose gold with a very reasonable entry price of €5,850 for the steel version on strap. And the success is inevitable.