One of the certainties at SIHH each year is the more than 100 novelties that Cartier usually announces, so it was quite a surprise in 2017 when the maison unveiled only 36 new models at the fair. Although part of it might be a strategy to spread out the collections through the year, the brand sees this as a concerted effort to give each collection some breathing space with their clients.
“This is a notion we had in mind for a long time already. We all want to propose new things, but we are not doing it just for the sake of it. If we want to respect each of the creations, we should give them more space to live,” says Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s director of style, image and heritage.
“We had 100 creations and it’s impossible for anyone to talk about everything. It’s really to respect each of our creations and maybe to do our work better. I think this is very positive, which is probably more pressure on one item and less pressure on so many items. So maybe it’s important to go much more in depth on each of the projects.”
Despite having dropped about three-quarters of its normal numbers, Cartier still managed to show a good range of products, from entry level to high jewellery. The French maison has traditionally been highly popular with the fairer sex and this year’s main collection – Panthère de Cartier – has kept this focus.
The new collection is a reintroduction of the 1980s iconic timepieces, inspired by Jeanne Toussaint, the legendary creative director of the maison. The new interpretations come in four sets of small and medium sizes: from stainless steel to gold and steel, pink gold and yellow gold. The pink gold and white gold sets are also available with a pavé bezel.
Those who prefer full pavé will have options in either small or medium in white gold and also a full pavé white gold edition in medium with black enamel spots. The last set is a limited edition of an art-deco-inspired pink gold and black enamel series that comes in 30 pieces each size. “We had used enamel with the dial. The idea was to expand it and to play with each of the part of the bracelets. I was not sure at the beginning that it would. It’s very Cartier also in that it’s in between attraction and integration. It’s also very contemporary,” Rainero says.
Also for women is the brand’s high-jewellery collection. The Papyrus watch comes in white gold, with 32 cushion-shaped Zambian emeralds for a total weight of 38.2ct, onyx, triangular diamonds, and brilliant-cut diamonds. Despite its delicate size, the sparkling creation houses a mechanical
movement with manual winding, calibre 846.
The Trait d’Éclat watch also comes in white gold, with 15 oval Mozambican rubies weighing a total of 24.93ct, baguette-cut diamonds, and brilliant-cut diamonds. Powering it is the calibre 101, a mechanical movement with manual winding.
Another jewelled piece is the Panthère Joueuse, which features a bejewelled panther motif pavéd with diamonds and emeralds for the eyes and black enamel for its spots. The white gold 40mm case is set with brilliant-cut diamonds and houses the automatic calibre 9918 MC.
The latest from Cartier’s Maison des Métiers D’Art is the Ronde Louis Cartier XL Flamed Gold Watch. Flamed gold is the latest technique in Cartier’s repertoire of crafts and requires perfect mastery of intense heat.
The most precise temperatures are needed to elicit the colours necessary for the engraving of the life-like panther head onto the 18ct gold dial: the hottest flame produces blue; and the coolest beige. The 18ct white gold case measures 42mm and houses the manual-winding calibre 430 MC with a bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds.
Male fans have not been forgotten this year. The momentum from last year’s successful launch of the Drive continues with an extra-flat reinterpretation. At less than 7mm thick, the Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat watch is 40 per cent slimmer than the original model. It retains its clean lines and elegant look, and is fitted with a mechanical movement with the manual winding 430 MC. The model is available in pink gold, or in a limited edition of 200 pieces in white gold.
From its fine watchmaking division, the brand also presented the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour watch, showcasing the maison’s mysterious movement with an off-centre dial with
a skeletonised Roman numerals bridge.
The mysterious movement is an in-house complication that was introduced more than a century ago with the first mystery clocks in 1912 and Cartier has been increasingly using it for its watches.
The 42mm palladium case houses the calibre 9983 MC. In the Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon watch, the mysterious calibre 9407 MC movement encounters the rhythmic spectacle of the maison’s open-work minute repeater for the first time.
The mysterious double tourbillon is off-centred between 9 o’clock and 10 o’clock, and is all the more impressive as the minute repeater’s hammering action is visible at 6 o’clock. This masterpiece comes in a 42mm titanium case with a beaded crown set with a sapphire cabochon.
“What you see today is the result of at least two years’ work. So the decision was taken, two years ago, to release what we were going to show this year. We wanted to come with a strong proposal for women and the Drive was on its way to more elegance, and for the men’s it was to make the movement thinner. And, we have our Metiers D’Art and our complications. So we have a pretty good range,” Rainero says.