The Stories Behind Cartier's Latest Heart-Stopping Timepiece Designs

BY Sophie Stevens / Feb 23 2020 / 11:41 AM

Marie-Laure Cérède, Cartier’s Creative Director of Watchmaking, reveals the inspiring stories behind the maison’s latest collections; often as beautiful as the pieces themselves

The Stories Behind Cartier's Latest Heart-Stopping Timepiece Designs

With nearly 20 years’ experience in the artistic side of watchmaking, Cartier’s Marie-Laure Cérède clearly knows what trends are coming next. “After a couple of years of oversized watches, we are coming to smaller, more refined models,” she tells us. “But now we need more uniqueness.” It’s a requirement she specifically notices in the Middle East, with its demand for statement watches. “It’s what I love about the region,” she explains. “The ladies here are not shy. They are very open-minded to choosing unique timepieces.” With that in mind, Marie-Laure talks us through some of Cartier’s latest heart-stopping designs...

1| Santos-Dumont 

Since its 1904 introduction as the first ever wristwatch created for men, the Santos has become a Cartier icon firmly favoured by women as well. “It’s known by everyone, there is no room for mistakes.” The pressure was therefore on when Marie-Laure created the latest Santos-Dumont model. “It is obviously inspired by the 1904 piece, but we had to bring it into the 21st century,” she explains. The result is an accessibly priced Santos with a quartz movement that loses nothing of the original favourite’s style. As Marie-Laure summarises, “For me, this is the new daily, easy watch of Cartier for every generation, and I think – and hope – that ladies will wear it too.”

2| Baignoire Allongée Céladon

Part of the maison’s Libre collection, this Baignoire Allongée version breathes high-jewellery techniques into fine watchmaking with its pavé-set diamond dial and Paraíba tourmaline bubble bezel. It was a watch designed with the Middle Eastern woman in mind: “When we have made such creations with the bubbles, for instance, we were thinking of women in the region because they have this assertive way of wearing watches with unique styles,” Marie-Laure explains.

3| Tank Chinoise Red

Also from the Libre collection, the Tank Chinoise Red reimagines the maison’s 1921 Tank model inspired by the marked horizontal lines of Chinese temple doors. “It was a square watch originally,” reveals Marie-Laure, “but here we have made the shape rectangular.” The standout feature of the watch, however, lies in the gemstones. “It’s a high jewellery setting,” she points out, referring to the beautiful buff-top rubies that have zero precious metal visible between them, complete with diamonds and sleek, beautiful black enamel.

4| Panthère de Cartier Manchette

One of the most recognisable emblems from the maison has been reinterpreted again in the Panthère de Cartier Manchette. "We wanted to emphasise the bracelet here,” notes Marie-Laure, referring to the openworked design with its off-centre dial. Available in extra large models in pink gold, or smaller designs in white, yellow or pink gold, the watch can also come with a black lacquer pixelated effect that adds a modern twist to this distinctive design.

5| Panthère de Cartier Figurative

Cartier has prided itself on its stunning three-dimensional Panther jewels for decades. Now, it’s the watches’ turn, with 2019’s Panthère de Cartier Figurative timepiece seeing a striped black lacquer and diamond-set bangle finished with a bejewelled panther head at one end and a lacquer watch dial at the other. “This is our Métiers d’Art piece,” Marie-Laure explains proudly. “For me, the beauty of the product comes before anything else. And the panther is my constant muse.”

From Harper's BAZAAR Arabia February 2020 Issue

Images courtesy of Cartier