A Reflection of the Times

Published in PRIVATE TIME 2016

What women want is taking on a whole new meaning when it comes to legacy gifts. DEBBIE HATHWAY finds out more from Cartier Image, Style and Heritage Director Pierre Rainero.

WE’RE IN THE AGE of self-love, or self-gifting, writes a Telegraph reporter in an article about the trend concerning the acquisition of the covetable Cartier Love Bracelet.

It’s now more of a personal indulgence than a spoil from a loved one, while The Business Insider notes that Cartier is one of the top five resold brands shoppers purchased on The RealReal website in 2015. ‘The site sells between 10 and 20 bracelets a month, and they sell within minutes after they’re posted.’ My point?

Cartier’s reputation as a feminine brand, thanks mainly to the Maison’s prized jewellery creations designed since its foundation in 1847, is standing firm. Cartier image, style and heritage director Pierre Rainero acknowledges that the modern buying trend applies as much to watch making as it does to jewellery. ‘It used to be that men chose for women, but now that women have their own acquisition power, they don’t need a man to acquire a piece of jewellery. Nonetheless, Cartier continues to create objects as beautifully as we can – the life that goes with them is up to the clients.’

‘Every generation wants something different, a reflection of their time,’ he muses. ‘They may not wish to be like their parents but they can be like their grandparents, and the distance that generational gap creates allows them to work out what they like themselves.’ private-time-2016-cover

A trend that’s becoming stronger, Rainero notes, is the notion of renewal or newness. ‘What we’re seeing at Cartier is a growing number of people wanting something really personal.
It’s about individualism… being truly oneself. It’s not just about being different. We have only one life – and with recent world events, people are realising that life can be really short.’

Cartier designers are rising to the challenge, suffering none of the designer fatigue that some are blaming for the demise of high fashion. ‘When everything appears to have been done, that becomes even more challenging,’ says Rainero. ‘And for Cartier, there is the additional requirement for new creations always to represent the style and history of the Maison.’

The Cartier design team can follow two paths: pursuing the purest shape possible or inventing a more expressive shape that indicates inspiration from the past, such as the squared-off Tank Chinoise of the ’20s. The new men’s Drive de Cartier, launched at the 2016 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, was finalised in a geometrical shape that could not have any reference to the first part of the 21st century. ‘Its case is square with rounded sides – ambiguous and intriguing,’ says Rainero. It’s still undeniably Cartier with its patterned guilloche dial and blue sapphire winding crown, but the model’s cushion-shaped case, domed crystal, six o’clock counter and textured-satin finish are expected to hold their own within the legacy of Cartier shaped watches.

The transparent case back reveals one of two movements: the 1904-PS MC, which tells the hours, minutes, and small seconds and date; or the 1904-FU MC, which features a second time zone, a day/night indicator, a large date and small seconds. The top-of-the-range fine watchmaking version boasts a flying tourbillon 9452 MC and Poinçon de Genève certification.

What, then, defines a Cartier novelty? This is seen as a new creation in terms of decoration, although there must still be a particular sense of proportion, volume, line and definitive vocabulary, Rainero explains. The new Hypnose is an example, a classically elegant combination of alluring black lacquer and diamonds set within the oval shape that is part of the Cartier DNA. Notably, it has no crown. To change the time, the wearer simply pushes on the case back.

Perhaps one of the most memorable novelties of the fair is another addition to the iconic Panthère Collection. The Panthères et Colibri (hummingbird) features a dial animation triggered through the action of pushing the crown. This reveals a baby panther in pink gold that creeps out from below its mother to pounce on the hummingbird, which duly takes evasive action along an arc that indicates the remaining power reserve. ‘The craftsmanship is beyond compare,’ says Rainero. The black diamond-studded background of the dial involves the painstaking patterning of black-laquer spots on the mother’s coat of 270 brilliant-cut diamonds.
For more information, visit cartier.com.

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