The house of Cartier replica is, for many, the epitome of luxury, a bastion of taste since 1847, whose little red-and-gold boxes are shorthand for the very special something inside them. Not surprisingly, Cartier has major snob appeal.
It’s reassuringly expensive, with a back catalog of high watchmaking for much of that history and high jewelry (for even more of it) with prices to make a Maharajah blush. So why is it that, as it edges towards it bicentenary, that the brand also feels like something acutely modern and accessible? We talked with Cartier’s International Marketing and Communications Director, Arnaud Carrez, about the brand’s uniquely broad perspective.
“Cartier’s singular vision of watchmaking,” says Carrez, “is all about starting with the design first, ensuring that we have a purity of line, that perfect sense of proportion.” This is a notable inversion of the dominant design theory, that form follows function, and it sets Cartier apart. Deriving as it did from the high jewelry world, design would naturally come first. That ethos spawned some of the earliest wristwatches, from the Santos in 1904, and many of the pillars of top quality copy Cartier watch design are still around today, well over a century later.
Dipping into the range of new watches that emerged from Cartier two weeks ago at Watches and Wonders, it’s easy to be blown away by the Privé Collection and super-elegant, super-limited-edition watches like the Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon replica with blue leather strap, one of three different tourbillons sold as a set (price is on request). Like the other two it’s a dumbfounding riff on the classic and popular Rotonde line.
It is mind-blowing—something akin, possibly, to the effects of taking LSD and winning the lottery at the same time. The skeleton automatic movement of the Astrotourbillon does away with almost all visible means of support, instead using the roman numerals at 12 and 6, or make that XII and VI, to form the etiolated bridges on which the entire tourbillon movement rests. These are special and unique watches (just 5 sets of three) for special and unique (and very rich) clients. Which is ironic because what really jumped out two weeks ago was Cartier’s seemingly endlessly renewable talent for making even more friends at the opposite end of the market.