Cartier: How an old-school jeweler takes control of the watchmaking world


These qualities mean that Cartier watches are not like everyone’s. While the watch collection has exploded as a business and hobby over the past decade, this could have been seen as a downside: many nascent obsessives overly focus on details like chronometer certification or earnings. tiny in dark areas. (Do you know if your watch has a new and improved escapement?) “You’re brainwashed with terminology people write about Hodinkee and you read on the forums, and you don’t even know what that means, ”says Eric Ku, collector and dealer of Cartier watches. “People always say something like, ‘Hey, there’s no movement internally!’ My response to that is like, “Why is internal movement better?” And no one can answer this question.

The new Bell.

Ku’s point is that a whole generation of collectors has learned to value cheesy features. Now they are launching into a truly blue design. For comparison, think about what has happened in menswear over the past decade. This area was once dominated by strictly enforced esotericism – guys who put their jeans in the freezer, or who insisted that surgeons’ cuffs be placed on the sleeves of their suits. The style was more of a stencil than a means of individual expression. Today, masculine style is a limitless affair. The watchmaking world seems to follow.

The Cartier tour is a sign that collectors are starting to turn the corner of this sensibility. “The reason Cartier is so hot right now is that people are realizing – finally realizing – that design is just as important as complications or other attributes that people usually talk about. they’re talking about watches, ”says Ku. And this is exactly where the strength of the brand lies: “Cartier draws on more than 100 years of rock-solid design for wristwatches.”

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In recent years, Cartier has made a point of capitalizing on this history. In 2017, the brand relaunched what it calls the Privé collection, taking the watches out of the archives and remaking them for today. The program is responsible for some of the brand’s most interesting recent releases, like the Asymmetric, which tilts on its axis, and the bell-shaped bell. “This shows the consistency of Cartier’s watchmaking approach,” says Pierre Rainero, international director of Cartier’s image, style and heritage. A Cartier Vintage program broadcast in the brand’s boutiques also highlights the quirks that have emerged from the house throughout its history. If a brand like Rolex boasts of its connection to adventurers, Cartier essentially claims design.

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