Luxury's 25 Most Innovative Brands: Cartier

<< Back to Robb Report, August 2013

A common lament among certain collectors and industry insiders is that expanding group ownership of the leading watch brands (and the resulting incursion of corporate culture) has lowered a damper on new ideas at these houses, deterring watchmakers from taking risks. This theory, however, neglects to account for the recent creative surge at Cartier, the jewel in the well-ornamented crown of parent company Richemont, which operates on the principle that the brand, not the individual, is the star. Yet, in this case at least, the brand has attained its current success through the efforts of talented individuals who have been empowered to venture beyond the safe watchmaking that is the usual product of a company its size.

A relatively small development team has been able to marshal Cartier’s considerable resources to design a portfolio of watches that is impressive for both the breadth of its offerings and the depth of its technical sophistication. In addition to its mainstream offerings, Cartier is presenting more than 32 jewelry and high-jewelry watches this year, each of them embodying levels of imagination and artistic vision that rival the best work from other makers in the category. In the arena of complicated watches, Cartier has earned the unquestioned respect of watchmakers and collectors, thanks to the company’s lead developer, Carole Forestier-Kasapi, whose years of effort have equipped the house with design prowess and technical expertise that now outstrip the capabilities of many established Swiss brands. Pieces like the Astrotourbillon Carbon Crystal are flamboyantly inventive yet still fall within Cartier’s recognized design envelope. This model benefitted from Cartier’s ID1 research and development project, a non-commercial concept watch showcasing futuristic technology that initially appeared more gratuitously experimental than practical. Nevertheless, as this technology gradually permeates Cartier’s watch collection, the Swiss brands may come to the alarming realization that the Parisian jeweler has developed an uncomfortable lead in what they thought was their own game. 800.227.8437, www.cartier.com

Arnold & Son reenvisions its founder’s 18th-century clocks through contemporary eyes…
Lambert explains Montblanc’s considered approach to embracing the smart watch…
Having sold out in a matter of months, the limited-edition release will be available again July 1…
FREE PREVIEW: The Dior VIII Grand Bal Pièce Unique (2014 Editions) is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best...
Drawing from diverse themes, all five one-of-a-kind watches take extravagance to the next level…
Developed completely in-house, the watch’s racecar roots keep its design on track…
The device can measure a watch’s accuracy rate to within 0.1 second per day…
FREE PREVIEW: The Christophe Claret Maestoso is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best...
Thanks to its mind-blowing miniature movement, the thinnest of the new watches is less than a third...
The DB25 Quetzalcoatl’s dial features a solid-gold representation of the mythical serpent…