You can count on Cartier to unveil technical and artistic marvels every year, and the maison didn’t disappoint at Watches and Wonders 2022. Highlights included a mysterious watch fitted with a movement that doubles as its own oscillating weight, as well as a timepiece with a flexible surface that redefines the very idea of tactility in a wristwatch. This is creativity at its most sublime, given form with the right technical expertise, and thoroughly Cartier in spirit. Here, the brand’s director of image, style and patrimony, Pierre Rainero, shares his perspectives on some of these pieces—and more.
One of Cartier’s most impressive creations this year is the Coussin de Cartier, which has a flexible, deformable surface. What led to the development of this timepiece?
I think the culture at Cartier was a necessary condition for this timepiece to be developed. Our technical and creative teams don’t work separately. Instead, we know in advance which direction we want to look towards for innovation. In this case, the watch embodies our view on jewellery creation, which is to work with tough, precious materials such as diamonds and platinum, yet give them life by achieving fluidity and movement with them. And indeed, this is what you see in the Coussin de Cartier.
It sounds like this watch’s concept was derived from Cartier’s high jewellery creations, given how they tend to be articulated and transformable?
That’s exactly it. It would be difficult to understand this watch’s positioning within Cartier’s line‑up without first making a link to the maison’s concept of jewellery creation.
What were some considerations when translating a high jewellery concept to this wristwatch?
The technical challenges were very different. You cannot, for example, create fluidity in a watch like how you do so for a necklace. A necklace needs to fit perfectly on the body and if you have a central motif, then this element must stay “anchored” on the body as its wearer moves about. What’s more, every woman is different, so there is also a consideration when designing how the necklace will sit.
In contrast, a watch is smaller and has a fixed position, so wrist movements will not affect its articulation. Instead, fluidity is achieved here by using a flexible mesh structure to create a tactile experience with the watch case. It cannot be too small though, or you wouldn’t be able to feel the fluidity of the case, so there must be a balance between having a large enough surface and limiting its size for it to remain elegant.