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Legacy of time

Audrey Simon
Audrey Simon • 4 min read
Legacy of time
These stunning pieces show why Cartier, which has been in existence since 1847, has stood the test of time.
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These stunning pieces show why Cartier, which has been in existence since 1847, has stood the test of time.

SINGAPORE (June 17): When you buy a piece of Cartier jewellery or watch, you are buying into the heritage of the prestigious brand. Established in 1847, the maison has seen wars, the Great Depression and stock market crashes, and continues to develop a reputation for quality and excellence today.

As a result, the brand has many celebrities and members of royalty among its most loyal fans. They include King Edward IV, Wallis Simpson and Elizabeth Taylor. More recently, the Cartier Ballon Bleu was spotted on the wrist of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.

Here, we feature some stunning examples of why the brand continues to wow today.

Panthère watch

In the 1980s, Cartier was already creating timepieces for women. The Panthère de Cartier was a glamorous watch that was also a piece of jewellery. Streamlined, authentic and sophisticated, it combines the very best of Cartier design.

Tiny screws punctuate the bezel, while the flexible links of the gold bracelet coil elegantly around the wrist. The soft square shape, legendary octagonal sapphire winding crown and Roman numerals are other signature features.

Its lines, design and bracelet have not changed; the Panthère watch has that rare ability to stand the test of time. It is as contemporary and edgy today as ever.

To go with this year’s exquisite Panthère designs, Cartier created a visually stunning second advertising campaign, which is once again directed by Sofia Coppola featuring her favourite night spots in Los Angeles. The ad campaign stars actress Courtney Eaton, who embodies the Panthère woman: sexy, sophisticated and elegant.

It was shot at La Scala, a private club; Regen Projects Gallery, which houses bold and immersive art installations, and Mulholland Drive in Hollywood Hills, where many acting dreams are born.

Santos-Dumont watch

The Santos watch was the very first wristwatch to be manufactured by Cartier. As with any iconic product, it has a rich history. It all began when Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian inventor and pilot, asked his friend Louis Cartier to design a watch that he did not have to take out of his pocket whenever he needed to check the time. The result is the Santos aviation watch in 1904.

The new Santos-Dumont watch launched this year is understated, pared down and fitted with an alligator strap, staying true to its original designs from 1904. Cased in gold, gold and steel or all steel, it has Roman numerals, visible screws, a beaded winding crown and blue cabochon, all elements that perpetuate the heritage of this major watchmaking classic.

Its unchanged square shape — reminiscent of the geometry popular in Paris at the time — promotes pure and symmetrical design to mirror the four sharp corners of the Eiffel Tower. By symbolising the design revolution of the early 1900s, it ran counter-current to contemporary codes, highlighting straight lines and breaking with the round cases of the period’s pocket watches.

Santos de Cartier Chronograph watch

As a pilot, Alberto Santos-Dumont also wanted a way to measure time. To honour him, Cartier has taken the best way to measure time — the chronograph — and brought it into modern times. In the latest offering, Cartier gave it a single start/stop push button, visible at nine o’clock, with the reset function being directly integrated into the crown. This lighter design naturally leads to lighter movements.

The piece is fitted with the 1904-CH MC Cartier Manufacture movement, which distils the chronograph’s ingenious guidance and coordination systems — column wheel, vertical clutch and linear reset hammer — while demonstrating superb craftsmanship.

Like the Santos de Cartier collection as a whole, the bracelets and straps offer ultimate practicality. Available in steel, alligator leather or rubber, all versions can be interchanged thanks to the patented QuickSwitch system — the invisible mechanism that seamlessly blends into the architecture of the case. Meanwhile, the metal bracelet can be adjusted to the nearest link, thanks to its patented tool-free SmartLink size adjustment system.

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