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Cartier CEO Cyrille Vigneron Discusses Watch Design Strategies And More For The Brand

During the latest Watches & Wonder Geneva exhibition, I secured a one-on-one interview with Cartier International’s CEO and President, Cyrille Vigneron. It was an thrilling exhibition for Cartier, which launched a world’s first mechanical surprise that was eight years within the making, some spectacular métiers d’Arts items utilizing marquetry, miniature portray and extra, and a world’s first “squishy” cushion watch fabricated from gold mesh.

At the helm of Cartier for simply over six years now, Vigneron is considerably of a Renaissance man. Cultured, smooth spoken and articulate, he mentioned historical past, artwork, tradition and international inspirations which have impressed Cartier over time.

“Geography, art and other influences from around the world are all sources of inspiration that we continue to reinterpret and make contemporary. It can be something simple like the Tank, or geometric, Islamic, Chinese, but Cartier also has other inspirations, like floral motifs, the panther motif – figurative or not figurative — and other animals that spark our imagination. History runs in circles, culture moves in circles and we are part of those circles.”

With these inspirations in thoughts, Vigneron was keen to speak about Cartier design technique and overarching themes. “We have three main parts to our watchmaking strategy,” mentioned Vigneron. “The first is to remain true to who we are; everything we do starts with the design and then the technology has to support that design. We must make beautiful watches because we have a long history in designing beautiful shapes and aesthetics.”

Cartier’s first non-round watch form, in any case, was the Tank within the early 1900’s. Later got here the Panther (sq.), the Santos (cushion-cornered sq.), the Baignoire (oval), and different distinctively Cartier appears to be like, together with the beloved Crash watch.

“We have a plurality of design, and each is exuberant, each is mysterious, each is innovative, and they all define Cartier uniquely. So, when it comes time to create something new, we don’t have the need to go out and start fresh. We just revitalize our past by taking a fresh look at everything we have done for the past 100years,” mentioned Vigneron.

In specific, he notes the Crash unveiled this 12 months with a colourful tiger-stripe motif, the Tank Chinoise with coloured geometric motif on the motion components, the triangular Privee’ bracelet watch that remembers the Rock Crystal bracelet worn by Gloria Swanson and the Coussin cushion-shaped mesh gold bracelet that really strikes when pressed with a finger.

“Of course, the Cartier Privee watches and special pieces should remain rare and be created only in limited quantities for those who want something truly different. They are a nod to the creativity we showcase when we have fresh eyes on the past,” mentioned Vigneron.

In addition to staying true to its core design worth and holding restricted rarities, Cartier additionally deal with on the sophisticated watch, which lately has predominantly been the skeleton or the mysterious watches. Of specific be aware this 12 months is the Masse Mysterieuse, which was eight years within the making and options your complete mechanical motion housed contained in the rotor. A world-first for the model, this mechanical sophisticated timepiece is destined for watchmaking historical past books.

“We don’t start out with our research and design to make a vision we see as the end result. It comes more from open innovations. For example, with the cushion watch that is fluffy, we asked if our designers could find new materials and they opted to find new ways to construct materials we already had, like mesh. So, the product innovation comes in the research, but you never know what the end result will be. When we find something really interesting that we think will make a beautiful product, we go with it. Sometimes we make only one because we don’t know if it will sell or not,” mentioned Vigneron, noting that the model retains the really modern watches unique.

He recalled the Cartier Revelation watch launched just a few years in the past that options gold beads in it that fashioned a panther’s head. It was born of analysis into utilizing fluids for design and was so wildly in demand that the model launched it to the gathering — however can nonetheless solely make 100 items per 12 months.

Vigneron admits that the model has ready lists: one thing a lot of right now’s collectors of sure manufacturers with intense, lengthy lists are complaining about. For occasion, to personal a Crash watch or a Santos Skeleton, there’s a few two-year ready listing.

“We don’t want to have over visibility in the market. We believe in limited numbers of creatin watches to keep them are. If you don’t have waiting lists, the watch is not special anymore become it can be found everywhere. I think it is about waiting lists versus instant gratification, and I think waiting makes you cherish it longer and hold on to it longer.”

Ensuring that Cartier is a part of the answer to necessary points, as nicely, Vigneron has bolstered the model’s dedication to sure initiatives (together with creating the Cartier Women’s Initiative) and to the surroundings and biodiversity. Because the Panther is so necessary o Cartier, the model has began initiatives to avoid wasting sure endangered panther species, or to revive their pure habitats to allow them to develop. Such is the case with the desert panther in Saudi and the Snow Panther in China.

“We joined the UN Development Program, the Lion’s Share, where we work to share profits to support and protect iconic animals and their environment,” mentioned Vigneron, noting that the model not often talks about its totally different philanthropic ventures. “Our policy tis to do first, it is not about communicating about it, it is about doing the direct funding and helping, doing due diligence first. We talk, but we walk more.”

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