Breaking the mould

Breaking the mould

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< CEO speak >

Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Head of Movement Creation at Cartier, talks about transforming the image of the coutierer from being a jewellery brand to one also involved with fine watchmaking , with Mitrajit Bhattacharya


Traditionally, we know of Cartier as a jeweller. However, we have seen amazing development at Cartier as a fine watchmaking brand in the past five years…
We are now one of the major stakeholders in the fine watchmaking world. We have now reached the age of maturity and will be able to expand and continue growing.

Cartier has come out with path-breaking movements in the past, like the Astrotourbillon. Can you just tell  us some of the key steps that went into making Cartier a fine watchmaking brand?
In the first year, we made a flying tourbillon in the Ballon Bleu. People liked it. But the reaction they had was more on the wait-and-watch lines. The next year, we started to advance. In 2009, we came out with the skeleton and the central chronograph. And then, we had the Astrotourbillon, our first perpetual calendar and high complication.

This year has been fantastic in terms of the products you’ve come out with. Which one took the most time to develop?
The Tank Anglaise. It has everything: innovation, beautiful jewellery, functionality as also playfulness.

How come all your tourbillon movements do not have the Poinçon de Genève, like the Rotonde de Cartier does?
Our manufacture is international. One of the requirements to get the Geneva Seal is assembling the movements within the Canton of Geneva. We have about 16 watchmakers in the Geneva workshop. But there is no way I can assemble the best watches in Geneva; if I do, my watchmakers and engineers working in La Chaux-de-Fonds would be demotivated.

So, there a geographical reason behind this. Do your internal tests show that you match the criteria of the Geneva Seal?
The internal tests at Cartier are much stricter than the criteria which have to be fulfilled to get the Geneva Seal. Our chronometric measures are completely different than the one made or required by the Geneva Seal. There are now new standards, new requirements for the Geneva Seal, and there is now a criteria regarding the chronometry which was not the case before. However, we did not have to upgrade our movement to fulfill the new criteria to comply with.

You had a distinguished career with brands like Zenith and Renaud & Papi among others. How did that experience help you in developing watch manufacturing in Cartier?
It is all part of the experience. I believe that every time you experience something, you learn something from it. The products made by these companies are different, and so are their challenges. These are separate worlds, experiences that are completely different. I learn from them all.