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Cartier Exhibition Shares the Maison’s Watchmaking Stories

A new Cartier exhibition shares the maison’s watchmaking stories spanning more than a century.

A watch that never needs to be regulated or lubricated. A timepiece with a stunning power reserve of 32 days (that’s practically forever in the world of mechanical watches, where 48 to 72 hours is the standard). A double-axis tourbillon that seems to float within the dial. These are just a few of the stunning innovations that have emerged from Cartier’s Fine Watchmaking division, since it unveiled its first collection in 2008.

Even as the forward-thinking designs of the division – helmed by Carole Forestier, its lauded head of movement creation – continue to grab headlines and get watch journalists into a tizzy, a new exhibition by the French fine jewellery and watch maison is set to put its men’s timepiece ranges under the spotlight as well.

Open to the public at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza on May 24 and 25, Shape Your Time celebrates the launch of the new Calibre de Cartier Diver – as well as the brand’s five men’s watch “pillars”. Featuring distinct aesthetic styles and identities, these pillars comprise the Tank, Santos de Cartier, Ballon Bleu de Cartier, Calibre de Cartier and Fine Watchmaking.

A central aim of the event? Storytelling. In an interview with The Peak, Cartier regional managing director (South- east Asia and Australia) Gregoire Blanche explained: “The maison has many amazing stories that many people may not know, and a very broad and creative range of offerings.

“We want to surprise and share new knowledge not just with those who are very familiar with the maison, such as our patrons, but also with people who might have seen only the Cartier boutique facades.”

One of the company’s most hallowed stories, for instance, relates to its classic square-face watch, the Santos. In 1904, the year the Santos was created, men typically used pocket watches.

Ballon Bleu de Cartier chronograph watch, extra- large model in pink gold.
Ballon Bleu de Cartier chronograph watch, extra- large model in pink gold.
Tank MC in pink gold.
Tank MC in pink gold.
ID Two Concept Watch
ID Two Concept Watch
Santos-Dumont Skeleton watch in white gold.
Santos-Dumont Skeleton watch in white gold.
Calibre de Cartier Diver in steel.
Calibre de Cartier Diver in steel.

However, as Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont found, telling time by a pocket watch while flying a plane wasn’t the easiest thing to do. To solve this problem, he sought the help of his close friend, Louis Cartier, who then designed one of the world’s first wristwatches – the Santos. Today, it is one of the brand’s most recognisable styles, and lives on in a range of iterations, including the sleek and elegant Santos-Dumont and the sporty Santos 100.

Adds Blanche: “We want to engage visitors and provide them with details they may not know. Take the Calibre de Cartier Diver, for example. How many people know that it has a movement (1904 MC) designed, assembled and crafted by Cartier in its manufacture at La Chaux-de- Fonds? And how many know that the team that designed this movement, including Forestier, is the same team that worked on the amazing ID concept watches?

“We hope that by sharing as much information as we can, people will understand and appreciate the maison even more.”