The master craftsmen and designers of high fashion in watches dedicate years to developing sophisticated designs made with innovative materials. However, the secret of their art is based on the mastery of achieving the perfect balance between the centuries-old tradition of their manufacturers and the forward-looking spirit of their creations, such that in each piece, time passes and simultaneously stops.
CARTIER: TIME THAT'S TIMELESS
Form and beauty are Cartier's raison d'etre. "The Maison Cartier is synonymous with shaped watches," said Pierre Rainero, image, style and heritage director of the Paris house. Thus was born one of Cartier's emblematic pieces, the Santos, a square watchface created as a break from the long tradition of round watches.
The search for the right design in terms of form, proportion, volume, and lines can last two to three years. But, paradoxically, in this process time isn't of paramount importance. "Sometimes we stop when we are not totally at ease with the design. We only commercialize the model when it is accomplished," said Rainero. And if it isn't there, it isn't there. "The hardest thing is to say, 'No', when it still isn't ready. You need courage to do that."
For Cartier, innovation is focused on materials and handcrafting. The craftsmen work with two different ideas: to give birth anew to a tradition or to innovate in craftsmanship. "For the Panthere de Cartier watch relaunched this year, we studied the original sketch from the 1983 watch to check if adjustments were necessary. At the end, no changes on aesthetics were necessary so we decided to relaunch the original one," Rainero said.
For the 100th anniversary of the Tank, in September the House launched its latest innovation, the Tank Cintree Skeleton, which posed the major challenge of creating the movement of a curved skeleton.
But what makes Cartier watches unique? "Shape," was Rainero's emphatic reply to Latin Trade. "Ergonomics is essential. We create objects to wear. Elegance is how the watch fits the wrist."
That's why the smartphone revolution doesn't worry them. "Our watches aren't created to be functional, but rather to give pleasure in wearing a beautiful object."
TAG HEUER: BETWEEN AVANT-GARDE AND HISTORY
For TAG Heuer, a watch not only measures time, it brings back memories. It's not just about function, it's also about emotion. "When I look at my watch, I remember that I wore it when my daughter was born, I remember the diving trips I did...