A transformation, a revelation, a form of extravagance
— December 1st, 2017 —
The Cartier LIBRE collection causes us to lose our bearings, invites speculation of our visual interpretation, and reveals a hidden meaning. It is a transformation, a revelation, a form of extravagance that ensures the impact of Cartier LIBRE. An artful distortion of the oval.
Cartier Crash Radieuse watch - Cartier Libre collection Yellow gold – Manual movement 8970 MC – Numbered limited edition of 50 pieces
Crash the Crash watch. Take it to the next level. Crumple the crushed dial with gadroons, stretch the outsize Roman numerals to the point of hallucination, and carve the shockwave right in the centre of the dial. Feminine and beyond categorisation, the Crash watch appears in a version even more extreme than itself. The original accident is revealed as a feat of artistic value, elegance and affirmation.
Cartier Baignoire Débordante watch - Collection Cartier Libre White gold, case set with diamonds & black spinels - Quartz movement - Numbered limited edition of 50 pieces
Master the solid as much as the hollow to craft an artful architecture. Pierce with openwork a ring of open petals around a watch and sprinkle generously with precious and fine stones. Fear not the scale of the volumes, nor the sparkle of the gems. Do not hold back; simply savour and celebrate the passing of the hours.
Cartier Baignoire Infinie watch - Cartier Libre collection White gold, case set with diamonds & black spinels - Quartz movement - Numbered limited edition of 50 pieces
Take the Baignoire Allongée watch and discard all but the curves. Stretch out the case, zoom in on the centre and invite the gaze into the hour circle. Dice with disequilibrium, and yield to the dizzying, shimmering sight of a dial paved with baguette-cut diamonds, white mother-of-pearl, Tahitian mother-of-pearl, and black spinels. The gems produce a sparkling spectacle played out over three crowns, a ring of diamonds encircling the absolute of a minuscule black dial. Shaped jewellery that flaunts the proportions of an extrovert.
Cartier Baignoire Infinie watch - Cartier Libre collection White gold, case set with diamonds & black spinels, mother-of-pearl – Quartz movement – Numbered limited edition of 20 pieces
Cartier Baignoire Étoilée watch - Cartier Libre collection White gold, case and bracelet set with diamonds & black spinels – Quartz movement – Numbered limited edition of 15 pieces
A crystalline cascade of glittering diamonds and black spinels. Suspended, the light undulates across the skin. Black melts into white as contrasting colours cast illusions around a minuscule dial set with a double row of stones.
Cartier Baignoire Interdite - Cartier Libre collection White gold, paved bezel, ADLC – Quartz movement – Numbered limited edition of 50 pieces
To disorient the eye, turn the oval dial of the Baignoire watch crosswise on the wrist. The gaze flickers between the top, where oversize Roman numerals wrap the case in strips coated in glossy black ADLC, and the bottom, where the diamond-ringed dial alternately emerges and hides. The incontrovertible elegance of a classic aesthetic in love with freedom.
The Cartier Libre collection
Cartier Baignoire Débordante
Cartier Baignoire Infinie
Cartier Baignoire Etoilée
Cartier Baignoire Interdite
Cartier Crash Radieuse
The Cartier Libre collection was born of a desire to play with the Maison’s signature watch shapes. They are stretched, shrunk and transformed into objects of fantasy with unbridled creative licence. Cartier Libre appeals to the Collectionneuse, the figure of the watchmaking collector.
Hitherto unseen shapes echo the Baignoire and Crash watches. Their proportions are disrupted, volumes accentuated and lines lengthened. Seeking to disrupt the Cartier repertoire, these are adventures in extravagance where precious materials and contrasting colours are breathtakingly feminine and minimalist in design.
The aesthetic that emerges is like no other. It defies categorisation. The Cartier codes are present; whether visible or perceptible only to the eye of the connoisseur, they are the ultimate guarantee of authenticity. The result is radical, brazen, paradoxical: the tension between refinement and excess. Five limited-edition individually numbered jewellery watches meet a single definition: the immediately recognisable Cartier signature.
Behind the scenes at the watch creation studio
Design is the feeling, the intuition that inspires an object of beauty. There is no substitute for a hand-drawn design.
The Cartier Watch Creation Studio is a sunny oasis in the heart of Paris where jewellery watches are designed and developed. In the hushed, light-filled studio an atmosphere of concentration pervades as the teams pore over their work. Young, international, and representing a diverse array of backgrounds, each member of the team has forged their own individual path. Their complementary skill sets unleash a synergy that makes each member an indispensable contributor to the creative tasks at hand.
Once the initial black-and-white design is complete, it is time to decide on the colours of the latest watch in the Cartier Libre collection.
The first step in the design process is the drawing. Design is the feeling, the intuition that inspires an object of beauty. There is no substitute for a hand-drawn design. The designer works freestyle, tapping into the repertoire and codes of the Maison to conjure into being a fledgling Cartier creation. The drawing serves as a reference point. It is used to draft the specifications of the production process and anticipate the challenges involved. It acts as a guide to production of the three-dimensional piece.
The gemstones are sourced for their colour, ability to catch the light, and compatibility with the unique colour palette of the piece. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the final realisation begins to take shape.
The drawing is then converted to 3D to confirm its feasibility. The painstaking step of fleshing out the proportions constitutes a whole design process of its own. Every last detail is scrutinised; nothing can be left to chance, from the 3D drawings to the production of the wax casts.
The designers liaise with the mock-up team, which is tasked with adapting the technical constraints to the aesthetic. The sole objective is to stay true to the design. The process is paved with challenges, and new techniques may need to be developed to meet the requirements along the way. The Design Office is responsible for ensuring the product meets the quality standards of the Cartier Manufacture in La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
The idea becomes reality. The designers pore over the stones one by one to mentally tweak the proportions and the interplay of light. The geometry of the product is scrupulously analysed in theory before moving onto the execution stage.
Once these constraints are understood they can be converted into creative opportunities that enhance the design. The complexity of the design process can be seen in this constant trade-off between opposing concerns.
Once the proportions have been defined, all of the elements that comprise the watch are individually assessed in light of their particularities. On this dial, the setting of the stones is complex; the challenge is to obtain a perfect fit on the wrist.