ensemble
Architecture & Design

The Cartier Libre Collection Ventures Outside the Lines for SIHH 2018

In an effort to showcase their playful side, Cartier has reimagined some of their signature case shapes through the introduction of five limited edition jeweled watches, in time for the 2018 edition of the Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva.

By Barbara Palumbo
Journalist

According to a study released on November 28th by luxury marketing and research group MVI Marketing, female millennials (in the age category 25 to 40) who make an annual salary of $80,000 or more ranked Cartier in their top two for luxury jewelry purchases. And male millennials making the same annual salary ranked the brand 4th overall for luxury watch purchases, and with good reason. Cartier – unlike many of today’s still-iconic Swiss watch brands – has made critical moves to ensure that they stay on the minds of present and future generations, starting with whom they select as part of their design team at the Cartier Watch Creation Studio located in Paris. According to the brand, “Young, international, and representing a diverse array of backgrounds, each member of the team has forged their own individual path.” And in no designs presented by Cartier has that individuality been more apparent than as in the soon-to-be-released limited edition pieces in the Cartier Libre Collection.

Let’s take a closer look at the brand’s five newest fanciful (yet functional) watches for women.

Drawing of the Cartier Baignoire Débordante

Baignoire Débordante

While the negative space in the design of the watch’s case is a focal point, part of the draw of the timepiece’s beauty is in the meaning behind its name. “Baignoire,” the French word for “bathtub,” reflects the oval shape of the watch, and if a bathtub is filled to the absolute brim, it would be described as “débordante” just prior to it overflowing, which is what the bezel-set gemstones appear to do in the watch’s design. Limited to 50 pieces, the 18K white gold Baignoire Débordante contains a quartz movement and its case is embellished with both white round brilliant cut diamonds and black spinel gemstones.

Cartier Baignoire Débordante

Baignoire Infinie

Sleek yet unassuming, the Cartier Baignoire Infinie beckons the beholder’s eye to the watch’s center through its usage of tapered baguette diamonds and black spinels interspersed in a circular, tile-like fashion, with Tahitian and white mother-of-pearl accents that appear from a distance to be never-ending.

The Baignoire Infinie will be available in 18K white gold, contain a quartz movement, and be limited to 20 pieces.

Cartier Baignoire Infinie

Baignoire Etoilée

Darkness falls into light and light to dark again with the cascading outer design of the Cartier Baignoire Etoilée; a watch that reminds the wearer that life can be filled with contrast, illusion, and different degrees of each, but that all can be beautiful if reflected upon positively.

Limited to 15 pieces, the Baignoire Etoilée contains white diamonds and black spinel gemstones set in 18K white gold and contains a quartz movement. 

Cartier Baignoire Etoilée

Baignoire Interdite

Of the five new designs in the Cartier Libre Collection, the Baignoire Interdite is by far the edgiest and not just because of its “forbidden” name association. The glossy black Roman numeral “strips” covering the western and eastern sides of the case’s oval give the watch an almost bondage-like feel, while the femininity of the white diamonds delicately peeking out in certain sections of the bezel exemplifies the brand’s still traditional side. The Baignoire Interdite in a sense represents the modern woman: free to choose who she wants to be and happiest when not conforming to norms.

Limited to 50 pieces, the Baignoire Interdite will be available in 18K white gold with a quartz movement. The watch’s bezel contains white round brilliant cut diamonds with the outer Roman numerals being made of ADLC.

Cartier Baignoire Interdite

Crash Radieuse

How does one mangle the already mangled? By giving it senses other than sight. The Crash Radieuse takes the original Cartier Crash, which focused largely on the watch’s exterior aesthetics, and adds both feeling and the idea of sound through the use of enameled “shock waves” emanating from the dial’s center over the (now faded) hours of time, itself.

The Cartier Crash Radieuse contains the caliber 8970 MC manual movement which is housed in an 18K yellow gold case, and the watch is limited to 50 pieces. 

Cartier Crash Radieuse

Summary

The playfulness, thoughtfulness, and edge put into the five limited edition watches in the Cartier Libre Collection is a much needed and refreshing break from the standard re-issues that many other watch brands have released. I anticipate that these watches should be well received at the SIHH and we’re looking forward to seeing all of Cartier’s novelties next month!

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