Cartier Interview with Arnaud Carrez
At the SIHH our editor-in-chief spoke to Cartier’s head of communication about the company’s main vectors of communication.
How do you go about publicising an entirely new watch collection?
We are lucky to have some stunning designs and an absolutely fabulous brand driven by an enormous creative impulse and great freedom of expression. This is particularly apparent in the two collections were are introducing this year, which remain absolutely true to the house style, but nevertheless push the envelope creatively.
In terms of communication, we’re able to tell some wonderful stories, and that’s what people love about Cartier: this ability to contextualise our products in an unconventional way. The Drive collection, for example, is very Cartier in terms of its lines, and it is a perfect fit with our approach to watchmaking. It’s all about style and elegance, which translates faithfully to how we position our watch collections, which are defined by their lines and their design. We want to make the most of this distinctive positioning in the men’s watch sector.
Wearing a Cartier watch is an act of individuality. The famous men who have worn Cartier watches in the past, such as Andy Warhol, Yves Saint-Laurent and Albert Santos-Dumont, have been strong personalities who value freedom of expression. That is Cartier’s history, right there.
The Hypnose is a high jewellery watch, and we have no intention of watering it down. It is a noble piece, set with diamonds, with a very particular aesthetic targeted at a restricted clientele.
Cartier is introducing more new models than any other brand at the SIHH. How do you manage your communication with such a plethora of timepieces?
Not so very long ago, we were trying to give out too many messages, in my opinion. So for the last few years we have made our communication much clearer. We need this discipline because the creative drive at Cartier very real; it’s part of our identity to create and to push the boundaries. We do have a lot of new designs, that’s true, but they are carefully chosen.
What are the main pillars of Cartier’s communication strategy in terms of watchmaking?
That depends on the market. The degrees of masculinity and femininity may change, even if there is a clear delineation between our men’s and women’s lines. The Clé de Cartier, on the other hand, is our only collection that offers models for both sexes, and it has been tremendously successful since we rolled out our communication campaign last September. Some models have already become bestsellers.
What are your communication challenges as regards your watchmaking expertise, particularly in terms of research and development, an area where Cartier is a pioneer (we are thinking of the new Astromystérieux)?
Yes, the Astromystérieux is complicated! We talk about fine watchmaking, grand complications and technological challenges, but we also talk about the Cartier signature. We have some clients who are looking for a Cartier design with a grand complication. Some of them are completely au fait with the mechanics of the movement, but our starting point is the design, and the movement follows from that. The Crash Squelette in pink gold is the perfect example: it has the iconic Cartier shape and a skeleton movement that fits the technical requirements perfectly.
Given the pace of the last two years, should we expect a new collection every year?
There’s no rush, no inflationary spiral as far as our collections are concerned. We have some extremely powerful icons, and they form the foundations on which we can build.
Characterised by audacity and inventiveness, Cartier’s watchmaking history reflects a unique state of mind: “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”. Its renown is bound up in the tradition of excellence to which it is heir. Cartier was a forerunner in the use of platinum in jewellery and one of the pioneers of watchmaking.Find out more >
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