Immersed within Cartier’s emblematic watchmaking style, lies the profound history of the Baignoire timepiece. Following the introduction of the square-shaped Santos watch in 1904 and the daring design of the Tortue in 1906, the Maison crafted a watch in 1912 featuring a rectangular case with rounded ends. This concept continued to evolve until 1958 when the renowned “curved oval” watch emerged, a timepiece boasting a slightly arched case that elegantly embraces the contours of the wrist. It was in 1973 that this iconic watch received the name “Baignoire,” already showcasing its distinctive characteristics: a domed crystal, a dial adorned with Roman numerals, and a sleek gold ribbon. Since then, the Baignoire watch has remained faithful to its essence, captivating admirers with a myriad of variations while retaining its individuality.
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The Evidence of An Encounter
Lou Doillon, an artist of multifaceted nature, joins the ranks of Parisian women who prioritize elegance, freedom, and spirit. Reflecting on her profound connection with Cartier, she states, “Cartier has been a part of both my family and me for a long time. To celebrate love and special occasions! For my eighteenth birthday, my mother gave me a Baignoire watch. Cartier, the elegance and chic of the sapphire, the sobriety of the dial, the timelessness of the form.”
Altering The Scale
By embracing a fresh ratio of proportions, the Baignoire watch undergoes a captivating transformation where the balance is reversed. It becomes both miniaturized and amplified. Within its petite case, the bangle expands like a magnified gadroon, encircling the delicate gold dial. This timepiece embodies purity of line, precision of form, and accuracy of proportion. It effortlessly graces the wrist as a jewelry piece, revered simply for its essential nature.
A Timepiece of Dual Personalities
Presenting itself with Roman numerals and a gracefully curved crystal, this timeless model now unveils two new iterations. The first incarnation celebrates sheer elegance, adhering to the philosophy of “Less is More.” It boldly asserts itself through delicate proportions, with a yellow gold bezel shimmering in contrast to a black patent leather strap. With an even greater sense of couture and refinement, this latest expression remains faithful to its singularity. The second variation transforms the emblematic oval shape of the watch into a resplendent bangle, a radiant circle of solar gold that adorns the wrist. It offers a fresh perspective, a novel tactile experience. Crafted in rose, yellow, or white gold, meticulously paved, it exudes an enhanced sensuality, with its curved case nestled intimately close to the wearer’s wrist. True to Cartier’s design culture, it effortlessly harmonizes with an array of iconic Cartier creations, allowing for infinite possibilities.
The Convergence of Maison’s Founding Crafts
Cartier, playing with the concept of time’s infinity, embraces the art of miniature watches, blurring boundaries and transcending expectations. Leveraging its dual identity as both jeweler and watchmaker, the Maison’s craftsmen fearlessly challenge existing achievements, pushing creative boundaries driven by an insatiable curiosity. Proportions shift, functionality transforms. Watches are no longer mere timekeeping instruments or ornaments; they metamorphose into a unique entity that transcends expectations. The savoir-faire is reimagined, technique fused with aesthetics, and excellence transcends from one domain to another.
For Jeanne Toussaint, creative director from 1933 to 1970, gold was an adored medium, malleable, radiant, and explored in every conceivable manner, be it through figurative or abstract creations. Gold became a language of enchantment, adorning miniature dials and precious bracelets. Similar to the Panthère de Cartier watch, the Baignoire now emerges as the quintessential jewelry timepiece.
“As Cartier was initially a jeweler before transitioning into the realm of watchmaking, a Cartier timepiece blurs the boundaries between these two foundational crafts, capturing the finest elements of both worlds. This amalgamation has resulted in the sleek and sophisticated design of the mini Baignoire. The combination of a beaded bracelet with clean lines and a diminutive dial, devoid of any superfluous elements, offers a sublime touch to this aesthetic tribute to our heritage. The mini Baignoire becomes an extraordinary jewelry piece,” elucidated Marie-Laure Cérède, the Creative Director of Jewellery and Watchmaking at Cartier.