Which piece were you most excited about from a technical perspective this year at SIHH?
The Double Mysterious Tourbillon Minute Repeater, because it’s a masterpiece joining two complications together. It proves our level of knowledge, to be able to propose this piece, which is very flat, only 11mm in thickness.
What comes first when you’re working on a watch – the idea, the design or the movement?
Depends. For complicated watches, the movement comes first. For regular watches it’s the design. It’s really teamwork, and we put together a designer and an engineer, and they have to find a solution together. To compromise, to make good choices together, until the final project.
What’s the relationship between the fine-watchmaking department and the jewellery department?
It’s very close when we develop high-jewellery watches, because high jewellery requires the same savoir faire, whether it’s for jewellery or watches.
The Tank celebrates its 100th birthday this year. What has changed?
Changes to the Tank? Nothing! The Tank is still the Tank and the codes of the Tank have not changed since the beginning. If you look at the Tank from the 1920s and from the ’80s, you have always the same codes. That’s why Cartier signatures are so strong.
If you had a choice, how would you like to improve the Tank?
I would love to see an haute horologerie Tank, for example. A nice one, with a dedicated movement – why not?
How do you go about updating a classic?
We have a big history and we’re in charge of writing the next page in the book or story of Cartier. But to be able to write this page, you need to already know the entire story. The heritage. Then you can evolve this story to the next page. By staying true to our culture, by studying the archives, the story of the maison, and after, it’s a creative process, you know? Mixing creative processes with our story and heritage.
Is the watch world still very dominated by men?
In almost every interview you do, you’re asked what it’s like to be a woman in the watch world. Do you feel like you have a responsibility?
I have to prove more. Because people have doubts and I see a lot of people saying, “Oh, you’re a woman. Plus, you’re French, not Swiss. Weird!” So you see, you have always to prove your capacity. More than if you’re a man. This is my sensation, my impression.
It helps that you come from a family of watchmakers. But what about other women? Are there barriers to their entry into the industry?
You have access. You have schools. But the watchmaking industry is a very conservative domain. Very old-fashioned. You have only men when you look at high-positioned people. You have a lot of women in the manufactures, but they’re doing repetitive simple work.
What’s your secret then?
For me, the most important thing is my passion. With passion, you can do what you want. Nobody can stop you. Nothing is easy, but with passion, you can do it.
How do women and men look at watches differently?
For women, the technique has to be in service of the aesthetic. And for men, it’s more showing the technique, demonstrating the technique.
What’s your day-to-day watch?
Usually I wear a Baignoire. For me, that’s the perfect Cartier: elegant and timeless.