She is one of the finest minds in the Swiss Watch Industry and ‘THE’ one behind some of Cartier’s most iconic timepieces, bringing a completely new perspective to the profession of watchmaking. Born into a family of watchmakers, Carole Forestier-Kasapi has been making watches at maison Cartier since 1999. Under her direction, the maison has launched over 30 new movements and over 50 new references, earning her the Best Watchmaker prize at the GPHG in 2012.
Keen to know more about what Cartier’s bringing to the table this 2017? Read on…
This year brings a Complicated Diamond Panther Watch with No Hands…
There are two main challenges regarding the technical development of the Panthère Joueuse watch. The panther indicates the minutes and the ball disc indicates the hours. These two 3D elements are made of gold, so you can imagine how much heavier they are compared to simple hands. This is why we needed to recalculate the extra power necessary for rotating these heavy elements. Secondly these indicator elements have a specific and unique axis to provide shock resistance despite their weight.
How long did it take for the development of the watch?
It took around 3 years for the whole development process; from the brief to the homologation. Cartier’s fine watchmaking line of haute horlogerie continues to expand apace with three new additions the Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon, Skeleton Mysterious Hour, and Panthère Joueuse.
How many movements do you normally work on at a time?
We have between 3 and 5 new movements per year. We have to work on these different projects simultaneously. These developments have different durations depending on their complexity and also priorities; it takes between 3 and 5 years. We have to start and plan development projects 5 years in advance. This is why we have an average of 20 movement projects in progress at one time.
Do you see a melange of smart watch movements with traditional movements?
Mechanical mechanisms and smart technology are for me incompatible for several reasons; firstly, mechanic is everlasting, always repairable, contrary to smart tech which is very quickly outdated and obsolete. Mechanical movements in haute horlogerie are very highly decorated and require a lot of manual savoir-faire for the adjustments, whereas smart watches are micro-electronic devices with technologies that require a different kind of know-how. I don’t see any reason today to combine these two worlds. Let’s see in the future, perhaps we will find a good reason to create a smart mechanical hybrid watch.
What are the challenges in developing movements in the current market scenario?
We have to remain attractive by proposing creative complications, creative new displays, new solutions and alternative concepts, while proposing exciting novelties and constantly innovating to improve mechanical watches with regards to reliability and durability.
Is there any limit to movement creation?
Movement design savoir-faire is a series of well-balanced compromises between performances, dimensions, reliability and durability. Putting complications together is a difficult exercise, because the complexity increases exponentially although in theory, there is no reason to limit the accumulation of complications.
On complications and mechanical watches for women…
I’m looking for a way to amaze women by surprising them, by telling a story (like the Panthere Joueuse of this year). This is very different from men’s complications which is based on a demonstration of complexity and techniques. As long as I have stories to tell to women I will create new complications for them.