Cartier high jewellery watches encompass playful design codes

The Indomptables de Cartier watch collection draws on Cartier’s history of incorporating animals into iconic designs

Les Indomptables de Cartier high jewellery watches
Les Indomptables de Cartier high jewellery watches
(Image credit: Cartier)

A menagerie of animals combines to make fantastical forms in the new Cartier high jewellery watches. Crocodiles, panthers, zebras, giraffes and tigers playfully wrest a diamond-studded dial in the Indomptables de Cartier collection, which draws on Cartier’s rich history of incorporating animals into humorous and intricate designs.

One of Les Indomptables de Cartier gold animal Cartier high jewellery watches

(Image credit: Cartier)

‘Two animals or the same animal’s head facing another head is tradition in ancient jewellery from Greece or China and even the Middle East, so it is really as old as jewellery is,’ points out Cartier director of image, style and heritage Pierre Rainero. ‘So it’s an allusion to the essence of the roots of jewellery, but also a play with the Cartier way of representing animals, because we always had that kind of representation in rings, necklaces, and bracelets, but this time we went further, opposing or creating encounters between different animals, and Cartier animals because all of them belong to the traditional Cartier Bestiary: the crocodiles, the tigers, the panthers, the giraffes, the zebras. So we also have that playfulness here, and it’s intentional.’ With the animals embracing unexpected patterns, the pieces not only subvert traditional representations but also encompass playful design codes.

The depiction of the animals themselves is a naturalistic one, reflected in the glistening of the crocodile’s scales and the graphic stripes of the zebra. ‘There is a refinement linked to the naturalistic approach, which is in the design,’ says Rainero. ‘The design on paper is an intention to show the effect or the field in which we want to put the creation, but then there’s a step which is very important, which is the sculpture itself. In fact, we can only be satisfied when the sculpture, which is a piece of art in a way, is achieved. The scales, fur or even expression of the head of each of the animals is decided at the stage of a sculpture.’

He adds: 'It is a spontaneous creation, and the motivation is there to push further in the way Cartier creates and that sense of humour is something we discussed with the designers because it was very present, for instance, in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. We thought that today we needed that again.’

INFORMATION

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Hannah Silver joined Wallpaper* in 2019 to work on watches and jewellery. Now, as well as her role as watches and jewellery editor, she writes widely across all areas including on art, architecture, fashion and design. As well as offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, Hannah is interested in the quirks of what makes for a digital success story.