The history of the Baignoire watch is at the heart of Cartier’s emblematic watchmaking style. After the square shape of the Santos watch in 1904 and the bold design of the Tortue in 1906, the Maison created a watch in 1912 with a rectangular case rounded at the ends. The concept continued to evolve until 1958, with a so-called “curved oval” watch, whose slightly curved case fits the contour of the wrist. This was the first appearance of the watch that was to be named the Baignoire in 1973, already displaying the volume it is known for and its signature details: a domed crystal, a dial with Roman numerals and a smooth gold ribbon. Since then, the Baignoire watch has remained true to itself, appearing in a number of variations. This iconic watch takes on an infinite number of possible forms, each time resembling only itself.
An artist with a thousand facets, Lou Doillon joins the community of Parisian women who care about elegance as much as anything else, but only with freedom and spirit
“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.” LOU DOILLON
C H A N G I N G THE SCALE
Through a new ratio of proportions, the balance is reversed. The Baignoire is both miniaturised and amplified. On a miniature case, the bangle, like a gadroon that has been expanded, encircles the delicate dial in gold. Purity of line, precision of form, accuracy of proportion: it is worn as a piece of jewellery and just for the sake of it – simply because it is essential
O N E W A T C H , TWO FACES
With its Roman numerals and curved crystal, this timeless model is now available in two new versions. The first celebrates pure elegance, with a Less is More approach. A watch that asserts itself through the delicacy of its proportions, with the yellow gold shine of its bezel contrasting with a black patent leather strap. More couture, more refined perhaps, this latest expression of its singularity is just as fitting.
For the second, the watch’s emblematic oval is transformed into a bangle, a circle of solar gold to be slipped onto the wrist. A new look, a new feel: in rose, yellow or white gold, all paved, it is even more sensual with its curved case placed as close to the wrist as possible. And because it is part of Cartier’s design culture, it can be combined endlessly with other iconic Cartier creations.
Tame the infinity of time until it is at the heart of miniature watches – a game for Cartier, which takes advantage of the wonder of changing scales to blur the lines. Drawing upon the Maison’s dual identity as a jeweller and watchmaker, the craftsmen challenge what has been achieved and push the creative boundaries with a sense of curiosity.
Proportions shift and functionality changes. Watches are no longer simply instruments for measuring time, or ornaments: they are objects of a third kind whose influence goes beyond what is expected of them. They transform savoir-faire, adjust the technique to merge it with the aesthetic and transpose excellence from one domain to another.
For Jeanne Toussaint, creative director from 1933 to 1970, gold was a favoured material. It is particularly malleable, solar, and she explored all the possibilities through figurative or abstract creations. It became a language of enchantment, around miniature dials and precious bracelets. Like the Panthère de Cartier watch, the Baignoire is now a jewellery watch par excellence.
As Cartier was a jeweller before being a watchmaker, a Cartier watch blurs the boundaries between these two founding crafts and makes it possible to capture the best of both. This combination has resulted in the sleek and sophisticated design of the mini Baignoire. The combination of a beaded bracelet with a pure line and a miniature dial without any attributes gives this aesthetic reference to our heritage a sublime touch. The mini Baignoire becomes a piece of jewellery. ” MARIE-LAURE CÉRÈDE, CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF JEWELLERY AND WATCHMAKING