Interview Hélène Poulit-Duquesne (International Marketing Director, Cartier)

Cartier – without a doubt – is one of the most famous jewelry brands. But hardly anyone knows great watches, which are created in the manufacture located in La Chaux-de-Fonds. We asked Hélène Poulit-Duquesne about in-house movements, innovation ID pieces and this year’s novelties.

Tomasz Kiełtyka (CH24.PL): Congratulations on the CH24.PL „Innovation in watchmaking” award for your incredible ID Two concept piece. How important are such creations (ID One, Two) for Cartier and do they influence your normal, regular creations?

Hélène Poulit-Duquesne (Cartier): Yes IDs are today fundamental for Cartier as they express our vision on watchmaking. These watches are not about innovation for innovation. It is more than that. IDs are about innovation for progress of the entire watch industry. This means that the innovations integrated in these concept watches are meant to be integrated one day in our future watches and make the industry progress.

TK: Do you have new ideas and/or works-in-progress on another ID concept?

HPD: At Cartier, we always have plans for new creations. But in parallel, we now also have to industrialize what has been developed in ID One and ID Two. So it makes a lot of work for us…

TK: Do you still have this problem with Cartier being perceived as a jewellery brand far more than watch manufacture? Is it important for you to change or balance this image?

HPD: Yes, we are still perceived as a feminine brand. It takes time to be recognized by all as a true player in fine watchmaking. But we see our image moving towards more masculinity and technicality. Today we have feedbacks proving that we convinced the watchmaking specialized press, we have very positive feedbacks from our partners in the industry, but it takes more time to make our clients fully aware of what we are doing. That is why journalists are so important to deliver our message, our vision and what we are doing in fine watchmaking and innovation.

TK: With “Calibre de Cartier” 2 years ago and “Calibre de Cartier Chronograph” this year you have expanded you offer of manufactured timepieces for a more affordable price. How significant it is for Cartier to have this wide range of watches made in-house – from basic automatic to High Complications?

HPD: This offer is about being credible in watchmaking and also about convincing our masculine clientèle. We all know that men today are more and more connoisseurs in watchmaking. They know about the quality of movement, craftsmanship, etc. That is why our Masculine line “Calibre” is dedicated to integrate in-house manufactured movements.

TK: Ladies watches seem to be a very important part of your portfolio and when we add jewellery, it looks like Cartier is more of a ladies brand. Did you notice that ladies taste is changing over the years towards more sophisticated timepieces? Is a women still a main focus for Cartier or do you try to balance this?

HPD: Women are more and more becoming connoisseurs in watches, but mainly in some specific countries and regions in particular, like Asia. In other countries, for the time being, watches for women are still perceived as a jeweller. That is why we are performing well on the feminine segment, as we have a DNA of jeweller : “king of jeweller, jeweller to kings”.
Yet we try to enlarge our men’s offer and really achieve a balance between both sides. To be dreamt by women and by men…

TK: Tell us a bit about this year’s SIHH novelties from Cartier please.

HPD: We had number of different main messages at SIHH :

  • Our Fine Watchmaking collection with 5 new movements and 17 novelties. The most impressive being the Mysterious Double Tourbillon in the heart of our history of Mystery clocks.
  • Our High Jewellery collection with 31 new impressive pieces and our collection Les Heures Fabuleuses.
  • Our Métier d’Art collection, the talking piece being Granulation Etrusque we developed fully internally in our manufacture at La Chaux-de-Fonds.
  • Relaunch of our mythical Crash watch for the aficionados of the brand
  • Tank collection with Tank US on metal bracelet and the full collection Tank Anglaise on leather straps.
  • And Calibre Chrono

TK: What is your long-term strategy in watchmaking section of the brand? Is independence and vertical integrity a key or do you plan to develop other way?

HPD: We plan to increase our in house movements capacities of course, both in fine watchmaking and core of the range products with the 1904 MC manufacture movement family. But independence is not a goal in itself.

TK: What is your favourite timepiece?

HPD: In terms of complications, my favourite is our Rotonde Mysterious Double Tourbillon.
In terms of aesthetic it is Ballon Bleu.

TK: Thank you.

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