The exotic beauty described in this story was none other than Mexico’s silver screen siren Maria Félix and throughout the decades, the story has turned into a folklore that is synonymous with Cartier’s expertise in turning dreams and desires into highly coveted objet d’arts.
Does magic play a significant role in its conception? Certainly not. Rather, it was a juxtaposition of jewellery and watchmaking challenges with a host of complexity and professions. Utmost dedication and passion serve as the bridge that links the goldsmith, the enamelist, the lapidary, the watchmaker and the engraver. Through this unbroken chain, creating impossible commissions and realising fantasies and dreams are possible.
Each year, the Cartier Manufacture introduces new complications for its timepieces, with fine watchmaking movement is designed over the coirse of a long, complex and demanding process that amalgamates human expertise with the latest technology.
The creative process starts with designers outlining the concept through freehand sketches of the mechanism bases and finishes, later transformed into three-dimensional designs.
Once the functionality of the movement is checked and a large mock-up is produced, the working prototypes can be built and tested for approval. Next, the mineral crystals are manufactured to ensure unfettered creativity. The crystals are worked manually to obtain the perfect curve by emplying gas torch heating technique at up to 600°C with its outlines hand-polished to create smoothly rounded edges and fits perfectly into the case.
Next, each component of the movement is hand-finished by craftsmen using specialised tools and traditional techniques. A single component may require more than 15 hours of work to finish. For flawless movement, gears, jewels, escapement, screws and bridges are assembled with extreme order and precision.
On the other hand, the gem-setter dresses the creation in colourful precious coats. At this point, the master craftsman governs the play of light and positioning are dictated by the size and make-up of each quintessentially precious stones with supreme flair. As the master of the art of guilloché, a Cartier dial can be recognised instantly via its recognisable trademark rail track, roman numerals and secret signature.
The dials are either adorned with silvered, sunray, grained or flinqué effects, set with stones or inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Another meticulous dial-decorating technique mastered by the craftsmen of Cartier is the enamel miniature painting.
On a plate of gold covered with four enamel coats acting as the illustration milieu, the motif is painted entirely by hand in five or seven coats on the first layer of enamel using a very fine brush. A flux is then applied in three coats to give the dial its depth and protection, before being fired to at least 750°C to yield the required shade.
The final result is, voila, the beautiful Les Indomptables de Cartier watch. A limited edition and numbered creation, the watch comes with a separable frog brooch and the dial features 18k white gold with enamel miniature painting of a traditional oriental pond. The dial is also set with 11 brilliant cut diamonds for 0.15 carats and seven sapphires for 0.27 carats.
The frog brooch, on the other hand, is made from 18k pink gold set with 67 briliant cut diamonds for 1.18 carats; three moonstones for 6.04 carats; eight sapphires for 1.54 carats; and two emeralds for 0.04 carats.
A serene masterpiece that celebrates the finesse of oriental art and its unparalleled influence to the world, the Les Indomptables de Cartier watch is an absolute must-have investment piece. To secure one, do pay a visit to your nearest Cartier store today.