Cartier Watchmaking Marketing Development Director Thierry Lamouroux talks up the true virtues ofthe in-house movement and what it means to the luxury icon.
Luxury icon Cartiergoes from strength to strength with its high watchmaking collection, even going so far as to show that they have the know-how (and gumption) to create never-before-seen propositions such as the Rotonde de Cartier Astroregulateur. Clearly, courage is not in short supply at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland the location of the Cartier manufacture.
We speak to Cartier Watchmaking Marketing Development Director Thierry Lamouroux for the official perspective on this and other developments at the firm. He speaks candidly about a variety of subjects, including the true significance of an in-house movement.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at Cartier.
I’ve been at Cartier for more than 10 years, starting in marketing and moving to product development because I’ve always had a passion for products and their design. I worked on the Santos, the Calibre [de Cartier], the Ballon Bleu [de Cartier] and thePasha as well as high watchmaking.
Cartier has a very wide assortment of models, something for everyone. Is the idea to offer every kind of watch that a customer might be interested in?
Well, yes. Something interesting about Cartier is that we can create and sell a piece of high jewellery at a million dollars, a watch maybe at 100,000 dollars and a pen at a few hundred dollars. We have the same spirit on all levels, including quality of course. This is very special at Cartier. For watches, we do try to have something for men and women and also watches for every occasion.
Does having such a wide spread, for watches in particular, make it hard to profile the customer?
You never know why the customer is going spend money on any kind of luxury product. This is as true for Cartier as it is for others. It does not depend so much on the product, I think, because sometimes a customer may want a skeleton watch from Cartier because he has heard that it is important to have it. There is a status appeal there. It is possible that he doesn’t really know all the technical details or understand the philosophy behind it, but he still wants to purchase it.
A different kind of customer may want the same watch, but this is a watch person who knows about the piece and for whom the craftsmanship is very important. So we see both kinds of customers, and of course many other kinds. The same product will create the impression the customer wants because you can see whatever you want in the product.
Calibre de Cartier in Stainless Steel
What are the characteristics that define Cartier watches?
Three major points apply across our ranges. The first is coherence and in watches this means everything from the overall design to the details. From the use of Roman numerals and the railtrack, these codes make Cartier watches unique. More than this we try to create watches that you can see, even from five metres away, are very special and clearly Cartier.
The next point is distinctiveness because every single Cartier product has its own story, making every product unique and leading to Cartier being the only maison in the world with so many collections that everybody knows. The third point is craftsmanship and quality. At every level and price point, we impose the Cartier standard of quality. The level of craftsmanship defines the price.
It is always about creating a Cartier product, through and through. If you go to any market and you do not have anything unique then there is no reason to be there. If we want to be present in the market, we must create something that the customer has to come to Cartier to get. In fine watchmaking, for example, if Cartier creates a nice version of a Patek Philippe, the customer will just go to Patek Philippe!
Calibre de Cartierin stainless steel
Cartier has of late offered watches with both in-house and third party movements, in different collections. Please share your perspective on the in-house movement with us.
The watch industry has succeeded in creating a perception that there are two worlds of watchmaking: the in-house and not in-house. In-house is good, not in-house is bad. This is specific to watchmaking and I think it goes too far sometimes. I mean, is it really necessary to know who makes the screws? Do you know who is making the screws in the Ferrari engine? Is it really Ferrari? Are you sure?
For Cartier, what is important is to master the know-how of watchmaking. I don’t think the ability to make screws makes you a watchmaker. By way of contrast, it is important to know how to build the movement. This is what customers want and expect.
Of course, we must use our know-how to create unique watches like the Astroregulateur because you must develop this kind of watch. It cannot be purchased ready-made from a supplier; it can only be made. This is the real advantage of the in-house movement and why Cartier invests so heavily in development, in watchmakers and also in equipment.
The customer expects a certain level of craftsmanship. We feel that those who buy the Ballon Bleu, for example, are thinking about other factors besides in-house craftsmanship. For the Calibre de Cartier however, we are only using in-house movements because we think the in-house know-how is very important to the customer who wants these watches.
Ballon Bleu deCartier, large model, in pink gold with leather strap
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