Coussin de Cartier: a cushion-shaped watch that never rests

The invention of a flexible watch: Cartier’s latest watchmaking challenge. In the research and innovation laboratory of the Manufacture, a creative unit has imagined a watch case that is flexible to the touch.

An interview with Marie-Laure Cérède

Jewellery and Watchmaking Creative Director 

What is your role?

My role consists of paying tribute to Cartier’s heritage and enhancing – even electrifying – its iconic designs. Living heritage. Heritage in motion.

The commitment to creation also relies on introducing the vocabulary of tomorrow.

I’m convinced that a new creation is only meaningful if its heritage has been perfectly mastered. Knowledge is a prerequisite to creation. Otherwise, creativity is ephemeral because it is influenced by its time.

What attracted you to creative watchmaking? 

Watchmaking’s complexity is due to its duality. You have to be able to express creative freedom while working under technical constraints. Intellectually speaking, I appreciate this challenge; the dialogue between the limits of savoir-faire and creation. 

Tell us about the Coussin de Cartier.

It began with our decision to innovate on the case instead of the dial. Watch cases are typically rigid. I was intrigued by the idea of living architecture for the Coussin; we made its case with a golden mesh that adapts to the wrist like a second skin. The supple case keeps its shape but remains flexible to the touch, like a soft leather handbag that accommodates your body when you wear it.

As the watchmaker of shapes, we wanted to add the cushion to our design vocabulary. The shape echoes the “cushion cut” of a precious stone in jewelry: a square with rounded corners. We created the shape with volume by sculpting a spiral in 3D. The two lines of precious stones confront each other; one features stones in an inverted setting, the other a classic setting. We introduced a triangular setting directly integrated in the case that enhances the beauty of the stones.