It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes the ordinary can become extraordinary. Just take the Baignoire from Cartier as an example. The watch had its humble beginnings in 1912, when Louis Cartier experimented with form by stretching out the traditional round structure. The result? A new shape defined by two parallel lines closed by two curves, dubbed the "bathtub" thanks to the resemblance (Baignoire means bathtub in French).
The design evolved over the years before settling into the familiar elongated oval in the 1950s, with a dial stamped with Roman or Arabic numerals and bordered with gold gadroons. The swinging sixties ushered in another chapter for the Baignoire, with the longer and sleeker Allongée that hugged the width of a woman's wrist. For decades the Baignoire has been the watch of choice for cultured women of discerning taste, such as Catherine Deneuve, Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, and Mélanie Laurent.
The cult 1958 model and the later Allongée variant have been reworked by Cartier for the 21st century (and beyond). While the essential design remains unchanged, the line now boasts a narrower bracelet, redesigned Roman numerals on a silvered sand-blasted dial face, and water resistance up to 30m.
The quartz-powered Baignoire Small Model comprises two versions - yellow gold with a taupe alligator leather strap and diamond-encrusted white gold with a dark blue alligator strap. Understated and elegant, the watches ooze a sense of 'if you know, you know' allure.
The updated Allongée now comes in medium and extra-large iterations, powered by the manual-winding 1917 MC movement. The glittering series is quite literally dripping in diamonds, with pink gold and white gold cases fully encrusted with jewels. Some models also come with dial faces covered in gems. The luxurious and dazzling pieces are definitely high on the desirability factor.
Upping the wattage even further, there's a white gold version fully paved with diamonds, topped off with a diamond bracelet that brings the gem count to a staggering 857 or 894.
The Baignoire Allongée also introduces a fresh clou carré design, with a gold case delicately sculpted to create a texture of small studs that complement the diamond-set surfaces. Adding an edge of punk, this design is perfect for those who dare to take a risk with style.
First seen in the November 2019 issue of L'Officiel Singapore