Neon red lipsticks, fluorescent pinks and more than a touch of the blues for the watch industry. The ’80s were a time of contradictions for those who lived through them. Aesthetically, the era of style crimes and improbable geometrical motifs has left virtually no trace. The music videos of Robert Palmer and Brian Ferry, and the advertisements created by Jean-Paul Goude, celebrated powerful and sexy women, as epitomised in the photographs of Helmut Newton. But the era of cheap pop also gave us Sheena Easton, the Renault Fuego and the white Ferraris of Miami Vice. As far as watches were concerned, it was a nadir. This was when the crisis caused by the Swiss watch industry’s failure to compete with its Asian competitors (often referred to – not entirely accurately – as the quartz crisis) reached its peak. But the decade also marked the beginning of a number of success stories. Cartier Watches 2952 Replica exploded onto the scene with the Must, along with Bulgari and the Bulgari Bulgari. Raymond Weil also found its feet. It was a time when watches could be both small and ostentatious, and the two-tone gold and steel look – a combination to be handled with care – was ubiquitous.
Whether it’s just the pendulum making its inevitable return, a lack of inspiration, the general malaise of today’s uncertain and destabilising times, or a bit of all three, it’s clear that, following the nostalgic return to the style of the 1950s, then the ’60s and ’70s, the 1980s watch is making a comeback. The Panthère de Cartier, launched in 1983, is once again available, completely unchanged and in its original form. Cartier saw no need to revise or modernise it, judging it completely in tune with contemporary sensibilities. Bulgari has never stopped working on the Bulgari Bulgari, today familiar in its Roma version, as well as the Octo, a watch whose powerful geometry is a reminder of the bold shapes used in both architecture and fashion.
It was 1983 or 1984 when I bought my very first real opinion; the Cartier Watches Used Ladies Replica Santos. This was obviously the square eye in steel with yellow gold lunette and steel bracelet with yellow gold screws. It was hot like hell and became the most edited opinion. It was likewise that opinion that made me interested in the background of this brand, because the dealer explained that the design was inspired in the very first men’s wristwatch, launched by Cartier in 1904. So you can imagine it did not take long before I had been obsessed with chains in general, particularly with Cartier.At that moment see forums were just becoming popular, watch magazines were rare and watch blogs like Fratello and Hodinkee didn’t exist yet. These GTG’s were organised by collectors themselves and so were always very amusing. Everybody brought a couple of pieces in their collection and with heaps of beer and wine, we chatted about the various models before late in the day. But always the same brands got all of the attention and for me personally it was quite frustrating that one just paid attention to my Cartier watches, to be considerate. The term ETA was constantly mentioned like those were poor movements and too frequently I heard quotes like; ‘my wife would love them!’
Raymond Weil has always had the Tango, an iconic ’80s watch – but let’s have another look at it anyway. It still has its nail-head screws around the bezel, its baton hands and two-tone bracelet to match the gold bezel (gold-plated in this instance, given the target market). Gold was in fact an essential component of ’80s style. That’s yellow gold, of course – no variations permitted. A certain taste for ostentation and contrast cemented the popularity of the precious metal in its native colour, which more recently was rejected in favour of the warmer and more prestigious rose gold. So, obviously, yellow gold is back. And if it looks a bit dull or cold compared with rose gold, well, that doesn’t matter. Audemars Piguet has made it a core element of its range. Which is as it should be, given that the Royal Oak was also an iconic watch of the 1980s.
Architecture and Girard-Perregaux
The imposing Planetarium adopts a cosmic architecture in presenting – alongside the hours and minutes display – three cleverly crafted complications. The in-house tri-axial tourbillon, developed in 2014, performs its rotations in a lyre-shaped carriage, beneath a sapphire crystal dome. A second dome tops a globe motif miniature painted according to a depiction of the world in 1791, when the brand was founded. It turns in 24 hours, indicating on the dial side the zones where it is daytime, and on the back those where it is night-time. The third member of this trio is a high-precision moon phase based on 17th century cartography, after the invention of telescopes. The case provides a side view of the movement, while the back reveals a blackened mainplate enhanced by the emblematic Girard-Perregaux gold bridges.
Sculpture and Piaget
One factor is important to see with Cartier; unlike many brands, they always had a strong focus on shaped watches. Many manufacturers attempted to do so — particularly in the 1920s and 1930s, in which Art-Deco also influenced watchmaking and where we’ve seen many timepieces with rectangular or cushion-shaped watches — but few manufactures attained to maintain this feature as a hallmark. In reality, if you examine the actual collections of brands that are older, there are primarily round watches, whether we talk about sports or dress watches. On the other hand, Cartier’s icons are all shaped-watches and current creations follow exactly the exact same concept.Of program, the curved shape is somehow natural, as a watch usually have hands attached to a central axis and rotating on a dial. However, Cartier’s strongest timepieces all share this idea of being different from the standard of this round timepiece. Take for example the Tank and its own rectangular case. Or the Santos, using a mixture of square and octagonal shapes. You’ll also find the Tortue or the Roadster, with their barrel shaped instances. Lately, the brand introduced a few more picky watches, such as for instance the Ballon Bleu. But again, its not just a round instance. Same could be said for your own Clé. Shapes are always part of the design of a Cartier, with several different inspirations and style. However, a Cartier is identifiable as so along with the elegance of the watches is incontrovertible.
To adorn the new Altiplano Double Jeu, a creation composed of two superimposed cases, Piaget has called upon Sara Bran and the brand new artistic craft she has invented: gold lacework. The artist uses the manual drilling technique with a tiny hacksaw to create lace motifs sculpted like the finest fabrics. To achieve this, she draws using a compass and dividers, drills with various drill bits and cuts out using saw blades. The upper module of the Altiplano Double Jeu Gold Lacework features a radiating decor lit up with marquise-cut diamonds. Pressing the dedicated pusher raises the cover to reveal a a full view of a deliberately minimalist dial, immaculate white like the matching alligator leather strap.
Paiting and Cartier
In the Cartier Watches Tank Solo Replica collection, flamed gold has joined the repertoire of artistic crafts exercised in watchmaking. The gold dial is adorned with a painting that is flame-colored at various temperatures. Working from the lowest to the highest serves to create beige, various tawny shades and then blue, it takes a great deal of meticulous care to master colors that evolve with each firing. The in-house artisans meticulously create a strikingly natural panther’s head, graced with the luminosity of enamel and the precision of miniature painting. It adorns a generously sized Ronde Louis Cartier XL watch set with diamonds on the bezel, crown and folding clasp.
Music and Vacheron Constantin
The Traditionnelle collection by Vacheron Constantin welcomes a new in-house movement combining a tourbillon – featuring an emblematic carriage shaped like a Maltese cross and a spring-bar requiring 11 hours of polishing – with a minute repeater that chimes the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. The “Music of Time” resonator delivered with the watch serves to amplify the sounds produced by the perfectly adjusted gongs. This Traditionnelle in platinum or in pink gold – the latter version being reserved for the brand boutiques – is distinguished by an exclusive guilloché motif hand-crafted on the dials. It also features the original characteristic of displaying the power reserve on the back, by means of a blackened gold hand.
Dance and Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels sends a butterfly dancing through Nature EnchantéeTM collection with its Lady Arpels Butterfly Automate. While the hours and minutes sweep by on a small offset dial, the butterfly flutters its wings at random intervals, and one or four times in a row according to the power reserve. The occurs every two to four minutes when the watch is off the wrist, and more often when it is worn. The show can also be performed on demand by pressing a pusher and is all the more delightful in that it takes place amid a stunning three-dimensional decor crafted by the in-house artisans. Among other subtle details, the curving plique-à-jour enamel leaves were created using a new technique specially developed for the occasion.