Even earlier than Cartier’s new Baignoire Mini bangle watch arrived on-line and in shops around the globe in late June, there have been ready lists of potential consumers.
And by mid-August, the variations in 18-karat yellow or rose gold, priced at $11,800, had been now not obtainable on Cartier’s web site; the jeweler stated they would seem once more in November.
“This is unusual for a women’s watch,” stated Paige Reddinger, the watch and jewellery editor at Robb Report journal. The race to get a new timepiece, she stated, is extra typical for males’s limited-edition mechanical timepieces or a coveted Rolex or Audemars Piguet mannequin.
But this summer season, the female, oval form of the Baignoire — in English, bathtub — has been “the talk of the town,” Ms. Reddinger stated, referring to the brand new, expanded assortment of Baignoire fashions, together with the Mini bangle and the usual dimension provided in white, yellow and rose gold on gold bracelets and leather-based straps.
“We are seeing a return to small, elegant timepieces, which ties back to fashion, and that’s why models like the Baignoire are seeing a resurgence,” she stated. “Cartier has their ear to ground, they know what’s cool, and what’s happening.”
The demand is clear on eBay, which reported that within the United States and Canada there was a 90 p.c enhance in searches for “Baignoire” from April to July, in contrast with the identical interval in 2022. And searches for “Mini Baignoire” elevated greater than 375 p.c throughout the identical time interval in contrast with the earlier yr.
Harry Fane, a classic vendor in London who makes a speciality of Cartier watches, stated he doesn’t assume the renewed curiosity has something to do with style. “Cartier is very clever at marketing its watches,” he stated. “They create the demand, and all of the sudden people say, ‘I have to have the latest thing.’”
He famous that the home’s latest reissue of classics just like the Crash and Tank Normale have been “hugely successful.”
Over the previous six years, Cartier has been reimagining its collections, together with the Panther, Santos and Ballon Bleu, defined Arnaud Carrez, Cartier’s senior vp and chief advertising officer. “We respect our heritage and at the same time constantly enrich and push the boundaries of creativity and taste,” he stated.
The stacking jewellery development appears to be one motive the Baignoire bangle was an on the spot hit. “The fact it can be stacked is creating even more interest and appetite from clients who want to wear it to complement their Love, Juste Un Clou and Clash bangles,” he stated.
That is identical motive London Jewelers, a retailer with seven areas within the metropolitan New York space, can’t sustain with the demand for the brand new Baignoire. “The bangle is more like a piece of jewelry that our clients can add to their stack of bracelets,” stated Randi Udell-Alper, the corporate’s vp. “Women are discovering the style for the first time, and they love hearing that it is actually older.”
But it isn’t simply the bangle that’s in demand, she stated, noting that Baignoire fashions on leather-based straps even have been fashionable.
An early model of the Baignoire type appeared in 1912, when Louis Cartier — a grandson of Louis-François Cartier, who based the jewellery home in 1847 — created its first oval timepiece. But it wasn’t till 1958 that the design developed into the contoured form and proportions of at present’s mannequin. And in 1973, the type was christened the Baignoire.
Over the many years, the home launched variations, together with the Baignoire Allongée, an elongated oval with a mechanical motion; midsize variations with an built-in gold bracelet design; and fashions with diamond dials and diamonds across the bezel.
Mr. Fane stated he personally prefers the previous fashions over the brand new ones: “I’m a purist, I buy all the older Baignoire models that I can find. I love the history and those manufacturer’s techniques from earlier days, especially the models made in London.” (He famous that the Baignoire fashions that Cartier made in London from 1964 to 1974 have a barely totally different dial and configuration than these made in France.)
My First Luxury Buy
The ladylike type resonated with me lengthy earlier than it turned a development this yr.
In 1994, as a reporter protecting jewellery and watches for Women’s Wear Daily, I noticed the Baignoire on a public relations government, and I needed to have one. It was my first luxurious buy.
When I misplaced it in 2016, it proved practically not possible to exchange. Cartier had stopped producing the type and there have been solely a few on the secondary market. Lots of people didn’t even know the type’s identify.
Finally, a pre-owned vendor discovered my ’90s mannequin on a crocodile strap and I bought it. Its female form and the smaller proportions suited my type. I additionally beloved the truth that it was totally different; nobody I knew had it.
Recently, folks have been stopping me to say that they “love my new Baignoire.” For practically 30 years, nearly no one observed my watch — out of the blue, it’s the brand new scorching timepiece.
The new Baignoire fashions on leather-based straps are equivalent to the fashions from the ’90s, one thing that Mr. Fane stated has boosted his classic enterprise. “When people can’t get the new watch, there becomes a furor trying to track one down, and they come to me asking for the old ones,” he stated.
Cameron Barr, chief government officer of Craft + Tailored, a classic on-line vendor, stated a few of his purchasers need each the classic and new Baignoire fashions. “The Baignoire wasn’t really looked at, but now it is definitely in demand. Cartier did a good job paying homage to the past while telling a modern story.”
He identified that the curiosity in new kinds additionally spiked demand for different Baignoire variations from the latest previous, together with the Maxi Oval and the Baignoire Allongée.
The Baignoire Oval type additionally has connections to the model’s Crash mannequin, stated Eric Wind, the proprietor of Wind Vintage, a web based watch dealership with a showroom in Palm Beach, Fla.
For years, the story circulating within the watch trade has been that a Cartier consumer’s Baignoire was broken in a automotive accident in 1967, inspiring the Crash, which does look as if it melted a bit in a fierce fireplace. Cartier executives have by no means confirmed or denied the origin story.
Mr. Wind stated the Baignoire is a nice worth in comparison with Crash timepieces, which promote for six figures. (On his web site, a median worth for a pre-owned Baignoire on a leather-based strap is $5,000.)
“The Baignoire,” he stated, “is more within reach for people who want an interesting Cartier watch style with similar design language to the Crash.”
Mr. Wind stated he isn’t stunned that the Baignoire has regained reputation: “With tougher economic times, people are wanting something not quite as flashy and loud, and smaller watches are a bit more tasteful.”