Cartier: The Iconic Age

July 31, 2022
Cartier: The Iconic Age

In a world that’s moving faster than ever, sometimes it’s good to take a moment to reflect on just how far we’ve come. Design and technology have evolved into something we never thought possible, and it feels like we’re only just getting started. One design and technology combination that changed the way we interact with the world, and time itself, is the iconic Santos De Cartier wristwatch, designed by Louis Cartier in 1904.

As the 20th century began, pocket watches were the only portable way to tell time. Through clever design, Louis Cartier bucked trends by changing the way people told time forever by designing a modern watch that could be worn on the wrist. This unique and innovative design was inspired by the needs of his friend, Brazilian Aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont’s who wanted an easier way to keep track of time during some of the world’s first-ever flights. To celebrate this striking design, Cartier and Wall Street Journal collaborated with us to create a film that celebrates this game-changing design while demonstrating the parallels between iconic New York City landmarks of the same time period.

We combined newly shot footage of the watch with archival imagery that was researched and sourced from some of the world’s most prestigious libraries including the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library. Utilizing a combination of vintage footage, custom animations, original drawings, and subtle effects (including shooting some watch footage on film) we captured the look and feel of the time period while also transforming the viewer into 2022 through stunning 8K imagery of the watches, captured at our PLAYGRND studios.

Every detail mattered to Louis Cartier with his Santos De Cartier watch design and we ensured they were all captured. Close-up macro shots allowed us to focus on the beautiful details of the watches. We experimented with time, camera angles, and the use of different materials to help us capture the essence of this evolutionary design.

We’re always striving for that unique shot, angle, lighting setup, and texture when we’re shooting. This time we created an 8×8 four-sided light box room that helped us to not only get the optimal clean lighting, with clean reflections in the watches but allowed us to spotlight the many beautiful design elements and features of the watch.

The two-day studio shoot saw us experimenting with marble, copper, gold, and steel that allowed us to highlight four different watches in their own unique, color-blocked environment – capturing the bold design choices that makes the Santos De Cartier so iconic. We rounded out our imagery by shooting the New York City landmarks featured in the film to showcase modern imagery of the buildings that would pair beautifully with the historical assets.

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