Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mastery of Design: A Gold and Diamond Wristwatch by Cartier and Jaeger, 1936

Cartier and Jaeger
The Victoria & Albert Museum
After the First World War and around the time of that whole pesky abdication kerfuffle, wristwatches for women became all the rage in England and in France. Previously, women’s watches hung from brooches or chains and were worn on the bodice. While men had begun to wear wristwatches earlier, it wasn’t really until the 1930’s that jewelers really started to create stylish watches specifically for a woman’s delicate wrist.

Cartier became one of the most desirable designers of watches and often employed the watch-makers at the famed Jaeger for the inner-workings of their pieces. Cartier was celebrated for their rectangular women’s watches known as “baguette watches” because of the resemblance of their shape to a baguette-cut diamond. These watches were often set on elaborately jeweled bracelets and sometimes on simple gold bands. The faces were often adorned with baguette- cut diamonds framing the dial.

This watch from the V&A is a perfect example of the Cartier “baguette watch.”

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