Full Circle
Esquire Singapore|May 2021
Every watch maison needs a quintessential round icon, and Cartier has its Ballon Bleu. But this elegant model deftly subverts every design trope in classical watchmaking.
Celine Tan

It takes a truly creative mind to see beyond the obvious. And it takes a truly innovative spirit to seamlessly bridge modernity with heritage. Judging by how the Cartier Ballon Bleu has grown consistently from strength to strength, the maison has both of those in spades. Because with the Ballon Bleu, Cartier didn’t so much design a watch as it provided a new vision of roundness. Until this elegant gentleman’s timepiece came along, who knew that classical watchmaking could be this imaginative?

“This watch, for me, respects all the codes of the maison Cartier,” watchmaking studio creation director Marie-Laure Cérède says in a recent interview with Esquire Singapore. “It’s very pure, but it is also bold and audacious, with the specific crown, and such incredible volumes making it very special, very ergonomic. This is a piece we can easily imagine as a second skin, and it is unmistakably developed by a jeweller.”

Ballon Bleu de Cartier was launched in 2007, making it one of the first 21st-century watch pillars for the maison. The objective of this timepiece was clear: to present a classical round offering in a world of shaped watches. At that point, Cartier’s watchmaking universe was populated by some of the most-fabled horological icons of the modern era. Stalwarts such as the Tank and the Santos in multifarious permutations, the Tortue and the Baignoire cemented Cartier’s virtuosity with shaped designs. Ballon Bleu’s arrival completed this vivacious mélange while also bringing a cavalcade of surprises only a seasoned aesthete like Cartier could pull off.

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