In today's time, people want to buy a piece from the past that had historical importance. Like what happened to the sold-out new watch that isn't actually new.
Even before Cartier's new Baignoire Mini bangle watch came out at the end of June, people around the world were already waiting in line to buy it online and in shops.
By the middle of August, Cartier's website no longer had the $11,800 versions in 18-karat yellow or rose gold. The designer said they would be back in November.
"This is unusual for a women’s watch," said Paige Reddinger, the magazine's watch and jewelryeditor. She claims that the race to get a new timepiece is more common for men's limited-edition mechanical timepieces or a sought Rolex or Audemars Piguet model.
This summer, however, the feminine, oval shape of the Baignoire — in English, bathtub — has been "the talk of the town," according to Ms. Reddinger, referring to the new, expanded collection of Baignoire models, which includes the Mini bangle and the standard size, both available in white, yellow, and rose gold on gold braceletsand leather 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 said. “Cartier has their ear to the ground, they know what’s cool, and what’s happening.”
The demand is obvious on eBay, which reported a 90 percent spike in searches for "Baignoire" from April to July in the United States and Canada, compared to the same period in 2022. Searches for "Mini Baignoire" jumped by more than 375 percent during the same time period last year.
According to Harry Fane, a vintagetrader in London who specializes in Cartier watches, the revived desire has nothing to do with fashion. "Cartier is very clever at marketing its watches," he remarked. "They create the demand, and all of the sudden people say, ‘I have to have the latest thing.’"
He described the house's recent reissues of classics like the Crash and Tank Normale as "hugely successful."
Cartier has been rethinking its collections, including the Panther, Santos, and Ballon Bleu, for the past six years, according to Arnaud Carrez, Cartier's senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "We respect our heritage while constantly enriching and pushing the boundaries of creativity and taste," he explained.
The stacking jewelry trendappears to be one of the reasons the Baignoire bangle was an instant 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 explained.
That is why London Jewelers, a store with seven locations in the New York metropolitan area, is unable to meet the demand for the new Baignoire. "The bangle is more like a piece of jewelry that our clients can add to their stack of bracelets," said the company's vice president, Randi Udell-Alper. "Women are discovering the style for the first time, and they love hearing that it is actually older."
But it's not just the bangle that's popular, she says, noting that Baignoire variants with leather straps are also popular.
In 1912, Louis Cartier — a grandson of Louis-François Cartier, who founded the jewelry firm in 1847 — produced the first oval clock in the Baignoire design. However, it was not until 1958 that the form matured into the contoured shape and proportions seen today. In 1973, the style was dubbed the Baignoire.
The Baignoire Allongée, an elongated oval with a mechanical movement, was introduced over the decades, as were midsize variants with an integrated gold bracelet design and models with diamonddials and diamondsaround the bezel.
Mr. Fane said he personally prefers the old models over the 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 noted that the Baignoire models that Cartier made in London from 1964 to 1974 have a slightly different dial and configuration than those made in France.)
Let me tell you about an interesting story that was recently shared by a reporter and writerfrom the respected New York Times:
The ladylike style resonated with me long before it became a trend this year.
In 1994, as a reporter covering jewelry and watches for Women’s Wear Daily, I spotted the Baignoire on a public relations executive, and I had to have one. It was my first luxury purchase.
When I lost it in 2016, it proved nearly impossible to replace. Cartier had stopped producing the style and there were only a few on the secondary market. A lot of people didn’t even know the style’s name.
Finally, a pre-owned dealer found my ’90s model on a crocodile strap and I purchased it. Its feminine shape and the smaller proportions suited my style. I also loved the fact that it was different; no one I knew had it.
People have recently stopped me to tell me how much they "love my new Baignoire." For nearly 30 years, almost no one paid attention to my watch; now, it's the next hot wristwatch.
Mr. Fane claims that the new Baignoire models with leather straps are identical to the versions from the 1990s, which has helped his vintage business. "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 explained.
Cameron Barr, CEO of Craft + Tailored, a vintage online retailer, said that some of his clients want both the old and modern Baignoire versions.
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.- Cameron Barr
He said that the interest in new forms has also increased demand for previous Baignoire versions, such as the Maxi Oval and the Baignoire Allongée.
Eric Wind, owner of Wind Vintage, also stated that an online watch dealership with a shop in Palm Beach, Fla., the Baignoire Oval shape is also related to the brand's Crash model.
For years, the watch industry has said that a Cartier client's Baignoire was injured in a vehicle accident in 1967, inspiring the Crash, which does appear to have melted slightly in a furious fire. The origin tale has never been confirmed or rejected by Cartier executives.
Mr. Wind said the Baignoire is a terrific buy when compared to Crash timepieces, which sell for six figures. (The average price for a pre-owned Baignoire with a leather strap on his website is $5,000.)
“The Baignoire,” he said, “is more within reach for people who want an interesting Cartier watch style with similar design language to the Crash.”
Mr. Wind is unsurprised by the Baignoire's resurgence: "With tougher economic times, people are wanting something not quite as flashy and loud, and smaller watches are a bit more tasteful."
People have a special and enduring attraction to artifacts from the past, whether it be a timepiece from another era, an antique piece of jewelry, or any other type of artifact.
Collectors and fans have a common interest in these items because they frequently come with a lengthy past and a narrative all their own.
The following are some of the reasons why individuals are drawn to buy historical items, as well as the characteristics that make them so intriguing.
Historical pieces provide a tangible connection to bygone eras. They offer a glimpse into the lifestyles, craftsmanship, and design sensibilities of the past. Owning such an item can make one feel connected to the history that has shaped the present. It's like holding a piece of history in your hands.
Historical pieces are often one-of-a-kind or produced in limited quantities. This exclusivity adds to their appeal. Unlike mass-produced contemporary items, historical pieces stand out as unique and irreplaceable. This uniqueness can elevate the owner's sense of individuality and style.
Many historical pieces are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship and artistry. Skilled artisans of the past invested time and expertise into creating these items, resulting in unparalleled quality. Buyers appreciate the attention to detail and the level of skill that went into making these pieces.
While not the primary motivation for all buyers, historical pieces can also serve as investments. Over time, their value may appreciate, making them not only sentimental treasures but also potentially lucrative assets. This dual appeal as both a collector's item and an investment makes historical pieces even more attractive.
Historical pieces often boast timeless and elegant designs. Whether it's a vintage dress, a classic car, or a historical watch, these items tend to transcend fashion trends. Their enduring aesthetic appeal ensures that they remain visually pleasing and relevant, no matter the era.
Every historical piece has a story to tell. It might be the story of its creator, the era it was produced in, or the journey it has undertaken through time. Owners of historical pieces become storytellers themselves, sharing the narratives behind these cherished items with others.
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. For many, historical pieces evoke feelings of nostalgia, reminding them of simpler times or cherished memories. This emotional connection can be a significant driving force behind the desire to own and preserve historical items.
Some historical pieces have cultural or historical significance beyond their intrinsic value. They may be associated with pivotal moments in history or iconic figures. Owning such an item can make one feel connected to a larger cultural or historical narrative.
Collectors of historical pieces often see themselves as custodians of cultural heritage. They take pride in preserving and protecting these items, ensuring that they continue to be appreciated and passed down through generations.
Historical pieces offer an opportunity for continuous learning. Whether it's studying the history of a particular era or delving into the techniques used in crafting these items, owning historical pieces can be an educational experience that enriches one's understanding of the past.
Acquiring a historical piece, especially one that is rare or sought after, can be a source of personal achievement. It represents not only the ability to locate and secure a prized possession but also a testament to one's passion and dedication.
Uncover the innovative marketing strategies that Cartier employed to turn this timepiece into a global sensation. Did they tap into social media trends or collaborate with influencers? Explore the behind-the-scenes of Cartier's marketing success.
What Makes The Baignoire Mini Watch Stackable With Other Jewelry, And How Is This Trend Changing Fashion?
Delve into the specifics of how the Baignoire Mini watch can be stacked with other pieces of jewelry and how this trend is reshaping personal style. Are there particular combinations that have gained popularity?
Explore the world of vintage Baignoire watches and understand what sets them apart from their modern counterparts. What unique features or design elements do vintage collectors appreciate, and how does this impact their value?
What Role Did Storytelling Play In Reviving Interest In The Baignoire Mini Watch, And Are There Captivating Stories Behind Specific Models?
Discover the captivating stories behind some of the Baignoire Mini watch models and how these narratives have contributed to their resurgence. Are there any intriguing anecdotes about famous individuals who wore the Baignoire in the past?
The Cartier Baignoire Mini watch's remarkable popularity can be attributed to its timeless design, Cartier's marketing prowess, the stacking jewelry trend, and its historical significance.
This revival of a classic timepiece is a testament to Cartier's ability to bridge the past and present, creating a fashion sensation that transcends generations.