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Spotlight on: The Cartier Baignoire

Spotlight on: The Cartier Baignoire

When you think of watches, you probably think of Switzerland. And when you think of luxury watches, you’re liable to think of Cartier. For nearly 150 years, Cartier has made the most intricately beautiful watches for men and women, perhaps none of which is more elegant than the Baignoire.

Cartier began in 1847, when Louis-Francois Cartier took over his master’s jewelry shop in Paris. For the first half-century of business, Cartier sold jewelry to royalty, such as to Princess Mathilde, Napoleon’s niece. It wasn’t until 1904 that Louis Cartier, grandson of Louis-Francois, created the company’s first wristwatch for Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont.

According to Cartier, the Baignoire emerged in 1913, as the aesthetic successor to a remarkable diamond and onyx model that Louis Cartier gave to the Grand Duchess Pavlovna a year earlier. Fittingly, for one of the world’s most exclusive jewelers, watches of the Baignoire line are typically made of gold and priceless gems, although the more “basic” models may be made simply of an 18k gold case and a leather strap.

The Cartier Baignoire has been one of the finest wristwatches available for women for a century, and is available in a large variety to suit any style. The Baignoire may be found in mini, small, and large sizes. Buyers may also choose from white, yellow, or pink gold, and choose to add diamonds, or do without. Finally, a variety of straps are available, in leather or matching gold. The face of the watch is simplicity itself, with 12 Roman numerals arranged around the oval face of the watch.

Few, if any, watches have had the lasting power of the Cartier Baignoire, which has sustained popularity as one of the most luxurious and exclusive timepieces for a century. With its timeless beauty, the Baignoire will no doubt last another century.

Matthew H for Raymond Lee Jewelers, premiere fine jewelry and luxury watch boutique and buyer.

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