keep my inbox inspiring

Sign up to our monthly newsletter for exclusive news and trends

Follow us on all channels

Start following us for more content, inspiration, news, trends and more

© 2020 - Copyright Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie Tous droits réservés

Cartier, the choice of the rich and the rulers

Cartier, the choice of the rich and the rulers

Thursday, 03 March 2011
By Nader Freiha
Nader Freiha

Read More

4 min read

Abundance of brands in fashion, lifestyle and luxury offers plenty of options to choose from. But only few of them stand out and their appeal is crystal clear. Such brands have strong following among the rich and the rulers. That is why King Edward VII said about Cartier that it is “The Jeweller of Kings & the King of Jewellers.” Interview with Cartier President and CEO Mr. Bernard Fornas.

Known for its celebrated designs, fashionable wristwatches and exotic orientalist designs, Cartier boasts a pioneering past and innovative future. Since its foundation laid by Louis-François Cartier in 1847, the company has been clocking topline growth unmatched by its industry peers. It has set precedents envied by its rivals. Cartier is now expanding beyond its core markets and plans to add 20 new boutiques across the Middle East. We sat with Cartier President and CEO Mr. Bernard Fornas to explore company’s precious past and strategies ensuring its fruitful future. “There is no one like Cartier – the King of Jewellers and a big player in Haute Horlogerie,” proudly says Mr. Fornas. Excerpts from the interview:

La Maison Cartier was described by King Edward VII as "The Jeweller of Kings & the King of Jewellers". How has Cartier successfully maintained its elitist reputation over the past 160 years?

Bernard Fornas, Cartier President and CEO: We are still the King of Jewellers and Jeweller of the Kings. Look at our high-end jewellery and watches confirming our belief. There is no one like us.

Does this description fit Cartier watches too?

Cartier is the most creative brand of all the watch-making industry. We are by far the number one brand in high-end ladies watches. For Haute Horlogerie men watches, Cartier was not there for a long time even though we knew how to do it. Now we are number three tourbillon watch seller in the world. We were able in two years to put 36 new references and 12 new movements. This year, we have 12 new watches with new calibers, and for next year we have everything signed and scheduled for development. Cartier is creative in all segments of watch-making.

Do you think this is enough?

It’s not easy to be on top level in all segments. We are building up the legitimacy and credibility. That’s not easy and needs time, but Cartier is moving fast. We are big players now and will remain dynamic.

Richemont annual results revealed that Cartier performed very well. Did the result meet your expectations?

Sure. I always wanted to grow but securing and preserving my image at the highest level. Growing without losing selectivity and excellence is a golden rule for us at Cartier.

What is your assessment about performance in the Middle East?

Very good. Cartier dominates the market now but I believe we can do better because we have done very well in China.

What’s the relation?

Good results in China force me to adopt a policy that helps me avoid over dependency. We should push better in the Middle East and the Americas that would give us more comfort.

What are the challenges Cartier facing in the Middle East?

We need bigger boutiques, more products and improve our retail management. We also have to improve our position in Saudi Arabia. Now we are going to open a very big boutique in Abu Dhabi, spanned over 500 square metres and to be managed by Cartier itself.

How many boutiques should Cartier have in the region?

To me, 20 seems a reasonable figure.

Cartier plans three boutiques in Qatar. Can a small country like Qatar hold such a number?

Of course it can. Qatar is the world’s largest gas producer and in a few years it will host the FIFA soccer World Cup. The country will develop and we have to go along with it.

What are the other elements you want to achieve in the region?

Excellence in the different Middle Eastern markets.

Did crises affect the clients’ attitude in the Middle East?

The crises brought back a number of clients to Cartier. When the economic mood is bad people intend to go back to legitimate brands.

Cartier revealed a new watch Collection in the 2011 SIHH. Could you please provide us a sneak preview of the novelties?

Our 2011 novelties showed the world and collectors that Cartier is now a main player in the Haute Horlogerie and jewellery market as well. Our collections give a wide choice of designs to have a better emphasis, by doing so we would definitely contribute to prove that we are a serious player.

How variable is it for Cartier to adjust products for certain markets?

Beauty has no border. Cartier products are for the whole world and we will not do that – at all.

Back to Top