A 16-hour flight can take you from Dubai’s scorching temperatures to the rolling hills of San Francisco, a peninsula jutting through the bay and boasting a freewheeling culture that author Jack Boulware once described as “a complex town that lets you be yourself, that accepts you even if your family doesn’t”. It’s always cool in San Francisco, even when the sun is at its zenith – the briny breeze that comes in from the Pacific sees to that.
San Francisco was also the beautiful, compelling backdrop to Cartier’s recent Bold and Fearless party that intimated the character of its host city so well. An iconic setting at Pier 48 welcomed over 500 celebrity, socialite, and VIP minglers, whose numbers included style influencers Simi and Haze Khadra, indie darling Chloë Sevigny, model-of-the-moment Winnie Harlow, stylish actress Sienna Miller, and auteur Sofia Coppola.
The glitterati were glammed to the nines according to the “bold and fearless” dress code, gathering to celebrate the release of Cartier’s ‘Santos de Cartier’ watch, with newly-announced ambassador Jake Gyllenhaal, in an event that was so much more than just a promotional effort. Hip acts like Phoenix, Jamie xx, Nonotak, Hot Chip, and Wade Crescent kept the revelry going until late into the night. The event — more akin to a concert than a fashion party — was the talk of the town for weeks to come.
In addition to the star-studded party, the luxury brand provided three days of “social labs” that featured talks by pioneering creatives, industry disruptors, and visionaries like photographer David LaChapelle, Indian crossover actress Frieda Pinto, celebrity chef (and nephew of Yves Saint Laurent’s longtime muse Loulou de la Falaise) Daniel de la Falaise, and Swiss designer Yves Béhar.
It was the first pilot watch ever made, and Santos-Dumont never again flew without it. Cartier then began mass-producing it in 1911 – and a legend was born.
Curiosity, innovation, design brilliance – these principles were not only reflected in the talks, but are also central to Cartier’s DNA. Committed to such principles, the brand has remained at the forefront of watch and jewelry design, evidenced by the ambitious engineering behind its ‘Santos de Cartier’ watch collection.
If the name of the watch sounds familiar, that’s because the original design has been around for over a century. It was created in 1901 by Louis Cartier himself. Cartier shared a strong bond with Alberto Santos-Dumont, a brilliant inventor who was considered Brazil’s “Father of Aviation”, having created a variety of aircrafts including a functioning fixed-wing commercial aircraft in 1905 called the ‘Demoiselle’.
One day, Santos-Dumont complained to his good friend Cartier about how impossible it was to check the time on his pocket watch while manning an aircraft. Instead of fumbling for a pocket watch, Cartier’s design was strapped to the wrist, making it easy to glance at while keeping one’s hands on the controls. It was the first pilot watch ever made, and Santos-Dumont never again flew without it. Cartier then began mass-producing it in 1911 – and a legend was born.
Over a hundred years later, the ‘Santos’ line is still central to Cartier’s output, and still a highly prized collector’s item. In 2018, the watch received a vivid update in the form of the new ‘QuickSwitch’ function that allows the wearer to swap out straps whenever they please, as well as offering larger sizes that are quite bold on the wrist – hence the theme of the party that will go down in infamy as one of the most memorable in the glorious history of Cartier.