Cartier in Motion illustrates how pioneering technological advances of the early 20th century influenced Louis Cartier’s approach to watchmaking.
Daily from 10am-6pm. Every last Friday of the month the museum will open from 10am-10pm.
A fascinating exhibition curated by the prolific British architect Norman Foster, Cartier in Motion explores the creativity of Cartier’s watchmaking tradition from a design perspective, with 170 exhibits artfully staged in the Design Museum of London.
The exhibition illustrates the revolutionary technological changes that took place at the dawn of the 20th century and the influence they would exert over Louis Cartier in the design of the first men’s wristwatch. Made for his friend, the pioneering aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, Louis Cartier’s wristwatch allowed the pilot to keep both hands on the controls and still record times. Beautifully staged, the exhibition even features Santos-Dumont’s Demoiselle aircraft from 1908.
Divided into six thematic areas, it begins with the evolution of Paris in the 20th century and its influence on Louis Cartier, exploring how the architecture of the city - freshly redesigned by Baron Haussman and graced with the construction of the Eiffel tower - would lead Cartier to leave behind the fussy ornamentation of the Belle Epoque era and embrace simple, geometric shapes more in keeping with the spirit of the modern age.
The second part of the exhibition looks at Louis Cartier’s connections and friendships with pioneers of his age, including the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, for whom Cartier would create his first male wristwatch in 1904.
The third chapter explores the birth of the modern wristwatch and how the Santos wristwatch would lead to other models like the Tonneau wristwatch of 1906, the Tortue of 1912 and the legendary Tank wristwatch of 1917, each defined by pure, uncluttered lines. Another section of the exhibition looks at objects associated with luxury travel, leading to the fifth and sixth sections, which are devoted to the evolution of Cartier watch designs and Cartier craftsmanship.
The magical 1914 mystery clock with its hands suspended in space; the Cartier Crash wristwatch that is meant to look like a watch that has survived a car crash; and the replica of the Lunar Excursion Module of 1969.