CAROLE FORESTIER-KASAPI —
HEAD OF HIGH COMPLICATION MOVEMENT DESIGN AT CARTIER AND TECHNICAL WATCHMAKING LEGEND
Carole Forestier-Kasapi is a name that you may not know, but you should. Because not only is she behind some of the greatest watches of the modern era, but she is taking a strong leadership role and is responsible for a large part of the creativity in the high complications emerging from the Richemont Group. With her around, the Group’s future reputation for creating brilliantly innovative products is secured. She works very well with the equally brilliant Eric Klein, head of Richemont movements; and together, they form a conceptualization and industrialization team that is without peer in the Swiss watch industry. However, Forestier’s first major break occurred when she was working at Ulysse Nardin. She’d caught wind of a tourbillon competition held by Breguet and entered using a design for a watch with a mainspring that encircled the movement. In this watch, the movement rotated around its own central axis. At that time, creating a functioning prototype was untenable without current mainspring technology. But this watch did provide the basic blueprint for what would later become Ulysse Nardin’s legendary Freak.
After Ulysse Nardin, Forestier joined Renaud & Papi, and at the behest of the late Günter Blümlein, she (along with IWC’s Denis Zimmermann) led the development team at Renaud & Papi that conceptualized IWC’s extraordinary seven days power reserve automatic caliber 5000, featuring the Pellaton bi-directional winding system. She also had a hand in creating the Renaud & Papi designed hour striker module found in Ulysse Nardin’s Hour Striker San Marco. At Renaud & Papi, she also worked on the chain and fusée mechanism for A. Lange and Söhne’s Pour le Mérite tourbillon — the original perpetual calendar module used by A. Lange & Söhne — and developed Franck Muller’s Tourbillon Imperial. But perhaps her greatest achievement at Le Locle was leading the team that created Audemars Piguet’s extraordinary Grande Sonnerie.
Post Renaud & Papi, she took charge of technical development for Cartier’s Collection Privée watches, and this aesthetically appealing range suddenly took on serious horological clout. This new direction is evinced in movements such as the 9421 MC minute repeater caliber that Forestier explains, at only ten lignes in diameter, is the world’s smallest contemporary repeater movement and the exquisite monopusher tourbillon caliber housed in Cartier’s Tortue XL case. For Cartier, Forestier has also crafted poetic timepieces such as the Rotonde Day and Night that uses a rotating disc with engraved sun and moon to represent day and night hours, as well as a ‘bras en l’air’ tourbillon featuring Jaeger-LeCoultre’s latest tourbillon regulator.
Forestier has been instrumental to the array of technical gems emerging from the Richemont group’s top marques, and in each instance, she has worked closely with the brands to develop watches that are perfectly expressive of their DNA. Rumor has it that it was Forestier who was behind the conceptualization (along with Eric Klein) of Piaget’s wonderfully creative Tourbillon Relatif, which is a resplendent canvas for Piaget’s merger of high watchmaking and gem-setting. Interestingly, this watch bears a philosophical similarity to the Freak concept she created so many years ago. Along with Eric Klein, Forestier was also behind the conceptualization of the incredible new tourbillon that features a balance bridge that rotates twice each minute at 90 degrees to the movement, and which is the flagship watch for one of the Richemont brands. By focusing on chronometry, she has unerringly channeled the genetic core of the brand’s military roots.
What is the emotional power of the mechanical watch? It is the alchemy between the know-how and its technical nature that Cartier knows how to transcend beauty. It is a mixture of studies, analyses, adjustments, tests and questioning behind every component, as well as its chronometry and its aesthetics that guarantees a watch’s “everlastingness”.
What is the appeal of the complication? It is an expression of that amplified alchemy, while still pushing further the limits of the exceptional, daring and innovation. It is a favorite area to enlarge horizons that, yesterday, were closed doors.
What is your most powerful achievement? In order to evolve, we must learn from each product’s development review. Every new project must allow us to continuously push the innovation, creativity and audacity; the challenge must be permanent and it must be part of Cartier’s culture. Nevertheless, as a creator, there is always a watch that you have a ‘crush’ on; personally, I am still attached to the Tank Louis Cartier contemporary skeleton, which is faithful to the creative approach of the Maison. With that exceptional model, Cartier has paved the way to a unique style.
What is the power of Cartier? The level of technical complexity by the addition of a complication mechanism, as well as the beauty and long-term quality of our watches must remain priorities. Cartier makes reference to true and timeless luxury, and this is what we endeavor to apply in every instant.
How have you helped to empower it? Cartier is a brand with 160 years of history — a huge inheritance that one must respect. Every day, we write a future to the past of Cartier by questioning, and showing creativity and boldness, while being constantly alert.
ARLETTE-ELSA EMCH — BOARD MEMBER, SWATCH GROUP
In an incredibly male-dominated industry, Arlette Emch is a commanding, feminine force. A member of the board of directors for the Swatch Group, Emch is the hand behind the curtains of Léon Hatot, cK Watch & Jewelry, Dress Your Body and Swatch Group’s Les Boutiques. She is also responsible for the Swatch Group in Japan and Korea. In short, she can be considered one of the most powerful women in horology.
Born and raised in Switzerland, Emch was introduced to the Swatch Group empire when she interviewed its chairman, Nicolas G. Hayek. She subsequently came onboard in 1992 as its communications manager. Since then, she has ascended the ranks of the company with a fury that is downright intimidating. Now in the position of not only bringing her business savvy to the Swatch Group, Emch has resuscitated the femininity in many lines whose consumers are mainly women, but whose designers had hitherto been working from a male perspective. She believes that we are now in an age where women should be rediscovering their freedom to be women, without the fear of seeming lacking in strength or intelligence.
Her success within the Swatch Group has not been hampered by her belief that fashion is an important aspect in watchmaking and that it should not be divorced from craftsmanship. After all, a large percentage of watch consumers are women. As Emch has stated, “It is important to bring a woman’s feelings to watches.” And in a milieu hitherto dominated by men, she could not be more on point.
As an extremely successful woman in a male-dominated industry, do you feel as though you are shifting the future history of the watch world by “paving the way”? Things never happen accidentally and they don’t come out of nothing. If I look back at the beginning of my career in the watch industry, especially in Europe, women were discovering that they were much more deeply involved in business and in their professions. Before, it was just the job of the husband that counted — women did not have jobs to have a career or to develop themselves. It was often just to make a little bit more money. Slowly, but surely, women discovered that they could do a very good job; that they could be independent, work and have a career, and that it did not have to just be an added value. When I arrived at the Swatch Group in the beginning of the ’90s, women were not only working, but they were working with pleasure. And we see this change paralleled in the world of fashion. Clothing and accessories began to adapt to women’s changing lifestyles. If you notice, you’ll see that shoes, apparel and bags all began to change. Women needed these things not only to go out, but also for work.
Did these changes take place with watches as well? Yes. Slowly, but surely, the watch, which measures time and is not only a kind of jewelry, began adapting to women. Before I arrived in the watch industry, watchmakers developed watches mostly for men. They only made them a little bit smaller for women; that was the only concession they made. With the advent of the Swatch watch, there was a huge revolution, because it allowed people to have a watch not for life, but for a moment in their lives. Swatch adapted the watch to people’s daily needs; for example, if you are sporty, you can have a sporty watch of high quality, at an affordable price. Next came women’s desire to have watches that are more than just need-based, but linked to fashion. Calvin Klein arrived at the best moment to develop a watch made for women and which was able to adapt itself to the life of women, while being beautiful at an affordable price. I arrived just at that moment, when the watch industry was discovering that women were buying 60 percent of all the consumer goods on the planet. They began to consider women very important from an economic point of view. To understand women and appeal to their tastes, you need a woman’s perspective. That is why I arrived at the best moment. Going back to what I said earlier, history happens when things change and mature. In the watch industry, it is no different. A woman executive was really warmly welcomed in the watch industry.
there seems to be many more options for men than women in the watch world. do you think that this is because women often view watches as extensions of jewelry and not as objects unto themselves, as many men regard them to be? You know, it is perhaps different in the US as I think America, in general, doesn’t have such a developed watch culture. In Europe, we have a deeply-rooted watch culture. The difference between women and men has been approached in exactly the same way that you see in the automotive industry. While men are looking at the movement inside the watch, women are looking more at the design and fashion aspect of it. But this is slowly changing. Women are also discovering the beauty of the mechanical movement, and this is again a change — the outside and inside are becoming equally important. I think the watch industry has started to design a movement specially for women.
What is the place of art in the design of both jewelry and watches, since each is bound by technical considerations? Everything is bound by technical considerations. With paintings, you need technique — technique is always linked to art, because a painter needs to have a technique to be good. I think the only real problem that jewelers and watchmakers must reckon with is size, as they only work with very small items. If you take architecture for example, architects are working with big spaces. In contrast, a watch or a ring, for example, is extremely small. Creating in a very small space is challenging, as not only is size an issue, but the comfort of the piece is as well. In developing a watch, first and foremost, we consider its style and decoration. After that, we try to adapt the technical considerations to make it work.
By the time you step down in the future, you will leave a huge legacy in your wake. Where do you see the place of women in horology headed? In the two companies that I am the president of, 40 to 50 percent of our employees at middle to higher management positions are women. At the top management level, it is not a question of woman or man, but a question of personality. If a very senior position is offered, I don’t know if many women will accept it, because not many women, or men for that matter, will accept the sacrifice linked to this position. At the top management level, it is impossible to have everything, but it is a decision that both women and men must make.
emch has resuscitated the feminity in many lines whose consumers are mainly women, but whose designers had hitherto been working from a male perspective
CAROLINE SCHEUFELE-GRUOSI —
The Scheufele family has always merged seamlessly with the haute monde of the Cannes Film Festival and the world’s most prestigious vintage car rallies like the Mille Miglia. While they are, without a doubt, one of the hardest-working families in the luxury business, they are also representative of the world of glamour, opulence and jet-setting cool. It can be said that Caroline Scheufele-Gruosi, who acts as co-president of Chopard along with her brother Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, is the modern emblem of this dream world. Nowhere else will you find the combination of irresistible charm, creative dexterity, managerial skill and corporate savvy more wholly embodied than in the diminutive form of Caroline Scheufele-Gruosi.
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele handles the development of Chopard’s watches with a focus on the development of in-house calibers under the L.U.C banner. That he has managed to build a highly legitimate manufacture in Fleurier, bringing out what can be considered an industry-leading number of movements, and enacted quality standards that are the highest in the industry, compelled us to name him as one of our Vanguards — the men who will define the future of the watch industry.
However, Chopard’s annual turnover encompasses a scope far larger than that of the in-house produced watches. There is a commercial range of men’s watches, a vast array of ladies’ and jewelry watches, and then there is the jewelry itself, which is manufactured at Chopard’s Pforzheim facility at numbers in excess of 75,000 pieces per year. Commercially produced timepieces such as the Mille Miglia are amongst the most successful sports watches on the market, and it is believed that over 20,000 of them were sold in 2006. The design of every single watch and jewelry item is presided over by Caroline Scheufele-Grousi, who channels the aesthetic and commercial direction of this massive empire with faultless aplomb. She has also taken up the role of Chopard’s public face by accepting the award for the L.U.C Pinstripe, the winner of the ultra-flat category, at the Geneva Grand Prix where she joked, “I’m taking turns with my brother, who has previously accepted an award for a woman’s watch.”
The Chopard brand was purchased by her parents, Karl and Karin Scheufele, in 1963. Through their vision and hard work, Chopard was transformed from an obscure, but appealing Swiss watch brand, into one of the world’s foremost symbols of contemporary luxury. The creation of iconic watches such as the Happy Diamond range and the association with music stars such as José Carreras, have enabled Chopard’s brand equity to soar throughout the ’70s and ’80s. But it is Caroline Scheufele-Gruosi who now charts out the path of the brand’s growth in the modern era.
In 2006, Caroline Scheufele-Gruosi, who created the Palme D’Or trophy for the Festival de Cannes, in service since 1997, was crowned an honorary citizen of Cannes, “in recognition of her commitment and her participation in the exceptional development of the Festival.” While Caroline designed the 24 karat gold trophy, which represents a stylized palm leaf cast in a wax mould and then fixed to a cushion of hand-cut crystal, the trophy itself has come to embody the brand equity represented by Chopard and Caroline. With her relentless work, she has forged an inextricable link between Chopard and the most glamorous events in the world.
The perception of Chopard has only increased in the last decade, and it is emerging as one of the most iconic international high luxury brands in the world. A simple look at how awareness of Chopard has grown in the United States is proof of this: at the most recent Academy Awards, it was Chopard that took home the prize for most recognizable media placement. Chopard has reached that magic point, where it has been transformed from a mere brand into a part of collective culture; its name instantly conjures up an image of rarified mystique. This empowerment has, to a large part, been intelligently crafted by Caroline Scheufele-Gruosi, and reveals the unique power of her ability: to charm the world.
How do you define power? The energy to transform ideas and strong beliefs into reality.
What is the power of being a woman? Being able to make use of our female charm.
What is the power of Chopard? Family spirit.
How have you helped to achieve this power? Working, working, working!!
What is the power of design? To give character and uniqueness to our creations.
What is the power of glamour? To inspire people around the world to dream.
What is your most powerful achievement? The ability to run a family and business life at the same time.
THE WOMEN OF A. LANGE & SÖHNE — COLLECTIVELY THE MOST TALENTED WOMEN IN THE WATCH INDUSTRY
WHAT MAKES A. LANGE & SÖHNE SO GREAT? IT’S THE WOMEN… THOSE INCREDIBLE WOMEN THAT WORK THERE PHILIPPE DUFOUR
There are only a few watches in the world that, even when you hold them in the dark, somehow exude unmistakable quality. Invariably, a substantial number of these watches are made by A. Lange & Söhne. What gives a Lange watch this qualitative magic, this power to embody quality? You could try to reduce it to details like finish or movement construction, but the world’s most famous Lange fan and independent watchmaking legend, Philippe Dufour, has another answer: “It’s the women,” he explains, adding, “They have so much passion and soul in their fingers.”
Maybe it’s because watchmaking has traditionally been a common profession for women in the Saxon town of Glashütte. Maybe it’s because the watchmaking “know-how” was kept alive during the Quartz Crisis in the ’70s as a result of Glashütte’s isolation on the Communist side of the Berlin wall, where quartz technology never secured a foothold. Maybe it’s because throughout this time, these talented ladies were all burning with the ambition to do more — to return Saxon watchmaking to its vast horological peak.
These great women were given that dream when Günter Blümlein and Walter Lange came to town with a wildly delicious dream — to restore the famous brand, A. Lange & Söhne, to the top of the horological pyramid.
Maybe it was collective ‘muscle memory’, the knowledge retained in hands, in fingertips and guided by an unwavering dedication to create the most perfectly rendered timepieces in the world, that now returned in full bloom. Whatever it was, the ladies at A. Lange & Söhne achieved what would once have been impossible. Not only did they bring back A. Lange & Söhne, but they also guided the company to the rarified ground occupied by Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet. Because of them, this horological Holy Trinity has a fourth German sister, and she is indeed mesmerizing to behold.
Any visitor today at A. Lange & Söhne would be struck with the vision of the multitude of talented women working in every division of the manufacture and, in most instances, considerably outnumbering the men. The finish department, for example, consists exclusively of ladies. Lange’s movement designer, Annegret Fleischer, is also one of the two most famous and talented female watchmakers in the world. So, who better than them to tell us what magic distinguishes their beloved manufacture?
ANNEGRET FLEISCHER — MOVEMENT DESIGNER
This is definitely an exciting profession for women who are interested in technology. There are a large number of female master watchmakers employed on the production side at Lange. I don’t know what the position is in other companies. However, I’m still one of the few women in the whole industry involved in the design sector
KERSTIN RICHTER — HEAD OF FINAL ASSEMBLY
A. Lange & Söhne is unique in that it is one of the very few companies that assembles its watches twice. This is one of the key elements to the quality of our watches
MARITA GRAEN — HEAD OF FINISH TEAM
(Shown with others from the finish team: Beate Weber, Kathlee Lange and Simone Albercht)
At Lange & Söhne we work well together, but we are each individually responsible for our work. We only do things one way — the correct way
The reason why women flourish here is the same reason why anyone does well at A. Lange & Söhne. It is the openness of the manufacture and the pride that each of us has in what we do. Some of us managed to play a small part in the revival of high watchmaking in this part of the world and we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity.”
through their vision and hard work, chopard was transformed into one of the world’s foremost symbols of contemporary luxury