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Object of Desire: Cartier Baignoire Allongée Watch

By Nancy Hass

Photograph by Sasha Lytvyn. Styled by Todd Knopke. Photo assistant: Nigel Jones

Louis Cartier, a scion of the Paris-based jewellery maker, first experimented with oval-face watches in place of the traditional round shape in the early 20th century, giving one as a gift to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia. But it wasn’t until the late 1950s that the company began truly stretching the form, introducing the gently curved design that would come to be called the Baignoire, for its resemblance to a cast-iron tub. Over the years, the company has further torqued the silhouette, which follows the contour of the wrist, moulding it into the dramatic Baignoire Allongée and adorning it with precious stones. Now, Cartier has reimagined the manually wound watch anew, in a version suited to these strange times — in medium or extra large, studded with the house’s signature hobnails, or clous carrés, in rose gold. Sporting such a timepiece sends a signal: Here, business, like time itself, is not as usual.

Cartier Baignoire Allongée watch, S$45,500