It is hard to ignore a name like Carole Forestier-Kasapi when we talk about the surreal world of luxury watches. Also known as the queen of complications, Carole Forestier-Kasapi is a monumental figure as far as mechanical complications and movements are concerned. It is, however, almost criminal how little watch afficionados know about this horological mastermind.
Let’s change that, shall we?
Carole Forestier-Kasapi, The Mind Behind Some Of Watchmaking’s Greatest Creations
For a woman, making a name for herself in an industry that is saturated with men is definitely not an easy task. Carole Forestier-Kasapi is a proud French woman who, by her peers and co-workers, is known as a genius when it comes watch movement designing.
As one of the most creative inventors in horology, Carole’s method is to first understand everything about traditional watchmaking. Once that is taken care of, the next task questioning everything and doing it in a completely different way.
Carole was born into a family that has watchmaking in their blood. Her father, mother, and brother are all connected to watchmaking. One can even say that horology is part of her culture. She left Paris at the young age of 16 years and moved to La Chaux-de-Fonds for studying watchmaking. She eventually decided to stay as La Chaux-de-Fonds was ‘the’ place to be when it came down to luxury watchmaking.
As a child, she spent most of her time after school in the family atelier where the magic used to happen. At an age when children in her age group idolized celebrities and musicians, Carole studied about personalities such as Abraham-Louis Breguet. She then moved on to advance in her career at Renaud & Papi movement Manufacture.
Role At Cartier
Carole has been making watches at Cartier since 1999 and has been the face of Cartier’s department of movement creation since 2005. Her team and she are responsible for creating new and exciting movements for Cartier at the watchmaker’s La Chaux-de-Fonds manufacture. This process can often get tedious as it includes stages such as development, prototyping, testing, and of course, quality control. It is under her leadership that Cartier came up with numerous brand new movements in the Haute Horlogerie division.
Before becoming the Director of Movement Creations at the Maison, she was also acted as a consultant for Ulysse Nardin in 2001 for the development of the movement used in the ‘Freak’ timepiece.
At Cartier, her career truly bloomed and flourished. She rose through the ranks and assisted the brand to become the overwhelming name in the Haute Horlogerie it is today. Prior to her taking over the reins, Cartier used third-party movements for its watches.
This, however, changed pretty soon. Cartier started making its own movements, adding a flare of mechanical brilliance to its sophisticated watches. The first collection ever equipped with its in-house calibres was introduced back in 2008. In the upcoming years, the world would witness 30 top-notch in-house movements from Cartier. This includes the 2010 out-of-the-world Astrotourbillon.
Her Thought Process
Her career challenged her more than just once to re-think the ways of fine watchmaking. In her own words, “What interests me is this inexhaustible creative capacity to reinvent mechanisms year after year.” She further added, “Having a good idea can eventually happen to anyone, but reissuing a mechanism over nearly 20 years requires a different skillset altogether.” Truer words have never been spoken.
Role At TAG Heuer
In 2020, her role at Cartier and it took a different direction. Currently, as the Movements Director at Swiss luxury watch brand TAG Heuer, her role hasn’t changed much though. Under the rather youthful leadership of TAG Heuer’s freshly appointed CEO Frédéric Arnault, Carole’s role is still to break convention and re-interpret the fine ways of traditional mechanical watchmaking.