In a world where luxury watch companies have predominantly been run by men, this story brings to light the journey of a remarkable woman – Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Cartier’s Director of Movement Development and Head of the Fine Watchmaking division.
Sitting in her sanctum at the Cartier Headquarters in Switzerland, sketching and designing timepieces of the future, Carole’s expertise in horology is unrivalled. In a male-dominated field, Mrs Forestier-Kasapi brings a different perspective to the profession. Before she sees herself as a woman, she defines herself and her identity as a watchmaker.
Hailing from a family of watchmakers, she grew up observing her father and brother who were deeply involved in the craft. As a child, she played in her father’s workshop, building new mechanisms while other kids played board games. She loves dismantling existing mechanisms to understand their operation and compares the process to learning the alphabet from scratch. Carole believes that when you work with a Maison such as Cartier, it’s imperative to relearn the basics to reinvent.
For her, the genesis of a particular watch design begins with identifying the function and how it will be displayed. Then it moves to the mechanical implementation of that function. Her process of honouring each step in creating a masterpiece seems synonymous to Da Vinci’s notoriety for hiding messages within hundreds of brush strokes.
Mrs Forestier-Kasapi has been the force behind several striking designs for Cartier, including the ID Concept, the renowned Astroregulateur, the Central Chronograph, the Santos-Dumont, the Cartier Caliber and the famous Astrotourbillon, which is by far her favourite.
Her personal signature and imprint are strongly evident in each collection made under her leadership. A big believer of staying a step ahead and continuously improving, her central approach remains to reinvent. Her modesty and gracious demeanour are far from being haughty about her remarkable achievements such as being awarded the best watchmaker at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2012, the industry’s Oscars.
Despite her reputation preceding her, she carries herself with grace and humility. Carole Forestier-Kasapi truly is the unrivalled Queen of Complications!