It has been a phenomenal year for the watch world. To round off 2022, we are celebrating the hits, the wonders, the visionaries and all the people in watchmaking who have made it so memorable in our annual Revolution Awards and Power Lists.
Today we award our first ever Ethics Award, and the well-deserved winner is none other than Cartier CEO Cyrille Vigneron.
In the 20th century, we were taught that any individual that did not maximize profits to the demise of his or her workforce and the surrounding environment was not a good leader. The result is that we have a gravely wounded planet teetering on the brink of environmental collapse. As such, the true leaders of the new millennium would need to usher in a different vision of ethical capitalism that improves the world around them, one that positively impacts those working for them. Cartier CEO Cyrille Vigneron has proved himself since he took up the helm of this iconic maison to be the most courageous, forward-thinking ethical capitalist leader in our industry.
The Cartier SolarBeat Tank Must goes green
“Cartier is serious about making the tangible changes required to move towards a more sustainable vision of luxury. The watch that most epitomized this was the innovative SolarBeat Tank Must, a new accessible entry-point into the world of Cartier’s watches. Given that this is a watch aimed at a younger audience, it should come as no surprise that the Tank Must is where Cartier is choosing to showcase their green credentials. What is a little surprising is just how green it is. Instead of calf, the straps on this series are made from non-animal leather. The black, blue and green straps are largely comprised of apple, sourced from food industry scraps. If this reframing of upcycled bio-waste into the luxury segment wasn’t eyebrow-raising enough, there’s the fact that this watch is, in fact, solar-powered. Not that you’d know it from the dial, which is classic Cartier, right down to those famously stylized Roman numerals. Only here the numerals don’t just serve as indicators of the hour, they are, in fact, photovoltaic cells, placed behind the dial. These cells are effective enough to suck up natural and artificial light to power the SolarBeat movement.” From our feature on sustainability in watchmaking.
Let’s pause here to also mention that as of last year, he’s brought Cartier back to its position as the second biggest luxury watch brand in the world with a turnover of 2.39 billion Swiss francs. What is amazing is that he has achieved all this with a prevailing philosophy of kindness. When the pandemic hit, instead of shifting pressure to suppliers by canceling orders, or to distributors by forcing stock down their throats, he took it upon himself to take the pressure. When things improved dramatically, he was able to meet the demand, thanks to the flexible manufacturing innovations that he had implanted at Cartier. At the same time, he has pursued carbon neutrality, uses only recycled gold and values his human capital at Cartier above all else. There is not a single person that doesn’t leave an interaction with him smiling and feeling uplifted. For this reason, it is inevitable that he wins our first-ever Ethics Award.