While you might think you have seen something like the Ballon Bleu De Cartier Floral-Marquetry Parrot timepiece, you would be wrong; it is, in fact, unlike any other watch we know of. Cartier employs a new craft in watchmaking: floral marquetry, which adorns and enlivens the dial of the Ballon Bleu de Cartier 42 mm watch. Marquetry is not new to watchmaking of course and the floral version is, reportedly, still in use today, just not in watchmaking.
The Ballon Bleu De Cartier Floral-Marquetry Parrot watch is at the crossroads of two kinds of craftsmanship. One immortalizes the otherwise rather ephemeral beauty of the flower while the other deploys and enhances the natural and virtually immortal bounty of the earth.
When the art of the jeweler and the marquetry artisan combine, a kind of alchemy occurs, resulting in what can only be called a veritable explosion of color. Witness the blue and the orange-yellow of the plumage, the mesmerizing black of the beak, the emerald green of the eye and the sparkling white diamonds in the background of the dial and on the crown.
Making the ephemeral eternal takes time. A multitude of minute operations follow one after the other: the flower petals are gathered and colored, each petal is then stuck onto a thin piece of wood and cut into the desired shape using a marquetry saw. Briefly, each flower is methodically taken apart and laid out on a wood board to be cut into the shapes that form the plumage of the macaw. Using a marquetry saw, the petals are cut with thoughtful precision and then finely shaped into individual ‘feathers’.