Grégoire Blanche has built his career at luxury jeweller Cartier for 19 years. It’s no surprise then that when it came time for a relocation of their iconic Sydney store on Castlereigh street, Blanche was called upon to oversee the new location and the iconic red store’s drastic makeover.
The goal, Blanche explains, is to ensure the revamped Sydney flagship retail space reflects the brand’s core values and faithful design language of today.
As the store prepares to open as one of the biggest Cartier stores in the Southern Hemisphere, we sat down with Blanche to find out what Australian men can expect from the fine artisans of jewellery.
D’Marge: Why is Cartier revamping their Australian flagship store?
Grégoire Blanche: We want to bring some importance Australia. We’ve been here for 30 years and this move is consistent with Cartier wanting to explore new territories.
DM: What is unique about the new Cartier store?
GB: This is one of the biggest in Asia Pacific without a doubt. And in the southern hemisphere also. Sounds good right? Having a lot of water in the southern hemisphere also helps.
DM: The old store was also on Castlereigh street. Why did you choose to re-open the new Cartier down the road?
GB: Castlereigh street is the address to be on for luxury brands. We had a very clear vision of what we wanted to do and we wanted a salon like this one to welcome our guests and clients; a lot of vision, a lot of work and detail. It’s a stepping stone as we prepare to open our other boutique in Melbourne in May 2016.
DM: How will the new space help customers?
GB: What’s important to us is to be consistent with what the Maison Cartier is – the King of jewellers. For 160 years we’ve been renowned and recognised as a true jeweller and we’ve needed much more space and lighting to present our collection.
As a result we’re permanently bringing in some high jewellery into Australia. There’s a few of those around the world and also fine watchmaking. It’s strong attention to the local market and positioning – exactly where the Maison should be.
DM: Would you say the new store is an experience?
GB: Yes. But the experience is also the new sales team. Having more space means having better service, ability to sit at the table and having clients understand the Maison. We can then guide our clients and choices as they are significant choices whether it’s watchmaking or jewellery.
DM: Tell us about Cartier’s men’s watch space in the Sydney boutique.
GB: Men have always been intricately linked to our history. Renowned visionaries as our clients. Some of our current clients are at the forefront of technology today. Whether it’s for themselves or for their significant other, men have always been at the heart of the Maison.
DM: Will the new store act as a portal for clients to see and buy watches from SIHH or international watch conventions?
GB: Without a doubt. Sometimes we refer to our boutiques as a jewellery box and this is what it really is. More space means more ability to present a broader selection of pieces. Our fine watch area has a dedication to that. Lots of presentation spaces which will be used to present a broad collection that we unveil every year.
DM: Finally, tell us about the Maison and the story behind it.
GB: When we say Cartier Maison, what it stems from is under one roof, we have everything. This is what we ventured to do 160 years ago. From manufacturing to development of new models in house, movements, the cases. All of that is in house work. It’s a process that starts from the design from the ateliers in Paris to Geneva. And it finishes on this table. For us the Maison is very important.
Cartier’s new Sydney flagship boutique is now open at 74 Castlereagh Street