Gordon Lam visits the City by the Bay to wine, dine and get the star-studded Cartier treatment
The one and only GORDON LAM visits the City by the Bay to wine, dine and get the red-carpet treatment at a star-studded gala – all courtesy of Cartier
IN THE FIRST week of April, Cartier hosted its annual party in San Francisco, this year celebrating two of the brand’s most iconic watches: the Santos and the Panthère de Cartier. Bringing together not only the international press, Cartier also invited a who’s who of celebrities and digital influencers from all corners of the globe. This time, the brand made it even more special by inviting a list of friends from the maison – a diverse group of thinkers, makers and doers who shape our world. Cartier’s Social Lab was created as a think tank, connecting an eclectic range of speakers from different backgrounds in a conversation to stimulate new ideas.
The wildly international group of Social Lab speakers includes Indian actress Freida Pinto; English actor Idris Elba; American indie musician Chaz Bear (aka Toro y Moi); Apple Music’s head of content, Larry Jackson; American photographer and artist David LaChapelle; Bahamanian conceptual artist Tavares Strachan; French actress and director Mélanie Laurent; Chinese architect Ma Yansong; American winemaker Sean Thackrey; and French chef and food writer Daniel de la Falaise, just to name a handful. During the few days spent in San Francisco, it was clear that all of the above names possess the “bold and fearless” qualities that served as the namesake for the big party – and the latest Cartier hashtag.
Upon our arrival in San Francisco, we headed straight for lunch at renowned seafood restaurant International Smoke,
which specialises in putting a spicy spin on grilled seafood and barbecue dishes. Once our stomachs were settled and satisfied, we were ready to head back up to the skies – aboard a seaplane, where we would marvel at the Bay Area views from above. We were greeted by Seaplane Adventures owner Aaron Singer; after a few minutes of chit-chat, we discovered that we have a certain Hong Kong friend in common in the fashion industry. How small is this world getting?
In fact, Cartier organised this seaplane ride for a special reason. It’s a little known fact that the Santos watch was actually created by the brand’s founder, Louis Cartier, for his Brazilian friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, a leading figure of modern aeronautics who piloted the first hot-air balloon in 1897. In 1901, Santos-Dumont mentioned the difficulty he had in checking the time on his wristwatch, so in 1904, Louis Cartier revolutionised watchmaking by inventing the first purpose-designed modern wristwatch for Santos-Dumont – and hence, the Santos watch was born.
Since I was young, I’ve always wanted a Santos and it’s still by far one of my favourite watches of all-time.
But there are so many different versions – I could never make up my mind. The latest version of the large Santos gold and steel watch was what I was lucky enough to enjoy for the week; finally, my dream came true!
This watch has been designed with a modern twist, with easily changeable straps from steel to leather, along with 20 different leather styles to choose from.
And adjusting the metal straps is now so easy that even a child can do it in two seconds, thanks to the wonders of modern engineering.
The Hong Kong press group split into two teams and I acted as Singer’s co-pilot in one of the planes. After taking off and simultaneously doing what I’m best at – taking videos and photos at the same time – we marvelled at the famous Golden Gate Bridge, the infamous Alcatraz prison and the Bay Area’s coastal areas. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fly over the city due to the San Francisco Giants baseball game, so sadly we had to give the skyline a miss. While the captain was explaining all the famous sights below, I realised my passengers at the back were awfully quiet – and when I turned around, they were both passed out due to jet lag. It’s a good thing I didn’t fall asleep too, or it would have probably been the most embarrassing flight that pilot had ever flown!
Gordon Lam dons Cartier’s new Santos watch and gets ready for the big Bold and Fearless party in San Francisco