The fourth iteration of Cartier’s heritage timepiece, the 106-year-old Tank Watch, launches with a futuristic upgrade via a new Snapchat augmented reality Lens, the companies said Wednesday.
The Tank Française collaboration offers consumers a virtual try-on experience and the ability to purchase, along with a bit of the luxury jewelry company’s history and branding.
“The Snap camera takes us back in time to 1917, and from there, a few simple taps send you through the most monumental time periods for the watch — first 1936, then 1977, ending in 2023. Snapchatters can discover the collection and see Paris over the years, as well as try on the newest Tank Watch themselves,” the companies said in a statement.
Although the brand operates more than 200 stores around the world, few people get to try on a Cartier watch in real life. But, as Geoffrey Perez, Snap’s head of global luxury, pointed out, more than 250 million people use AR daily in the Snapchat app. That casts the project as a step toward democratizing luxury, but without diluting the brand. The experience also offers an immersive 360-degree tour of the streets of Paris through time.
“Our technology opens up previously unimaginable creative possibilities, helping to make the luxury industry even more personal, accessible and practical,” said Perez.
Accessories from jewelry to eyewear have been a growing target for Snap’s AR tech. This latest fashion collaboration appears to bring together everything the company has learned over more than a decade of development. Naturally, many of those advancements also hinge on the smartphone makers, which have been elevating the technical sophistication of their cameras, sensors, image processing and software.
Behind the scenes, Apple and Google also continue to fine tune AR for iOS and Android through software tools like ARKit and ARCore, adding to what Snap can do with its own development. Over the years, its experiences have gone from funny cartoonish sombreros to makeup, jewelry and more. Eventually, with its ongoing work on cloth simulation and bodytracking, that may include more believable AR for apparel as well. Items like watches are far easier to pull off, and a glitch-free experience matters for premium goods.
“Times change but the elegance remains the same,” explained Arnaud Carrez, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Cartier. “That’s what we tried to express in an immersive way thanks to our partnership with Snap, which put augmented reality at the service of the discovery of the new Tank Française.”
Cartier’s new Lens, which launches globally in the Snapchat app on Wednesday for iOS and Android, can be found via search or through the brand’s profile page.