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Cartier Puts Automotive Spin on Latest Men's Scent

Cartier is aiming to rev up its men's fragrance business with the introduction in September of a new scent called Roadster, the firm's first men's fragrance launch in a decade — and a reference to a popular Cartier watch design.

An ad for Cartiers Roadster fragrance

An ad for Cartier's Roadster fragrance.

Photo By WWD Staff

Cartier is aiming to rev up its men's fragrance business with the introduction in September of a new scent called Roadster, the firm's first men's fragrance launch in a decade — and a reference to a popular Cartier watch design.

The luxury jewelry brand, which is owned by Geneva-based Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, is looking to slowly build the new, automotive-inspired scent into the house's biggest fragrance and a long-term performer within its limited, upscale fragrance distribution network.

The scent, which is described as a mineral fougere, was composed by in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent and it is tied closely to the Roadster watch, which made its debut in 2001. Design details of the bottle emulate those of the timepiece — for instance, the top of the bottle is molded after the crown on the watch and the watch's date magnifier is reproduced on the bottle.

"We hadn't launched a men's fragrance in many years and wanted to do it right," Frédéric de Narp, president and chief executive officer of Cartier North America, said of Roadster in an interview Monday.

Roadster is Cartier's fifth men's scent. The house's last men's scent, Declaration, was launched in 1998, but its Pasha fragrance, a 1992 entry, is Cartier's best-selling men's scent. In 1981, Cartier launched two inaugural scents simultaneously, Must de Cartier, a women's fragrance, and Santos de Cartier, for men.

De Narp said of Roadster, "The fragrance, together with the watch design is extremely masculine." The Roadster watch, which ranges in price from $4,550 to $325,000, is a "pillar" of the Cartier collection he said, adding, "Roadster will be the strongest pillar" of the firm's fragrance assortment.

While Cartier executives would not discuss sales projections, industry sources estimate the Roadster scent could generate first-year retail sales in excess of $20 million.

The scent is to be launched in early September — first at Bloomingdale's for a one month exclusive stay — before it is rolled out to Cartier's full U.S. fragrance distribution network of roughly 400 doors, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Sephora. It also will be carried at Cartier's 34 boutiques in the U.S. from early September.
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