It's 12:42am in Dallas. The night is crisp and clear, though the moon escapes my view. A mile off, through my window, the Dallas skyline rests to the low, peaceful hum of my laptop. When my workday ended around 6pm, I took a nap on my couch; now energy abides. I am alone to my thoughts. As Tennyson once wrote, "the deep moans round with many voices."
Scrolling through Instagram, an advertisement for Cartier appears. For a moment, I watch a Jake Gyllenhaal advertisement celebrating a product with cinemic nostalgia of aviation.
I have never been associated Cartier, nor is it of any personal gain to mention them, save for what the short film inspires in me to write this first article in the wee hours of June 19th.
A copy of Wind, Sand, and Stars arrived in the mail today; I had ordered it on Amazon for a friend's birthday. The book's author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, wrote of the clouds I see in Cartier's teaser.
"Blind flying through a sea of clouds in the mountain zones was subject to the severest penalties. A pilot in trouble who buried himself in the white cotton-wool of the clouds might all unseeing run straight into a peak."
Experiencing multiple crashes in his flying career (1921-1944) Saint-Exupéry was aware of the risk. He embraced it. He made peace with the freedom it afforded.
"The squall has ceased to be a cause of my complaint. The magic of the craft has opened for me a world in which I shall confront ... the black dragons and the crowned crests of a coma of blue lightnings, and when night has fallen I, delivered, shall read my course in the stars."
To speak more of him here, without a prolonged celebration of his work feels to me a disservice. Read his book; read all of them, even The Little Prince. National Geographic listed Wind, Sand, and Stars a Top Ten Adventure Book of All Time.
In 1904, Cartier's first "Santos de Cartier" watch was made for the aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. It's arguably the first pilot's watch, as I learned from Hodinkee's review. This latest version of the watch is available through Cartier's website.
But this isn't about the watch; it's about the advertisement. More specifically, it's about how 60-seconds of images inspire something within us. Cartier's motto is "never copy, always create" (ne copiez jamais, créez toujours). It is an inspiring thought, that leaves me prepared for sound slumber, hoping to dream of the "black dragons and the crowned crests," so I can wake tomorrow inspired to thrive.