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Cartier’s Watches and Wonders Releases Are All About Proportions

The Tortue de Cartier Monopusher Chronograph in yellow gold and platinum.

From mini Tanks to mega Baignoire bangles, Cartier offers everyone a watch that expresses their personality.

Like many of the other brands, Cartier unleashed a mega-drop of new designs and concepts last year. As it continues to expand on these ideas of mini timepieces and watches-as-jewellery, as well as highly unisex and elegant timepieces, it is focusing on specific trends and references. Here are some of the highlights that caught our eyes and opened our wallets.

The Santos de Cartier Rewind in platinum.
The Santos de Cartier Rewind in platinum.

The Santos – Grand, Colourful, and Two Time Zones 

The Santos de Cartier remains its most important story to tell and timepiece to sell. It literally represents Cartier’s foray into wristwatch-making and shaped watchmaking. Two watches that we are sure will be incredibly successful commercially are the Santos de Cartier Dual Time and Santos de Cartier Skeleton in yellow gold. The latter, currently only in steel, gets a yellow gold model with a full gold bracelet and, more importantly, yellow gold skeleton Art Deco style numerals that double as bridges for the movement. This is important: gold is rarely used in movement bridges because it’s relatively soft. It, therefore, does not quite fit the role of movement protection, but let’s face it, you’re not wearing this full gold model to tennis.

The Santos de Cartier Dual Time adds this useful complication to the evergreen timepiece.
The Santos de Cartier Dual Time adds this useful complication to the evergreen timepiece.

The other significant release – for us, at least – is the Santos de Cartier Dual Time, which has a secondary counter at 6 o’clock for the second time display and a date window at 3, both of which are crown-controlled. At the first position, turning the crown clockwise changes the second hour, while turning it counter-clockwise changes the date. This watch also features a brand new Cartier movement, which is oddly not detailed in the press information.

The Santos de Cartier Rewind tells time in reverse, giving a new perspective on how the watchmaker interprets timekeeping.
The Santos de Cartier Rewind tells time in reverse, giving a new perspective on how the watchmaker interprets timekeeping.

There’s also the Santos de Cartier Rewind, a 200-piece limited edition watch with a carnelian dial and new manual-winding Calibre 230 MC, which literally reflects the dial, with the time, therefore, going in a reverse direction. Reversed movements have been around, but this is the first time Cartier is experimenting with this design. The image visuals feature a reversed display of time, with the shorter hour hand at 10 (on the right side of the dial) and the long minutes hand on the left, even though technically, it wouldn’t make an aesthetic difference. This is a fun watch, however, for anyone who’s a little controversial or unconventional.

One of the lacquer Santos de Cartier timepieces in medium size with stunning dial colours.
One of the lacquer Santos de Cartier timepieces in medium size with stunning dial colours.

Finally, there are three special edition models that add colour and Arabic numerals, a long-absent detail from the Santos, to the series. In peacock blue, olive green, and taupe grey, with different gold cases, the compact watches feature lacquered bezels and dials that express the flair of Alberto Santos-Dumont, the dandy who inspired the collection.

The Tortue de Cartier Monopusher Chronograph in platinum.
The Tortue de Cartier Monopusher Chronograph in platinum.

Cartier Privé 

This year, the shape of choice for Cartier’s Collection Privé is the Tortue (French for ‘tortoise’). The five references in there are largely divided into an elegant three-hand model and monopusher chronograph. The Tortue is, in fact, one of the brand’s oldest models, dating back to 1912, and has, over the decades, seen several revisions. In fact, in 1998, the Tortue even housed a high-end monopusher chronograph movement developed by Vianney Halter, Denis Flageollet, and a certain François-Paul Journe. That was also a CPCP timepiece, so it’s particularly apt that Cartier is introducing its new monopusher chrono in this case.

The Tortue de Cartier Monopusher Chronograph circa 2004, image courtesy of Christie's.
The Tortue de Cartier Monopusher Chronograph circa 2004, image courtesy of Christie’s.

The manually wound 1928 MC is the slimmest chronograph produced by the Manufacture Cartier so far, rendering the watch just a sliver over 10mm in thickness. Against a tonneau-like dial are a circular minute track and chronograph sub-dials with applied platinum or black printed hour markers for the platinum or yellow gold versions, respectively. There’s a small seconds counter at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute totaliser at 3, with apple-shaped hands for the time display. The faceted crown has a ruby for the platinum model and sapphire for the gold that integrates a monopusher, so it sticks out slightly from the case.

The Tortue de Cartier in platinum and gemset models.
The Tortue de Cartier in platinum and gem-set models.

Among the three time-only models is one gem-set platinum Tortue with brilliant-cut diamonds on the case and lugs, the first for a Collection Privé watch. There’s also a platinum model with applied indexes and a ruby cabochon on the crown, as well as a yellow-gold model with a sapphire cabochon and matching hands. The watches are all limited to 200 pieces globally except for the gem-set model, which sees only 50 pieces.

The large Baignoire Bangle watch from Cartier this year makes it very appealing to everyone.
The large Baignoire Bangle watch from Cartier this year makes it very appealing to everyone.

Mini Tanks, Maxi Baignoire Bangles 

The watch-as-jewellery trend continues to evolve with new gem-set bracelets, with tiny watches set within them, as well as a series of mini models of the Tank, Tank Americaine, and a larger-sized Baignoire bangle that’s targeted at those with bigger wrists, or men who enjoy jewellery as much as women.

The Mini sized Tank Louis Cartier.
The Mini-sized Tank Louis Cartier.

Truthfully, we’re absolutely besotted with the large-sized Baignoire bangle; we only wish it wasn’t such a significant price jump over the smaller piece. Meanwhile, the Panthère de Cartier comes in a medium size that is quite a unisex offering, while the Tank Louis Cartier gets shrunk down to Barbie doll-sized proportions to match the mini-bag trend of today.

The Crocodile Animal Kingdom Jewellery watch from Cartier.
The Crocodile Animal Kingdom Jewellery watch from Cartier.

Animal Kingdom 

Using simple Cartier watch forms – a perfect diamond, an endless circle, Cartier is integrating various icons from its animal kingdom into the collection with a mix of gem-set jewellery bracelets or leather straps. These models are fully gem-set, housed in rose gold or white gold and combine different elements like the zebra and panther on the diamond-shaped watch. Using lacquering with diamonds, rubies, garnets or spinels, the watches have gem-set or lacquered displays.

In the Panther, Crocodile, and Tiger Jewellery watches, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, garnets, and spinels come together in a thoughtful design to create the image of these animals wrapped around the wrist, with an elegant brushed gold dial that indicates the time.

If you’re fond of shaped watches, playful timepieces and jewellery watches, there’s plenty at Cartier to indulge in this year. Head to a boutique to discover its creations today.

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


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