Cartier occupies a substantial space of Palexpo at Watches and Wonders every year, mirroring the significant launches of the brand. In 2023 the Maison released more than 80 novelties – in iconic lines such as the Tank or the Santos and many watchmaking-meets-fine-jewellery pieces.
In the last decades Cartier has been increasingly associated with fine watchmaking and even watch complications, especially under the management of Carole Forestier-Kasapi, who led the in-house movement creation at Cartier for around 15 years (she joined TAG Heuer in 2020 as movement director).
But Cartier – founded in 1847, has a long-standing tradition – becoming a household name in terms of jewellery and its creations are very popular among royalty and celebrities alike. The Cartier family and the artisans at the Maison have dedicated a lifetime to perfecting their craft in design, gem-selection and gem-setting, goldsmithing and enamelling.
No wonder that the watchmaking-meets-jewellery pieces create quite a buzz at Watches and Wonders every year. Even the most reserved, blasé journalists and fashionistas become excited when a white-gloved Cartier associate is handing over a diamond-set La Panthère watch…
I selected a few pieces which made my heart beat faster.
Métiers d’Art Baignoire Allongée watch
In 2019 Cartier revamped the Baignoire line which now includes the Baignoire Allongée – an elongated version of the ‘bathtub-shaped’ watch case. We included it in our ‘Girls don’t just wanna have fun’ series back then, due to its mechanical movement, interesting shape and even more unique and edgy bezel.
Cartier kept the 1917 MC hand-wound movement for this exceptional novelty too, which comes in a limited edition of 50 individually numbered pieces. The white gold Métiers d’Art Baignoire Allongée watch is a great example of the above mentioned different craftsmen – four types of savoir-faire are involved in the creation of this watch: the work of the jeweller, the marquetry craftsman, the gem-setter and the watchmaker.
On the dial, mother-of-pearl, turquoise, onyx and white gold create an abstract marquetry
composition, playing with both shiny and matte surfaces. Performing this marquetry work on a curved surface is a challenge for the artisans and each dial requires 25 hours of work.
The bezel is set with diamonds, grey spinels and blue tourmalines in an inverted pavilion setting. The inverted pavilion setting or reverse pavé creates very interesting, ‘spike-like’ pieces. It is not only very time-consuming and requires the utmost precision but the artisan has to understand the colours and hues of the gemstones intimately. This kind of setting increases the usual manufacturing time by 20%. (You can discover a few great jewels by Hemmerle using this technique as well in this article.)
Clash [Un]limited watch
The concept of the Clash [Un]limited watch is to balance between precious and industrial. Ball bearings inspire the idea of the bracelet’s structure completed with beads, picot studs, picot studs and clou carrés (tiny square nails). The bracelet watch has a small dial covered with a sixteen-faceted cut glass.
The Clash [Un]limited is available in diamond-paved yellow gold, rose gold and white gold, as well as versions enhanced with precious stones. My favourite version is a colourful model (slightly reminiscent of the Cartier Tutti Frutti collection) with red coral, black spinels, chrysoprase, tsavorites and diamonds.
La Panthère de Cartier
There is no novelty release without Cartier’s iconic panther. The new La Panthère yellow gold bracelet is paired with a panther head speckled with black lacquer featuring tsavorite eyes. The head is designed in three dimensions: nose, cheeks, eyes and pointed ears ‘resting’ on the wrist. Her open mouth reveals the black lacquer dial with delicate gold hour hands. For devoted diamond lovers, the Maison created a full-set, high-jewellery version as well.
Ballon Bleu de Cartier
Ballon Bleu De Cartier is a much younger icon of Cartier compared to Tank or Crash – it was introduced in 2007. The case is reminiscent of a pebble (domed on both the front and back) and its crown is integrated into this pebble while the metal slopes over the sapphire cabochon crown. This elegant detail makes the timepiece instantly recognisable and gives a slight fine jewellery touch already.
The new automatic steel models (small – 33mm, medium 36mm) have a distinctive matte silvered stamped sunray dial set with 21 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Photo credits: Loupiosity.com
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