Much excitement always surrounds the reveal of Cartier novelties at Watches and Wonders Geneva. Each year, the Maison’s creative team goes above and beyond to create showstopping timepieces that quickly become the talk of the fair. This year’s high jewellery masterpieces are better appreciated up close, worn and admired on the wrist, albeit briefly in the “touch and try” sessions offered to a fortunate group of international media who get the first look at the magnificent gem-setting, considered styling, ergonomic fitting, and articulated softness achieved by highly skilled artisans.
The Clash [Un]limited series caught my eye first with its blend of beads, picot studs, and clou carrés combining the Clash de Cartier codes with the geometric style typical of this leading Swiss watchmaker. Its composition is reminiscent of Jeanne Toussaint’s aptitude for pairing precious stones with the industrial aesthetic of ball bearings. Chromatic contrasts are achieved by alternating brushed and satin-finish gold, then combining yellow or rose gold with violet gold, a new shade developed for Cartier.
Available in a series of limited-edition releases in diamond-paved yellow gold, rose gold and white gold, the Clash [Un]limited line incorporates a selection of onyx, black spinels, obsidian, diamonds, coral, chrysoprase, and tsavorites to enhance the design. A single tsavorite or spinel provides a focal point at 12 o’clock on the dials set with 71 brilliant-cut diamonds. There is so much depth to the dial, too, with its sixteen-faceted cut glass accentuating the distinctive lines and Roman numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock on the silvered sunray dials.
The Baignoire Allongée makes a comeback with its elongated, oval-shaped dial with curved edges that taper towards the bracelet. For the first time, Cartier has enhanced the dial with artisanal finesse and technique to achieve a sleek and angular pattern on this piece (pictured) with its contrasting tones in white gold and yellow gold with brilliant-cut diamonds, black lacquer and enamel.
The watch case is designed in yellow gold and white gold, a technical feat achieved with a micro-welding tool and a line of lacquer to subtly conceal the margin between the two metals. The dial’s white and yellow gold sections are polished or adorned with a sunray motif handcrafted with a spike that takes four hours to complete. Nine different specialities are required to create this limited series. From machining to enamel, lacquering to jewellery making, production took more than 24 months. Only 50 of these pieces will be available.
The legendary Tank Américaine, Tank Française and Tank Louis Cartier collections are further evolved this year. Focusing on the Tank Américaine for now, the new design reinforces the original look of the watch with a delicately sculpted form that seamlessly integrates the brancards into the extension of the strap.
The Tank Américaine has a rich history. Launched in 1899, the design draws inspiration from the curved case of the Tank Cintrée watch which sits comfortably on the wrist. It also introduced the first adjustable strap partnered with the famous folding buckle, for which Cartier filed a patent in 1910.
The Tank Américaine has a distinctive, sophisticated, instantly recognisable style and has become an icon of modern watch design.
These watches are powered by the new 1899 MC movement for slimmer cases. The mini models have a silvered sunray dial, while the small and large models have silvered satin-brushed dials. All feature blued-steel sword-shaped hands.
You’ll be hard-pressed to choose between the all-gold and steel version with a leather strap, rose gold and diamonds with a leather strap or the diamond-paved white and rose gold watch with a metal bracelet featuring polished facets that reflect and refract radiate light.
Cartier’s latest watch collections embody the Maison’s unwavering pursuit of evolution and renewal, drawing inspiration from its rich heritage to establish a presence in the present, while consistently innovating for the future.