Founded in Geneva each year, the huge Palexpo expo complex becomes a lavish mall without cost spared booths, every fitted out in keeping with the brand’s identity. In the next of our three features from SIHH 2018we have a peek at what we can expect from Cartier this season; a marque that, for at least a hundred and seventy years, continues to be adored by royalty and icons of the silver screen, and now still oozes that same classic allure making it among its most recognisable and in-demand founders of luxury products on the planet.
Whilst boasting such a high tech clientele guaranteed exclusivity because of its exotic jewellery and watches, the Cartier name remained well out of the reach of most, and it was actually only in the 1970s when it began experimenting with stainless steel and two-tone versions that the Cartier for the modern era was born. Obviously, still luxurious and always symbolic of reserve and sophistication, and obviously still available in precious metals and diamonds, its collections found a brand new dynamic while still possessing that esoteric quality of classic chic. Although there were recent exceptions for this rule, an all-new set from Cartier is a fairly rare event, as its own portfolio is mainly comprised of mythical collections whose roots are to be found well back into the brand’s history. More frequently we see its present creations come with subtle refinements which make sure it is always in touch with changing times and tastes, though always unmistakably Cartier, and always signed off with the renowned cabochon collection crown. In the last few decades, the top point about la Maison’s watch collection has become the swing towards developing and implementing its in-house mechanical watches movements, which not only carries a lot of prestige as a watch brand but also allows it to become more independent and self-contained.
In the splendour of the Cartier SIHH 2018 showroom, and amid the outstanding high jewellery of this Libre collection, the slinky feline characteristics of Cartier’s embraced Big Cat, or perhaps a vibrant hand painted dial of straw marquetry, with obviously lashings of diamonds and precious stones, for the only mortal it is almost surreal being surrounded by so much uncompromised, overt luxury where the eye comes to rest. Among its best-known collections is the Cartier Santos; among the very first men’s wristwatches, and named after the fearless Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. The latter got to thinking, and therefore in 1904, what would become a really groundbreaking classic was imagined.
If’fortieth anniversary’ and 2018 do not quite tie in with a watch first produced in the early 1900s, it’s because it was the reimagined 1978 iteration which would specify the modern Santos, if its signature features like the use of screws because a feature on the bezel plate and bracelet first appeared. Ever since that time it’s been revisedrenamed (since the Santos-Dumont, Santos Galbée and XL), however within the last couple of years, there has not been anything new in the group. We know why.
Therefore in 2018 an all-new Santos is the most significant news from Cartier’s SIHH, and it is guaranteed to be a huge success. With its distinctive square instance profile and neatly rounded angles, the big perfectly appointed dials with signature Roman numerals, it is an even more refined piece compared to its forty year old predecessor, even though the design essentials, which created this one of its most recognisable and popular luxury watches of a generation, have stayed faithfully intact. Featuring a brand new quick-change system, switching between strap or bracelet is easy to do, making this legend much more versatile. Most notable of all is the Santos Skeleton, a spectacular piece, with stripped back openworked dial located round the roman numerals, also offering a specialized three dimensional showcase of Cartier’s contemporary in-house hand winding movement.
On the subject of the magnificent, the Cartier Révelation d’Une Panthère is a truly exotic and quintessentially female piece. With a boom of diamonds surrounding a transparent liquid filled dial, inside of which hundreds of minuscule gold beads cascade through an invisible glass stencil, above a black or emerald green background, the face of the major cat, which has been an emblem of this brand as the 1920s, appears and disappears with each movement of the wrist. The constant’now you see me, now you don’t’ cartoon is mesmerising and irresistible in what is a unique and utterly captivating idea.
Somewhat more restrained, yet nonetheless a piece with substantial presence, yet another enduring Cartier trademark is your Tank collection, which celebrated one hundred years in 2016. Using its long and slender rectangular shape currently available in gold, yellow gold or platinum, the elegant Cartier Tank Cintrée creates its return to the secure proper after a long absence. In a world of round executive watches, Cintrée stands out with jurisdiction in any boardroom or society occasion. Effortlessly fashionable and inherently classy, its 47.3 x 23.4mm situation is curved to hug the wrist for perfect comfort, and interior beats a hand twisting calibre. In one of the rare occasions when something entirely new does come together, the brand new Drive de Cartier collection made its debut in 2017, and it’s quickly become a hot favourite among the marque’s lovers and collectors. It is the only (nearly ) round men’s view in the portfolio, and with subtle and softened angles blending beautifully with flowing contours, along with a gloriously large dial which appears almost impervious to the 39mm case, it is a very handsome piece with executive presence.
Strengthening this new collection, at much thicker than a couple of coins, the Drive p Cartier Extra Flat is currently offered in a choice of white or yellow gold with silver dials. These stunning time-only pieces feature a great ultra slim hand winding movement in a situation of merely 6.6mm tall.
Ultimately, most of us know that everyone loves a fantastic mystery, and so do Cartier. With its golden moon and sun suspended on a transparent sapphire disk the fabulous Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Day/Night displays the time with its dial split in 2 halves for the retrograde minutes in the bottom, and the rotating hour pointers, together with the moon emerging to replace the sun as the day ends and night begins in a twenty-four hour cycle. What Cartier does is quite unlike any other. In fact, it’s its own fashion language, and across its spectrum of beautiful collections, in addition to the classic chic that is inherent throughout, there is also still the real and inimitable sense of joie de vivre which has made it so cherished by its devotées for such a long time.