Cartier showed every other brand how you continue to make watches over 100 years old still relevant in 2020...

A brand that perfectly embodies everything Watches and Wonders is about, Cartier. Elegance, tradition, quality and emotion. Tradition is a big one of those we saw a lot of from Cartier for 2020, but it's how the brand continues to make that tradition relevant and evolutionary in today’s market. Let’s have a look at what Cartier has been up to for 2020...

Cartier Prive Asymetrique Tank

Cartier Prive Asymetrique Tank - Image Credit: Cartier

The Tank was Louis Cartier’s bright idea to give a watch the shape of a rectangle in 1917, at a time when timepieces were round. From 1917 to 1936, it saw multiple incarnations.

When it appeared in 1936, the Tank Asymétrique watch – also known at the time as the Parallélogramme or Losange – marked a break with tradition: unlike any other watch, it questioned the established order of things. Everything on the dial was shifted 30 degrees to the right. The rectangle of the original Tank became a diamond, with the 12 placed in the upper right-hand corner of the case and the 6 opposite. Instead of Roman numerals, Arabic numerals – and only the even digits – appeared, all separated by indexes. The torsion effect was such that a specific strap needed to be developed for the watch.

In addition, certain models saw the axis of symmetry in the centre of the watch replaced by a special insert. This detail, which had nothing to do with aesthetics, was unique to the watch, making it highly rare today.

In its refined volume, Cartier watchmakers have included the Manufacture 1917 MC movement, a noble movement due to the beauty of the manual winding gesture. On the dial, the Arabic numerals and their separating indexes have been completely redesigned.

Size: 47.15mm x 26.2mm
Thickness: 6.38mm
Movement: Manual wind 1917 MC
Functions: Hours & minutes
Case: Diamond shape in either platinum, pink gold or yellow gold
Straps: grey Alligator, grey alligator, brown alligator
Availability: Limited edition of 100 pieces in each metal
Price: from $26,400 for the yellow gold or pink gold, to $30,100 for the platinum model

This model epitomises Cartier perfectly. An elegant watch with interesting truly unique history doing things just slightly off from what you would expect. Everytime I look at these watches I almost do a double take, with the platinum model being the one for me. Anyone have a spare $30,100?

Cartier Prive Asymetrique Skeleton Tank

Cartier Prive Asymetrique Skeleton Tank - Image Credit: Cartier

On the Tank Asymétrique skeleton watch, the 9623 MC skeleton movement appears at the centre of a bare structure, punctuated by the 12 and the 6. The integration of this specially developed calibre within an asymmetric watch fulfils the mission of the Cartier Privé collection: to apply technology to the service of design.

The movement, articulated on these two Roman numerals and the indexes, becomes the window to a surprising case. The watch comes in pink gold on a brown or grey strap, in platinum on a blue or black strap, and in a gem-set platinum version on a black or glossy blue strap.

Made to measure, these straps are fitted with an ardillon buckle, a rare option in Fine Watchmaking. An elegant and unique watch, created in a limited series of 100 numbered pieces for each aesthetic.

Size: 47.15mm x 26.2mm
Thickness: 7.82mm
Movement: Manual wind 9623 MC skeleton
Functions: Hours & minutes
Case: Diamond shape in either platinum, pink gold or yellow
Straps: blue Alligator, black alligator, grey or brown alligator
Availability: Limited edition of 100 pieces in each metal
Price: from $61,000 for the yellow gold, to $70,000 for the platinum model. Pink gold TBC

So this model has taken everything amazing about the Asymétrique and made it even cooler, right? Sure they’re priced to make your eyes water for time only watches, but there is so much more going on here than just the time. The blued hour markers, hands and logo offset the rose gold model almost too perfectly. This is one of my favourites from the brand, and maybe even from the show...

Cartier Pasha De Cartier Collection

Cartier Pasha De Cartier Collection - Image Credit: Cartier

The Pasha De Cartier’s striking design challenges the predominance of round shapes in watchmaking, and amplifies its presence, originality and singularity. The bracelet is accentuated by the clous de Paris whilst its chained crown ensures maximum visibility

That’s why the Pasha de Cartier has been a cult watch since its creation in 1985. At the time, its power caught the eye of the generations’ opinion leaders. Initially adopted by men; then immediately appropriated by women for the power it exudes. A standout watch that loves light, assumes its excesses and asserts its strength of character. Faithful to the original model but even more sophisticated with its crown featuring a blue spinel or sapphire, interchangeable strap and its multiple possibilities of personalisation, the Pasha de Cartier watch for the 2020s is classic yet contemporary and remains as edgy as ever.

The new Pasha de Cartier watch features an innovative strap in keeping with the spirit of our time. It responds to new lifestyles, supports change and adapts easily to different situations, depending on the colours and materials chosen. In steel, gold or leather, all versions can be interchanged thanks to an adaptation of the Cartier-developed QuickSwitch system. This invisible mechanism blends into an architecture located under the case and is activated by a single push.

The sizing adjustment of the metal bracelet to the nearest link has been added to this cutting-edge technology. The SmartLink system, which has been registered for a patent, allows the bracelet length to be adjusted by the owner without the use of a tool. Each SmartLink link is equipped with a push-button that releases the fixing bar allowing removal or addition of the metal links of the Pasha de Cartier watch.

41mm stats:

Size: 41mm
Thickness: 9.55mm
Movement: Automatic 1847 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Case: Round in either steel, pink gold, yellow gold or white gold
Straps: Interchangeable QuickSwitch bracelets and alligator straps
Availability: Non limited edition
Price: TBC

35mm stats:

Size: 35mm
Thickness: 9.37mm
Movement: Automatic 1847 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Case: Round in either steel, pink gold, yellow gold or white gold
Straps: Interchangeable QuickSwitch bracelets and alligator straps
Availability: Non-limited edition
Price: TBC

Cartier Pasha De Cartier Collection - Image Credit: Cartier

Once again Cartier effectively brings a model from their history up to date with relevant changes. Both sizes available look to span across a large range of wrist sizes. Cartier also offers customisable engraving subtly positioned under the crown cover for that added touch of personality. The strap system on these sounds interesting as well.

Cartier Santos Dumont New Models

The Cartier Santos Dumont New Models - Image Credit: Cartier

“Go further.” Such could have been Alberto Santos-Dumont’s motto, which pushed him to invent delicate, poetic flying machines for his pleasure and that of Parisian spectators – machines that connected dreams and technology, man and sky. This is the story told by the new Santos-Dumont watches. Each of them now beats to the rhythm of the 430 MC mechanical movement with manual winding and is engraved with the original plans of Santos-Dumont himself. Cartier has chosen to present them on its website from April. A first for the Maison.

Cartier Santos Le Bresil

The Cartier Santos Le Bresil - Image Credit: Cartier

Platinum case, silvered dial decorated with 12 polished metallic Roman numerals, sword-shaped hands and a ruby on the winding crown. A numbered limited edition of 100 pieces. An exclusive status that is confirmed by the combination of the rubied winding crown and platinum case. The sophistication of the polished or brushed finishes on the surfaces and bevel underlines its precious character. On the reverse is engraved the design of SantosDumont’s very first machine, “Le Brésil”, created in 1898 – “the smallest” and “the most beautiful”, according to the aviator. Its unveiling took place on 4 July 1898, after which a series of airships numbered 1 to 22 would emerge between 1898 and 1909, representing his many attempts to defy the laws of weightlessness.

Cartier La Baladeuse

The Cartier La Baladeuse - Image Credit: Cartier

Yellow gold case, champagne dial, sapphire winding crown, blued sword-shaped hands and patinated green alligator-skin strap. A numbered limited edition of 300 pieces. On the back is engraved the profile of “La Baladeuse” or “n°9”, an experimental-looking motorised airship in which Santos-Dumont crossed the French capital’s sky in 1903. A small, bulging single-seater, “La Baladeuse” was intended for the personal use of its creator, who wished to demonstrate its usefulness in urban spaces. “The day will come when aerial omnibuses will transport tourists and business travellers,” insisted its creator.

Cartier Le 14 Bis

The Cartier Le 14 Bis - Image Credit: Cartier

Yellow gold bezel on a steel case, anthracite grey dial, blue spinel winding crown and gilded steel sword shaped hands. A limited edition of 500 pieces. On the back, an engraving of “n°14 bis”. In this flying machine, often described as a ‘kite of compartments’, the pilot, standing in the fuselage, was connected to the rudder and fins by cables. On 23 October 1906, after a day full of pitfalls, the “n°14 bis” won the Archdeacon Cup. Then, on 12 November, it took the Aéro-Club award. Alberto thus became the first aviator to complete a flight of 220 metres verified by an official organisation.

Cartier ‘La Demoiselle’ Limited Edition

The Cartier ‘La Demoiselle’ Limited Edition - Image Credit: Cartier

An extra-large-sized watch celebrating masculine elegance in 30 numbered pieces, engraved with the design of “La Demoiselle”, the most elegant of Santos’ flying machines. This platinum watch with ruby cabochon was created in homage to Alberto Santos-Dumont, the pioneering dandy whose silhouette is inseparable from the panama hat he was never seen without. Cartier pays tribute to this stylish accessory by using a made-to-measure Panama-weave strap.

Size: 43.5 x 31.4mm
Thickness: 7.3mm
Movement: manual wind 430 MC
Functions: Hours & minutes
Case: Rectangular in either steel, pink gold, yellow gold or platinum
Straps: alligator straps in green, grey, brown + panama fabric for La Demoiselle.
Availability: All limited ranging from 30 pieces to 500
Price:TBC

As with most limited editions released at Watches and Wonders this year, I always wish they made them non limited for all to enjoy. But aside from that, the La Demoiselle is my personal pick of the bunch. Great story, with historically touching design aspects. You also get an amazing watch box, travel pouch and cufflinks included, which would help sweeten the deal.

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL

The Cartier Santos-Dumont XL - Image Credit: Cartier

The Santos-Dumont XL watch reveals a completely reworked design and proportions. Its history, the purity of its lines and the beauty of its mechanical movement with manual winding make it a watch for connoisseurs.

With a contoured case, taut lines and unadorned elegance, the iconic design of the Santos-Dumont watch is enhanced in an extra-large size. In contrast to previous models, this one comes with a change of scale. On the wrist the dial is wide, generous and taut – retaining a true focus on style and essential elements. The finesse of the case and the level of sophistication remain the same – from the sword shaped hands to the beaded winding crown, from the sunray satin-finished dial to the case back engraved with the initials S=D, the signature of Alberto Santos-Dumont.

Size: 46.6 x 33.9mm
Thickness: 7.5mm
Movement: manual wind 430 MC
Functions: Hours & minutes
Case: Rectangular in either steel, pink gold or pink gold and steel
Straps: alligator straps in grey, blue and black
Price: $5,850 for steel, $8,100 for pink gold and steel, $15,600 for pink gold

Cartier has been very busy with the Santos, developing the work that was started last year on these (once again) modern looking pieces. I’m very happy to see we now have mechanical movements in these watches as last year we only have quartz models. The curved cases on these are beautiful and I’d love to see them in person. $5,850 for the steel model seems extremely good for this piece...

Final thoughts on Cartier

The Cartier Santos-Dumont XL - Image Credit: Cartier

Cartier is one of only a few watch brands who have such a fascinating and endless relevancy to the watch industry. They have an eclectic mix of collections that are equally important to horology as they are unique and beautiful. Watches and Wonders 2020 showed us once again how Cartier continues to evolve this rich history with models that consistently ensure the relevance of Cartier continues to live on.