Five of the best watches from Cartier in 2023 Five of the best watches from Cartier in 2023

Five of the best watches from Cartier in 2023

Zach Blass

With Cartier having such a strong 2022, I confess I was worried the Maison could not keep up their incredible momentum. While there was not necessarily a horological mega-flex like the Masse Mystérieuse, Cartier once again delivered a strong year of novelties – continuing to showcase their mastery of shapes and mastery of watchmaking inside and out. Here are five of the best Cartier watches of 2023.

Cartier Privé Tank Normale

The seventh entry into the rare Privé collection, succeeding the Crash, Tank Cintrée, Tonneau, the Tank Asymétrique, Cloche, and Tank Chinoise, the return of the original 1917 Tank design from Louis Cartier does not seem like a major development to the uninitiated. In fact, out of its context, it can seem like a rather boring novelty. But with vintage Cartier gaining more and more traction on the auction block, to have the OG Tank design represented to the world in a manner that has one foot fully in the past with its faithful proportions – and another foot in the modern era with a bevelled sapphire crystal and modern manually-wound calibre – was a big deal for purists and brand VIPs.

The yellow gold configuration is explicitly clear-cut luxury, it looks very expensive and elegant from a mile away. But the platinum model is, in my opinion, the ultimate stealth-wealth flex – and one I was really drawn to. I would have loved to take the platinum Normale home with me after Watches & Wonders 2023, particularly on the matching bracelet. The only thing that could have made this release even better would be a set of blued Breguet hands.

Brand Cartier
Model Privé Tank Normale
Case Dimensions 25.7mm (D) x 32.6 (LTL)
Case Material 18K yellow gold or platinum 950
Water Resistance 30m
Dial White with blued hands
Crystal Sapphire crystal
Bracelet/Strap Normale: Leather strap with ardillon buckle or case-matching bracelet
Movement Normale: Manually wound calibre 070
Power Reserve 38 hours
Functions Hours, minutes
Availability Limited editions: 200 pieces on strap, 100 pieces on bracelet
Price Upon request

Cartier Santos de Cartier Green Dial

This year, the Santos de Cartier collection expanded its colour range with a new smoked green dial. Previously limited to white, black, and blue (and the blue was only available in the large size), Cartier introduced the green dial in both medium and larger sizes – and the blue finally arrived in the medium size as well. Is a new dial colour really such a revelation? Perhaps not. But, the Santos de Cartier framework is an incredibly strong luxury-daily wear framework.

With its upgraded 100m water-resistant case and interchangeable bracelet (and even link) system, there is little anyone would ask Cartier to change about this range. Yes, the bezel is known to be a bit of a scratch-magnet. But this is the concession of polished metal, and I cannot imagine this watch without this element. The new dial colour expanded a go-to range for those approaching Cartier watches, and I hope Cartier continues to expand the colour palette further. Smoked red for 2024? That would be an absolute banger.

Brand Cartier
Model Santos de Cartier
Case Dimensions 39.8mm x 47.5mm (Large) / 35.1mm x 41.9mm (Medium)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100m
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Smoky Green
Strap Steel bracelet
Movement Calibre 1847 MC
Power Reserve 42 hours
Availability Available now
Price €6,350 (medium), €6,950 (large)

Cartier Santos Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor Limited Edition

After the watch community was smitten with the three lacquered-case editions of the Santos Dumont watches from 2022, I, like many others, was particularly drawn to the beige-lacquered pink gold limited edition. Cartier, however, would step things up a notch with a new Santos Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor trio in 2023.  The watches are a technical and aesthetic tribute to Alberto Santos-Dumont, and use their newly developed 9629 MC automatic skeleton calibre with a micro-rotor in the shape of a replica of the Demoiselle, Santos-Dumont’s pioneering ultralight aircraft.

All of the watches have lacquered channels on their openworked bridges – with stainless steel, rose gold, and yellow gold versions – but the sole limited edition model of the three stood out the most with its yellow gold case covered in navy lacquer on the front. This model felt like a continuation of the lacquered trio from 2022, having the same exhibition of external mastery while also flexing Cartier’s movement development.

Brand Cartier
Model Santos Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor
Case Dimensions 31mm (D) x 8mm (T) x 43.5mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel, rose gold, or navy-lacquered yellow gold
Water Resistance 30m
Dial Skeleton, with case-tone matching and lacquered bridges
Crystal Sapphire crystal and caseback
Bracelet/Strap Alligator-skin leather strap with case matching ardillon buckle
Stainless steel: Grey and blue leather straps
Rose gold: Burgundy and brown leather straps
Yellow gold: Blue and dark blue leather straps
Movement Cartier automatic skeleton 9629 MC
Power Reserve 44 hours
Functions Hours, minutes
Availability Available now for inquiries; navy-lacquered yellow gold model limited to 150 pcs.
Price €27,900 (steel); €36,400 (rose gold); €37,500 (yellow gold)

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier Mosaic Collection

A homage to the Tank Must de Cartier dials of the ’70s, Cartier presented two distinct mosaic patterns that offered quite striking and groovy aesthetics, which have a sort of glamorous disco flair. The yellow gold model above (right) utilizes a squared-tiling pattern for its mosaic motif, with white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold, in that order, sort of exploding into one another and creating a gradient of sorts evenly. The rose gold model (left), has a brick-layered look that heavily emphasises the yellow and rose gold hues with accents of white gold.

I strongly believe that the Must de Cartier era, while a seemingly failed experiment at the time, should continue to be revived – or refreshed rather. Perhaps not 1:1 recreations, but with people now favouring some of these vintage designs I think it would be wise to continue to leverage their foundations into new designs for the current market.

Brand Cartier
Model Tank Louis Cartier
Case Dimensions 25.5mm (D) x 6.6mm (T) x 33.7mm (LTL)
Case Material Yellow gold, rose gold
Water Resistance 30m
Dial Tri-gold finished mosaic
Crystal Sapphire crystal
Bracelet/Strap Leather strap with ardillon buckle
Movement Manually wound calibre 1917 MC
Power Reserve 38 hours
Functions Hours, minutes
Availability Available now
Price US$14,400

Cartier Clash Baignoire

Cartier Baignoire

A design introduced in 1912, the Cartier Baignoire seemed to have a strong resurgence this year, with current influencers and famous figures like Emma Chamberlain and Kylie Jenner all routinely sporting variations of the watch on their wrists. Known as ‘the bathtub watch’, its oval shape again indicates Cartier’s centuries-old tradition of playing with geometries, and this year Cartier decided to double down on the oval form with an oval watch on an oval bracelet: the 2023 Cartier Clash Baignoire.

Jewellery watches may send shivers down some male watch snob’s spines, but this new Baignoire resulted in a rare phenomenon for a ‘ladies watch’. According to The New York Times in an article from September 2023, the watch – which was unveiled at the end of March 2023 and hit stores in June 2023 – immediately had waitlists and was out of stock by mid-August, with the model set to have its stock replenished in November 2023. This sort of inaccessibility at retail is typically associated with ‘men’s’ hype pieces like the Daytona, Royal Oak, and Nautilus. So the facts and figures do not lie: the new Baignoire is a certified ‘it-watch’ of 2023.

Brand Cartier
Model Clash Baignoire
Case Dimensions 24.6mm (D) x 18.7mm (W) x 7.2mm (T)
Case Material Yellow gold, rose gold
Water Resistance 30m
Dial White with blued hands
Crystal Sapphire crystal
Bracelet/Strap Gold bangle
Movement Cartier High-Efficiency Quartz
Power Reserve 8 years
Functions Hours, minutes
Availability Available now
Price US$11,800