It’s not many sleeps until Christmas, and the spirit of the season has well and truly taken over in the Time+Tide office, and – as so often happens – our idle speculation has turned to watches. Specifically, Cartier’s watches. So, in the spirit of the season, we’ve done a quick whip-around as to what watch we might find ensconced in a red and gold box under the tree. Assuming, of course, that we’ve been nice this year. Andy’s choice – the Santos de Cartier in pink gold You have to wish big when it comes to Christmas, so why not the Santos de Cartier watch in pink gold? I love the freshness of the crisp white dial, against the gentle warmth of the pink gold. At $52,500 AUD it makes for a reasonably priced full gold watch, with the reliable in-house 1847 MC movement. Justin’s choice – the Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat in steel Easy choice, such an easy choice. The Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat in steel was an immediate home run when it launched. The elegant dial and thin case pairing makes it the perfect daily wear for dressy situations, yet it can still pass as a more casual… Read More
A little while ago I made my way down to Cartier’s Collins Street boutique in Melbourne, spent a little time amidst the glittering plinths and picked out some watches that, for me at least, really epitomise what makes the Maison’s watchmaking so great. Of course there are numerous shapes in attendance, from the circle of the Ballon Bleu through to the bold rectangles of the Tank. Really, though, the common thread through these eight watches is the overall strength of design, and the timelessness of it. All eight of these watches — regardless of shape, case metal and even complications — are classics, in the truest sense of the word. And that’s what makes them great.
In order to think about the best women’s watches, we must first ask ourselves: “What is a women’s watch?” At Cartier, the answer is particularly interesting: as the Maison’s 100+ years of watches has been taken a particularly fluid approach to their collections, with models like the Tank or the Tortue being equally well-suited to male or female wrists, a notion that seems particularly modern and in line with a singularly French (even Parisian) notion of elegance. And so, the question of “the best” of Cartier’s women’s watches is, above all, a question of which sizes will fit a smaller, feminine wrist, rather than which ones are categorised as “women’s”. The trouble is that leaves us too spoilt for choice. So, rather than attempting to define “best”, here are the watches that I will buy when Santa slips a Cartier voucher called “Pick any Six” down the chimney – one from each of Cartier’s greatest collections. My choices are, inevitably, subjective, so I will endeavour to explain my reasons for each one. BALLON BLEU 33MM IN STEEL Given how quickly it comes to mind when we say “Cartier watch”, it’s hard to believe that the Ballon Bleu is barely more… Read More
While you can make an argument for one-watch-per-purpose (a watch for work, weekend, formal occasions, etc), I personally think that versatility is the key to a good watch. Luckily, versatility is something the Santos has in spades, which you might find surprising given that, on the face of it, the Santos de Cartier is a rectangular watch with a white, Roman-numeralled dial. But this latest watch has been designed with maximum user-friendliness in mind. Not only does the watch come equipped with QuickSwitch and SmartLink systems for changing your strap and resizing your bracelet on the go, each watch also comes with two straps, and is offered in a range of sizes and plenty of case variants. So whether it’s work or play, there’s a Santos for you. In case you still don’t believe us, here’s how to break the Santos de Cartier down, for four dress codes. The formal Santos Let’s start at the top. Dressing formally can cover a lot of stylistic ground: it could be a wedding (royal or otherwise), or perhaps some sort of grandiose gala (Met or otherwise). And while the finer points of the dress code might vary, the purpose of your watch remains… Read More
Last week we had a look at the ‘regular’ version of Cartier’s updated Santos, and today the less-is-more Skeleton is under our lens. To be specific, we’re talking about the large steel model (though there’s a pink gold version as well), which comes on the QuickSwitch and SmartLink equipped steel bracelet, replete with those prominent screws — you also get an additional alligator strap, allowing you to change your look should the fancy take you. So far, so standard for the new Santos. But what’s special here is the dial, or lack thereof, as you would expect. The manually wound 9611MC movement has been designed from the ground up as a skeleton movement, a process that means the architecture has been designed for maximum visual impact — the bridges have taken the form of Cartier’s iconic exploding Roman numerals; a pleasing blend of negative space and mechanics. And while the stripped-back style of the skeletonised Santos might not be to all tastes, it’s an important skill in Cartier’s history, and there’s no faulting the execution here.
Few watches can rival Cartier’s Santos in terms of on-the-wrist recognition and sheer weight of history. The design debuted in 1904 and has remained fundamentally unchanged in form since. But while the new Santos might look familiar, quite a lot has changed. Small changes have been made to the design and ergonomics of the case, resulting in a watch that looks and wears better on the wrist. Bigger changes have been made to the inside, with an in-house movement upgrade and, most excitingly of all, a new QuickSwitch strap change system that allows you to swap your strap quickly and painlessly. This is something I’d be really excited to see rolled out more widely across the Cartier collection. On a related note, there’s a similar functionality for the bracelet, allowing you to add and remove links without tools. These changes on their own are all fairly incremental, but package them up together, on a design as strong as this, and the Santos suddenly becomes a very compelling proposition.
Disclaimer: This post contains minimal traces of watch. But it does contain some very large diamonds. Ocean’s 8, the latest in the long-running series of elaborate heist movies, is about to hit our screens, but this time around the film is less of a bro session, as Clooney, Pitt et al. have been benched in favour of an all female crew, with Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett masterminding the (inevitably convoluted) caper. The object of their attention is a fairly pricey necklace, worn by Anne Hathaway. And here’s where things get interesting. This necklace, named the “Jeanne Toussaint” necklace, is made by Cartier, who happen to be the film’s exclusive jewellery partner, so some scenes were filmed in the brand’s New York boutiques, and Cartier watches (pro-tip for the watchspotters), jewellery and high jewellery items have their own supporting roles. The prop necklace was made in less than eight weeks by Cartier’s Parisian high jewellery workshops, from white gold with zirconium oxide for the diamonds. What I particularly like about this necklace, though, is the backstory. The necklace takes its name from Jeanne Toussaint, Cartier’s Creative Director during the 1930s, and is credited with being significant in establishing Cartier’s visual… Read More
The story in a second: A lot of value for not a lot of case. Though “perceived value” has become the new marketing-speak of the last couple of years in the watch industry, there still aren’t that many brands in the luxury watch industry that have taken any real significant strides. Sure, we’ve seen prices nudge their way down from Zenith through to Bell & Ross, but in my opinion these moves have been more about correcting past price creep rather than delivering greater bang-for-your-buck than what’s already been on the market. Of all the players at the big table, I never imagined it’d be Cartier leading the real value charge, but in the case of the Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra Flat in steel this is precisely the case. Great design, a killer hand-wound calibre, and an unrivalled (for the dollar) case profile all make this new release a home run, especially now it’s being offered in non-precious metals. When the first white gold and rose gold models were announced in 2017 there was a hefty outcry from the industry’s media dying for a steel offering to be added, and clearly there was enough marketing data to back it… Read More