The Skeleton Key
THIS YEAR, THREE NEW SKELETONISED WATCHES HIGHLIGHT CARTIER’S EXPERTISE IN WATCHMAKING ARTISTRY AND INNOVATION
With an eye to being inventive and bold, Cartier’s Fine Watchmaking division has grown over the last few years, introducing 29 movements including a number of interesting horological complications. Never losing sight of its heritage and the design codes which has made the brand famous, it nevertheless has managed to play with tradition and create exciting new pieces that fans of the brand and watch collectors have enjoyed.
This year, the brand turns its attention to the skeletonised movement, launching three pieces over the year that highlight the intricacies of the style, but also its adaptability to different cases and shapes. Since the 1930s when skeletonised movements first began to appear, the Maison has pioneered the art form and this year, has brought to life three innovative pieces.
Launched at this year’s Watches and Wonders in Hong Kong, the Pasha de Cartier 42mm Skeleton Dragon Motif combines inspired creativity and ancient Chinese legends into one intricate, elegant calibre. In honour of the brand’s first links to China which were
established in 1888, this piece introduces the calibre 9617 MC with manual winding carved with the shape of a dragon and set with 233 diamonds and a marquise- cut tsavorite on the front. Entirely visible through the sapphire caseback, the intricate dragon is a beautiful sight to behold.
The dragon is set in the Pasha de Cartier, one of the Maison’s classic models, which was inspired by a round wristwatch introduced to the Cartier collection in 1943. Known for its round case and screw- down crown cap attached to the case by a small chain, the Pasha watch is a classic model. The new Pasha de Cartier 42mm Skeleton Dragon Motif is a jewellery version of this piece with the case set with brilliantcut diamonds and a black alligator strap.
Also launched this year at January’s SIHH, the new Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton watch also plays on the concept of the skeleton watch, combining the elegant but strong aesthetics of the iconic Tank watch with a series of “weightless circles” that make up the skeleton movement.
Created back in 1917, the Tank is known for its case, which aligns with the size and shape of the strap, creating a strong bracelet- shape that sits smoothly on the wrist. It blends both modernity and classical elements. The new Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton is both a new development for the Tank and skeletonised movement as the movement features a patent- pending transparent plate, which uses sapphire crystal and features adjoining circles of metal that appear to float in the air. Measuring 30mm in diametre, the watch is a subtle balance between form and technical skill.
The second skeletonised Tank launched at this year’s SIHH was the Tank MC TwoTone Skeleton, a masculine timepiece that features the Maison’s first two- toned version of the calibre 9611 MC. With imposing signature bridges and oversized Roman numerals II, VI, IX and XII which structure the movement, the watch feels big in personality. The two- tone treatment accentuates this with the black areas highlighting the technical nature of the movement and its number cut- outs, while the fine gold covers the angles of the calibre to match the case and highlight the traditional chamfering that is carried out by hand in the tradition of fine watchmaking.
Pasha de Cartier 42mm Skeleton Dragon Motif
Tank MC Two-tone Skeleton and Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton