We show­case the best of this year’s Salon In­ter­na­tional de la Haute Hor­logerie from Geneva

Cartier hon­ours the her­itage of San­tos and un­veils a true rev­e­la­tion, writes STEPHANIE IP

#Legend - - SPY CAM -


IT MIGHT OF­TEN be over­shad­owed by the Tank, but the Cartier San­tos, which has been given a mas­sive up­date this year, has a much longer his­tory. Back in 1904, when pocket watches were still all the rage, leg­endary aviator Al­berto San­tos-Du­mont ap­proached Louis Cartier about cre­at­ing a time­piece that he could strap onto his wrist so he could check the time while still fly­ing his air­craft with both hands. The re­sult­ing time­piece was the San­tosDu­mont – not only did the watch come with the un­con­ven­tional square bezel, it was also re­garded by many as the first pur­pose-built mod­ern wrist­watch for men. The San­tos de Cartier went on to be­come one of Cartier’s most in­flu­en­tial col­lec­tions, al­though with the launch of the Pan­thère and the cel­e­bra­tion of the Tank’s 100th an­niver­sary just last year, the San­tos took a bit of a back seat.

This year, Cartier is putting the fo­cus back on the San­tos de Cartier col­lec­tion with a few mod­ern touches. The new up­dates in­clude equip­ping the watch with a sleeker and more er­gonomic case for com­fort of wear. In ad­di­tion, on the bezel, the eight vis­i­ble screws are bet­ter aligned to flow seam­lessly from the lugs to the straps and the bracelets. The big­gest up­date of all is the in­cor­po­ra­tion of the pa­tented Quick­Switch sys­tem, which al­lows the wearer to switch out their bracelets and straps with ease, all with the click of a hid­den but­ton on the strap. Not only this, Cartier also came up with a patent-pend­ing mech­a­nism called the SmartLink for use on its metal bracelets. A San­tos wearer can now eas­ily re­size their metal bracelets by click­ing on a but­ton on each metal link to add and re­move links, in­stead of tra­di­tion­ally us­ing watch tools to do so.

The new Cartier San­tos de Cartier is of­fered in two sizes – medium ( 35.1mm by 41.9mm) and large ( 39.8mm by 47.5mm) – and

comes with metal op­tions in­clud­ing stain­less steel, pink gold and yel­low gold, as well as a two-tone model with a steel bracelet and a yel­low gold bezel. In­side, the move­ment is Cartier’s self-wind­ing cal­i­bre 1847 MC (which de­notes the year the brand was es­tab­lished), with the large ver­sion fea­tur­ing an ad­di­tional date dis­play. All of them are water-re­sis­tant to 10 bars (100 me­tres) and boast a power re­serve of 42 hours.

In ad­di­tion, Cartier also re­leased a skele­tonised ver­sion of the larger San­tos model, which is pow­ered by the man­u­al­wind­ing cal­i­bre 9619 MC, and is avail­able in pink gold and stain­less steel. This is the first time the maison has cased a skele­tonised move­ment in steel, but it goes to show that Cartier is lis­ten­ing to cus­tomer de­mands – we’re pretty sure this model will be on many a col­lec­tor’s wish list.

And then of course, there are the watches made to im­press. We’ve seen a lot of world-firsts and new records this year, but noth­ing quite com­pares to see­ing the Cartier Révéla­tion d’Une Pan­thère. If you wanted to see magic, this is it.

The fo­cus of the Révéla­tion is on the dial. The lac­quer dial it­self is un­marked and there are no hour mark­ers apart from the Cartier logo at 12 o’clock. Sus­pended over the dial, how­ever, are tiny gold beads that float in a liq­uid be­tween the sap­phire glass and the dial. When you hold up the watch, the beads tum­ble across the dial to re­veal the mag­nif­i­cent head of a pan­ther, just for a fleet­ing mo­ment, un­til the beads reach the other end of the dial and dis­perse.

Ex­tremely fas­ci­nat­ing to play with, the Révéla­tion took Cartier five years to de­velop and the maison holds two patents for the time­piece. The watch comes in three ver­sions: green, red or black lac­quer di­als, with the green and red ver­sions limited to 100 in­di­vid­u­ally num­bered pieces. All of them mea­sure 37mm, and are cased in 18K pink gold with a bezel set with bril­liant-cut di­a­monds. In­side the watch beats the man­u­ally wound cal­i­bre 430.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Cartier with­out a few high jew­ellery watches. This year’s Li­bre col­lec­tion takes on the clas­sic Baig­noire model, but gives the oval case shape a mod­ern twist. The five ref­er­ences in the col­lec­tion in­clude the Baig­noire Débor­dante, Baig­noire In­finie, Baig­noire Étoilée, Baig­noire In­ter­dite and Crash Radieuse. Go­ing be­yond the tra­di­tional oval-shaped watch, each of the styles is a new re-in­ter­pre­ta­tion and a dis­rup­tion of the shape. Each of the five en­tirely new watches is a limited edi­tion.

The el­e­gant Débor­dante fea­tures rings of open­worked white gold set with di­a­monds and black spinels around the oval an­thracite dial. The open­worked gold is so del­i­cate that it looks al­most lace-like. This ref­er­ence is limited to only 50 pieces. The In­finie is another beau­ti­ful piece that, with a ra­di­at­ing bezel, is rem­i­nis­cent of the watches from the Roar­ing Twen­ties. The dial it­self is more round than oval, but comes with a con­cen­tric pat­tern made with di­a­monds, Tahi­tian mother-of­pearl and black spinels. This watch is limited to only 20 pieces.

The Étoilée is another el­e­gant watch that fea­tures the oval with the elon­gated ends ex­tend­ing to the sides, rather than the top and bot­tom. The black dial is tex­tured, and sur­rounded by di­a­monds on the top half of the bezel and black spinels on the lower half of the bezel. The multi-stranded bracelet is again open­worked, and fea­tures di­a­monds on the top half and black spinels on the lower half. Only 12 time­pieces are avail­able.

The next two are the slightly wilder creations. First, the In­ter­dite comes with a di­a­mond-set bezel with a white oval dial, over which thick rib­bons of glossy black ADLC wrap around the watch face. Fit­ted on the sur­re­al­ist watch is a white satin bracelet. And last but not least, the Cartier Crash – an iconic and very much col­lectible watch. The Crash Radieuse fea­tures the un­usual dial shape and warped con­cen­tric cir­cles on the dial that are printed over the Ro­man nu­mer­als. This is the only watch in the Li­bre col­lec­tion that isn’t pow­ered by a quartz move­ment; in­side beats the man­ual-wound cal­i­bre 8970 MC. Both watches are limited to just 50 pieces.

Below: Pan­thère Hyp­nose pen­dant watch

Clockwise from left: Clé de Cartier straw mar­quetry watch; Ronde Louis Cartier wood and gold leaf mar­quetry watch; Ro­tonde de Cartier Mys­te­ri­ous Day & Night

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