At this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, Cartier’s 2019 novelties ranged from dazzling jewellery timepieces, reinventions of the Tonneau variations and Panthere figurative bracelet watches.
Out of the latest references, a large portion of the new collections were geared towards women. One of the biggest showstoppers was an update of Cartier’s cult classic timepiece, the Baignoire.
This unique watch was created by French watchmaker Louis Cartier in 1912. To give it a refreshing twist, he stretched out the traditional round watch to form an oblong-shape.
The design is of two straight parallel lines closed by two curves which formed the shape of a bathtub (“baignoire” in French) – hence its name.
The Baignoire showcases the power of watchmaking design hidden in ordinary form and demonstrates Cartier’s prowess in the art of watchmaking.
With its aesthetic style, the watch has carved a name as a signature piece for discerning women with an eye for timeless and chic designs.
In the 1960s, the Baignoire won over the hearts of French screen goddesses and trendsetters like Catherine Deneuve and Romy Schneider.
Did you know the limited-edition watch was featured in the an episode of TV teen series, Gossip Girl? Though a classic, the watch continues to garner a following with the current generation.
The latest Baignoire collection has been reworked by Cartier’s design studio and maintains its elegant look. Its exacting finishes strike a balance between pure design and sophisticated lines, in honour of the model born in 1958.
While the design remains unchanged, the piece itself has evolved to offer a narrower bracelet and re-designed Roman numerals on a matte silver background.
The caseback is seamlessly integrated into the case with water-resistance up to 30m and in line with modern quality standards. For an elongated version, there is the Baignoire Allongee Black and Baignoire Allongee Celadon.
These stylish timepieces are studded with precious stones such as emeralds, Paraiba tourmalines, yellow sapphires or diamonds. To pay homage to its classic heritage, the dial is paved with diamonds.
Tank Chinoise, one of Cartier’s signature watches from the 1920s, has also been given an update. To further capture the chinoiserie style, Cartier pairs the black dial with the colour red, which symbolises passion and vitality among the Chinese.
The square is lengthened to become a rectangle bordered by two lintels of calibrated rubies highlighted by black enamel. A line of diamonds adorns the ‘brancards’ (vertical sidebars) and edge.
The Panthère de Cartier Manchette and mini jewellery watches are also showstoppers in their own right. In the Manchette watch, Cartier gives emphasis to the flowing, silky bracelet of the Panthère de Cartier watch, the timeless icon at the Maison Cartier.
A partly open-worked chain reveals a glimpse of the skin and lightens the material to create a casual yet stylish piece. The mini watch may be a tad tiny but takes its form to greater heights of elegance.
Not to be missed is the revamp of the classic Panthère Figurative jewellery timepieces. A highlight is the Panthère watch, featuring yellow gold and diamonds. The design has been rendered in graphic form, with geometric black lacquer spots, taut lines and gem-set curves.
The panther’s head faces a minimalist dial, incorporated into a perspective motif that encircles the wrist.
Cartier also reintroduced the Panthère Crash watch. With diamond-paved heads and oblong dial and delicate mother-of-pearl , this watch becomes an all-new expression of its symbolic animal through jewellery art.
The Tonneau watch has also been redesigned with an hours and minutes model and skeleton dual time zone.
The collection would not be complete without the historical 1904 Santos de Cartier watches, specially crafted by Louis Cartier for his friend, aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont.
Paying homage to the historical 1904 watches, the new collection boasts elegance and simplicity. Understated, pared-down and fitted with an alligator leather strap, the new watches remain true to the elegance of the original model.
Cased in gold, gold and steel, or just steel, it features Roman numerals, visible screws, a beaded winding crown and blue cabochon which further perpetuates the heritage of this watchmaking classic.
Its unchanged square shape – reminiscent of the geometric designs popular in Paris at the time – promotes pure and symmetrical design to mirror the four sharp corners of the Eiffel Tower.
Another highlight is the Santos de Cartier chronograph watch. It has a single start/stop push button visible at 9 o’clock, with the reset function directly integrated into the crown.
Finally, there is the Santos de Cartier Skeleton Noctambule, with bridges coated with Super-LumiNova pigments that is invisible during daytime but reproduce and radiate stored light at night.