CARTIER The Key To Elegance

In the old days, pocket watches and clocks were required a key to be wound until the invention of the crown for winding the movement. The pocket watches therefore had a keyhole at the caseback at the time. The winding key and pocket watch once worked as a team. Cartier this year gets back the good old friend of watches and presents a remarkable rectangular-shaped crown, as a nostalgic reminder of the winding key.

Cartier, the jewellery emperor, is also well-known for its wristwatches. Having over a hundred of years of watchmaking history behind them, the Maison has created scores of classic and popular collections, not to mention their recent complications. They have been hailed as one of the greatest brand of designing cases, each boasts an instantly recognisable contour. Just have a look of the above picture. It is not hard to distinguish the watches from different collections. The left one is no doubt the Santos introduced in 1904 (available in market in 1911). Its case is square with rounded corners. The second left is the Tank designed by Louis Cartier in 1917. The Maison in 2007 created the Ballon Bleu with its crown decorated by a blue sapphire cabochon, an eye-catching and iconic hallmark of the watch. The irregularly-shaped Crash is another sought-after series to women.

Since the release of the Ballon Bleu and Calibre de Cartier, the Maison unveiled the brand new collection Cle de Cartier (the word “Cle” in French means key), named after its rectangular crown and the crown itself is embedded with a blue sapphire to reference the iconic Cartier cabochon. The watch is not only bestowed the ground-breaking shape of crown, but also an exceptional case shape. The case with gently arching lugs is neither circular nor square, lending the watch a refined ergonomic line that sits perfectly on the wrist. In addition, the rectangular crown is slightly curved towards the case which leaves the harmonious lines unaffected. Both the details and overall impression are very luxurious.

Cle de Cartier Flying Tourbillon

In this year’s SIHH, Cartier surprised us with the new collection, the Cle de Cartier and showed us over 10 versions in a wide variety of sizes and case materials. We experienced the distinctive lines and tried to turn the unique crown to set the time, closely similar to the traditional method of turning a key. And the feeling was quite different from turning a common round crown. Though we were presented merely the timepieces with simple functions at the fair, its shape already won our favour.

As Watches&Wonders is around the corner, the Maison creates another “key” watch (pun intended), the Cle de Cartier Flying Tourbillon to present in the show. This very first complication of the collection features a C-shaped second hand and tourbillon hovering at 6 o’clock. The piece shows off the sparkle of diamonds by embellished 478 diamonds (3.56 carats) on the case, lugs and crown, paired with a blue alligator strap which synchronised the colour tone of the blue steel hands and Roman numeral indices. We expect this tourbillon watch is a prelude to the intricate complication. Just imagine how interesting to adjust a perpetual calendar by the rectangular crown. It is also worth mentioning that the Cle family is available exclusively in gold cases. This tourbillon reference is cased in white gold.

Case:white gold
Movement:hand-wound 9452MC
Power reserve:50 hours
Price:to be confirmed

Cle de Cartier on men

The aforementioned Cle de Cartier Flying Tourbillon is perhaps so dazzling to examine the smooth and refined lines. So the previous double-page spread should give you a full picture of the outline of the Cle. The watch features a round dial and cushion-like case. With the curved lugs welding to the case, the elegant contour along the lugs to the crown underscores the distinctive shape. While the slightly raised bezel produces a multi-layer construction, all the layers are nicely polished.

A case is usually, if not always, round or square; yet, we rarely see a non-round crown until the Cle. The first question you may want to ask is how’s the operation of a rectangular crown. At first it might feel a bit odd to turn something rectangular. Probably a matter of getting used to. In fact, its turn-and-lock action is simple, swift, precise, and fun actually. Speaking of mechanism, the Cle de Cartier comes with the new 1847 automatic calibre. You can admire the mechanical heartbeat through the sapphire crystal caseback. The 40mm piece boasts a inner circle with guilloche pattern and give you a choice of either pink gold or white gold case, marring with bracelet or alligator strap. When it comes to design and aesthetic, the Cle is a highly recognisable dress watch. And it does have the potential to become another anchor of the Maison.

Case:white gold or rose gold
Movement:automatic 1847MC
Power reserve:42 hours




Cle de Cartier on women

The Cle de Cartier, like the Santos, Tank, Ballon Bleu all, is a unisex watch designed for both men and women. The cushion-shaped Cle arouses as much admiration on women’s wrist. Plus, the key-shaped crown is more than just a story; it is a fascinating little piece of novel design to women.

This beautiful piece is available in 3 versions to suit all preferences: 40mm, 35mm and 31mm, each provides diamond-set bezel or full-paved diamond models for different occasions. The two versions in larger size house also the 1847MC calibre and the Maison has released 18 editions for women to pick their favourite ones.

Case:white gold or rose gold
Movement:automatic 1847MC
Power reserve:42 hours

Cle de Cartier 31mm

Cle de Cartier 35mm

Cle de Cartier 40mm