Change the World: Cartier Presents Big Updates to the Privé, Santos-Dumont, and Baignoire Collections at Watches & Wonders 2023
Transformed through the prism of creativity, three of the maison’s signature collections get timely updates.
We always look forward to Cartier’s presentation at Watches & Wonders because the brand never fails to come prepared with a rare mix of iconic heritage pieces and fantastical designs. And even though the brand has tremendous name recognition in the luxury world, Cartier also has economically attainable models.
As always, Cartier presented a bunch of options at Watches & Wonders 2023, and from entry-level to opulent, we love them all. But today, we’re focusing on three signature collections: the Privé, the Santos-Dumont, and the Baignoire.
Cartier’s official brand history references the maison’s quality and timelessness. And in the last decade, watchmakers have been digging deep into their archives to build brand awareness. Cartier, of course, does heritage a little differently.
To wit: every year, the brand adds a rare watch to its Cartier Privé collection. And this year, Cartier Privé is revealing its seventh collection in this series: the Tank Normale.
Created in 1917 by Louis Cartier and launched two years later, the Tank is one of the most recognizable creations in watchmaking history. So, for 2023, the brand is adding to the Tank’s horological bona fides with seven heavenly new editions, including three skeletonized models with a 24-hour complication marked by a sun and crescent moon.
In practice, that means while the minute hand turns around the dial in one hour, as per usual, the hour hand takes 24 hours to make a complete revolution instead of 12. As a result, the daytime hours are on the upper half of the dial around the stylized sun, and the nighttime hours surround the skeletonized moon on the lower half.
You’d think these complications might render the Tank unrecognizable, but Cartier has craftily kept the Tank’s most iconic design codes, using the proportions and beveled sapphire crystal of the original. And overall, these additions to the collection also feature emblematic touches such as blued hands, a cabochon on the winding crown, and, on the non-skeletonized, hour/minute versions of the Tank Normale, railroad tracks and a secret signature.
The hour/minute Tank Normale also pays homage to the many iterations of this rectangular watch. So, in tribute to the disco days, these new hour/minute models are available in yellow gold on either an alligator strap or a yellow gold bracelet or in platinum on a black alligator strap or a platinum bracelet. The bracelets are also satin and polished finished, evoking a very 1970s spirit.
The skeletonized Privé Tank Normale is limited to 50 numbered pieces and comes in two versions: a yellow gold model on a brown and green alligator strap with a blue sapphire cabochon on the winding crown and a platinum iteration on a burgundy and grey alligator strap with a ruby cabochon.
Meanwhile, an even more limited edition (only 20 numbered pieces) of the skeletonized model is set with brilliant-cut diamonds and presented on an alligator strap in two shades of blue.
The Santos-Dumont Squelette
After the Tank, the sleek, elegant Santos-Dumont (first launched in 1904) is Cartier’s most beloved watch. That being said, the maison is not afraid to mess with success. So, this year, the brand is outfitting the Santos-Dumont with a new, specially developed 9629 MC automatic skeleton calibre.
The Santos-Dumont is a perfect case study of how a classic watch can evolve. This timepiece basically ushered in the age of the wristwatch and, stylistically, is defined by details such as its visible screws, beaded crown, and blue cabochon - all nods to the aircraft and needs of pioneering aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont.
In 2019, Cartier paid tribute to the pilot by reimagining the Santos de Cartier with a skeletonized movement (the calibre 9611 MC) that included a miniaturized functional oscillating weight in the shape of the trailblazer’s plane, the Demoiselle.
Now after almost two years of development, the Santos-Dumont models for 2023 get the skeleton treatment with a new micro-rotor calibre comprised of 212 components. But not only that, but Cartier has also updated the livery of this machine.
Available in two non-limited versions made from rose gold and steel, the limited edition version of the new Santos-Dumont Squelette Micro-Rotor watch comes in yellow gold with all the details – the bezel, case, and skeleton bridges – having been decorated with a rich blue, hand-applied lacquer.
The Baignoire has seen many incarnations over its 100-plus-year lifetime. But its sculptural, elliptical case is currently having a moment among enthusiasts. So, this year, recognizing the renewed popularity, Cartier updated its Baignoire collection with a change of scale and function.
Specifically, the 2023 Baignoire is playing with proportions. For example, the Baignoire’s signature oval dial now rests in a thicker gold “tub.” Meanwhile, the case is also more ergonomic, with a bezel designed to slip under cuffs by sitting as close to the wrist as possible.
Finally, the curved case of this next-gen Baignoire is available in warm rose gold, yellow gold, or fully paved with diamonds. And, in a nod to its Art Deco origins, it is presented on a black varnished leather strap.
Release dates and prices were not available at press time. For more information, visit the Cartier website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)