Among luxury connoisseurs, the name Cartier is likely to conjure images of sumptuous jewels and classic 20th-century wristwatch designs, à la the iconic Santos and Tank models. But until recently, aficionados of fine watchmaking had to look elsewhere to find timepieces worthy of their interest.
That changed in 2008 when Cartier debuted its Fine Watchmaking Collection. The designs aimed for the horological stars with complicated wonders of timekeeping, such as the Rotonde de Cartier Astroregulateur and Mysterious Double Tourbillon watches.
Now, Cartier has combined its twin pursuits—a longstanding association with fine design and the more recent exploration of fine watchmaking—within the new Drive de Cartier collection of cushion-shaped men’s pieces powered by in-house movements.
Unveiled at Geneva’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in January, the collection borrows its aesthetic from the automotive world. Note the guilloche dial, styled to resemble a car’s radiator grille, and the bolt-shaped winding crown. At its core, Drive de Cartier watches are sophisticated, easy-to-wear men’s designs that build on the brand’s rich tradition of creating distinctively shaped timepieces.
“Cartier has created a shaped watch of an elegant pedigree, whose lines construct a modern signature style,” says Arnaud Carrez, international marketing and communication director at Cartier. “Drive is the perfect example of our vision of masculine style.”
Indeed, he has a point. The handsome 40 mm × 41 mm model received a seemingly universal thumbs-up upon its introduction at SIHH for both its well-built mechanics, visible through a transparent caseback, and its winning, versatile looks. The piece is thin enough to wear as a dress style, yet not too refined for a casual weekend jaunt.
In addition, the 1904 MC manufacture movement comes in two versions: the 1904-PS MC, displaying the hours, minutes, small seconds, and date; and the 1904-FU MC, featuring a second time-zone display, day-night indicator, large date, and small seconds. For watch lovers seeking something a little showier, the collection also includes the Drive de Cartier Flying Tourbillon ($89,500)—fitted with the calibre 9452 MC manual, mechanical movement and certified with the prestigious Poinçon de Genève.
Drive de Cartier will be available in May, in two editions: an attractively priced stainless steel ($6,250 for the white dial; $6,500 for black) and 18-karat pink gold ($19,300 for the white dial; $19,600 for black). (cartier.us)