Cartier is the master of the remaster. Its most iconic collections were created anywhere from 1907 to 2007, and have continuously evolved to remain relevant. The secret to this strategy is to begin with a great design that lends itself to interpretation and variation without detracting from its basic codes. This year, Cartier applies the formula to the Pasha, Ballon Bleu and Privé with new colors, metals, gem applications and eco-friendly technology.
The Pasha, originally launched in 1985, was rebooted last year, and this year’s new models demonstrate the incredible versatility of the Pasha’s design. There are two new sizes: a 30mm and a 41mm chronograph, a sizing spread that only a truly unisex collection can justify. (Last year’s relaunch was 35mm). There are steel and gold versions of the chrono, which is distinctive for its large rotating bezel and protruding, cabochon-capped pushers. Not only do these elements add volume but, along with the signature art deco font, make this chronograph almost more elegant than sporty. The 30mm quartz version adds diamonds and color to the mix, and takes the Pasha back to what it was in the ’80s, a powerful fashion statement with a dedicated female customer base. It’s been given a QuickSwitch strap system that allows for a choice of colors, ranging from burgundy and fuchsia to grey and navy or a gold or steel link bracelet. The bezel of the gold version can be set with 42 diamonds. There are also newly minted two-tone gold and steel versions in 41, 35 and 33mm sizes, which reflect the overall watch industry’s emerging return to two-tone.
Few watch collections run the gamut from chronograph to high jewelry, but Pasha’s versatile design makes it work. The new jeweled Pashas, for example, offer a particularly dramatic representation of Cartier’s signature panther motif. Dials in either closed or openworked versions feature plates and bridges set with diamonds in a panther head outline with emerald eyes. There are two fully paved versions on bracelets, one set with 25 carats of baguette diamonds.
The Ballon Bleu, first launched in 2007, has been created in both gold, steel, and as a calendar, a flying tourbillon, a metiers piece with a straw marquetry dial, a jeweled watch and a moon phase. This year it is dressed in dazzling new dial colors, including rose gold, ice blue, grey and blue. The Ballon Blanc – with a diamond rather than a sapphire winding crown integrated into the case – comes in a new 26mm version with navy calf leather straps and diamond bezels.
Finally, Cartier revives the Tank Must, an icon first introduced in 1917 that has been interpreted in myriad variations over the years from entry level to high complication. Cartier has reworked the design of the Tank Must to include new colored dials with matching straps in burgundy, green and blue, and as a venue for the introduction of a new movement technology called photovoltaic.
The technology involves creating perforations in the dial through the Roman numerals that solar energy to reach the photovoltaic cells hidden under the dial. It took two years for Cartier to develop it, along with what it calls the SolarBeat movement, which has an average lifespan of 16 years. Cartier also developed new straps for the model that are composed of about 40% plant matter, produced using waste from apples grown for the food industry in Europe, an ecological alternative to calfskin. The straps will be rolled out across Cartier collections in the future.