Cartier Introduces the Pasha de Cartier

A subtle but significant revamp.

As it does every couple of years, or decades, Cartier reintroduces one of its iconic wristwatches, this time the Pasha de Cartier. Launched in 1985 and a big hit in the decade after, the Pasha was Cartier’s original round-case bestseller, long before the Ballon Bleu.

Three decades on, the new Pasha makes its debut once again at Watches & Wonders 2020 as a full-fledged collection with models for both men and women, from time-only to skeleton tourbillon, as well as diamond-set versions.

Variants of the new Pasha 41 mm for men

Mysterious origins

Despite having a round case – Cartier is most famous for its shaped watches like the Tank and Santos – the Pasha is amongst the most historically-important Cartier timepieces, apparently.

Legend has it that Cartier first created a water-resistant watch in 1934 for the fabulously wealthy Pasha of Marrakesh, Thami El Glaoui, who wanted a watch he could wear while swimming. The result was one of the first-ever luxury-sports watches.

While the Parisian jeweller no doubt made a watch to fulfil the Pasha’s request, it was most likely a rectangular Tank Etanche, rather than anything resembling today’s Pasha watch.

Inspired by that tale, the modern-day Pasha was born in 1985, penned by the hand of Gerald Genta, the prolific designer whose heyday in the 1970s and 1980s saw him create a string of hits, ranging from the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak to the Bulgari Bulgari.

Genta’s creations were often avant-garde in their day, and his Pasha was no different. In contrast to the small form watches that made up the bulk of Cartier’s catalogue, the Pasha was an oddity, in shape, size, and style.

A Pasha from 1985, here with a rotating bezel

The Pasha had a water-resistant, 38 mm case – oversized for the 1980s – “Vendome” lugs, and a protective cap over the tiny crown that was attached to the case via a small chain. One version of the Pasha case had a bidirectional-rotating bezel, while the other had a fixed, smooth bezel – the version being resurrected now.

Equally unusual was the square-within-a-circle dial, which had square, railway minute track surrounded by elongated stick indices and large Arabic numerals at the quarters, which has also been transplanted onto today’s watch.

The new Pasha line-up is made up of essentially two models – the 41 mm men’s watch and the 35 mm model for ladies. Both are essentially identical in most aspects, keeping all of the key elements of the original.

Pasha 41 mm (and 35 mm)

Available in stainless steel and yellow gold, the Pasha for men measures 41 mm in diameter and 9.55 mm high, making it larger than the 1985 original but smaller than the more recent, 42 mm iteration, and perhaps the most ideal size to date. (The ladies’ model on the other hand, is 35 mm by 9.37 mm.)

While the design remains largely unchanged, there have been a couple of refinements. As before, the Pasha features a distinctive, polished bezel, but the case band is now brushed for contrast.

Versions in 41 mm (left), and 35 mm

Similar, it retains the canteen-style crown cover topped with a blue cabochon, but now the small winding crown is also fitted with a blue cabochon that’s sapphire on the precious metal models or spinel on the steel versions.

Additionally, Cartier also offers subtle personalisation: the option of having a set of initials engraved on the case, within the recess that accommodates the chain securing the crown cover.

Initials on the case

Most crucial from a practical perspective are the upgrades to the bracelet. The new Pasha features Cartier’s patented QuickSwitch and SmartLink mechanisms first introduced in the Santos two years ago. The bracelet or strap can be easily detached from the case by simply depressing a tab between the lugs.

And SmartLink allows the bracelet to be sized without any special tools; links can be easily removed or added by pushing a button on the back of each link, releasing a retaining bar.

The QuickSwitch button on the back of the bracelet

Decorated with a radial, stamped guilloche, the dial remains largely similar to the 1985 design, but again with some tweaks that leave the dial look a bit cleaner. The hands remain blued steel and lozenge-shaped, with large Arabic numbers at the quarters.

But the the stick hour markers as well as the chapter ring for the minute track are now stamped instead of printed. At the same time, the Arabic numerals are accented by a small applied marker on the edge of the dial. And the date is displayed in an angled window that echoes the alignment of the minute track.

The men’s model with the date function; the model for ladies has no date

Both the large and small Pasha models are powered by the 1847 MC, the same automatic movement found in the Cartier Santos. The 1847 MC is Cartier’s entry-level in-house movement, not particularly beautiful but a solid workhorse with above-average magnetism resistance without using any silicon components (which brands owned by luxury group Richemont are unable to utilise).

Most notably, the escapement parts of the 1847 MC are made from a nickel-phosphorus alloy, making them less susceptible to magnetism. In addition, there is a soft iron inner cage around the movement that protects it against magnetism.

Pasha Skeleton

The new line also includes two skeleton watches, starting with the 41 mm Pasha Skeleton. Conceived as an entry-level skeleton watch, the time-only open-worked Pasha is available only in steel.

As is tradition with Cartier’s current skeleton movements, the bridges of the movement are open-worked to form the hour markers, in this case Arabic numerals and baton indices.

It’s powered by the hand-wound 9624 MC, the skeletonised version of the 1904 MC, the brand’s higher-end in-house automatic (as compared to the 1847 MC). With double barrels for more linear torque over the entirety of its running time, the 9624 MC has a 50-hour power reserve.

Pasha Skeleton Tourbillon

The top-of-the-line men’s model is the Pasha Skeleton Tourbillon.

Available in pink gold or white gold set with diamonds, the Skeleton Tourbillon is equipped with the 9466 MC, a skeletonised version of the 9452 MC, derived from a Roger Dubuis calibre (which came about after Cartier’s parent company acquired Roger Dubuis in 2008).

Originally conceived as a movement bearing the Poincon de Geneve, or Geneva Seal, the calibre in its latest form no longer has the hallmark, which helps make it more affordable than the Pasha de Cartier Skeleton Flying Tourbillion of 2011, which costs almost twice as much as this. That said, the movement remains largely identical in style and mechanics, including retaining the distinctive C-shaped tourbillon cage.

Key facts and price

Pasha de Cartier 41mm
Ref. WGPA0007 (yellow gold with grey strap)
Ref. WSPA0009 (steel with bracelet)
Ref. WSPA0010 (steel with blue strap)

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 9.55 mm
Material: 18k yellow gold or steel
Water-resistance: 100 m

Movement: 1847 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Winding: Self-winding
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Bracelet or alligator strap

Availability: In boutiques and retailers from September onwards
Price: Starting at 6,300 Swiss francs, or 8,600 Singapore dollars for the steel on strap, going to 16,500 Swiss francs, or 22,900 Singapore dollars for the gold on strap

Pasha de Cartier Skeleton
Ref. WHPA0007

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 10.45 mm
Material: Steel
Water-resistance: 100 m

Movement: 9624 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Bracelet and alligator strap

Limited edition: No
Availability: In boutiques and retailers from September onwards
Price: 26,000 Swiss francs, or 34,900 Singapore dollars

Pasha de Cartier Skeleton Tourbillon
Ref. WHPA0006 (Pink gold)
Ref. HPI01435 (White gold with diamonds)

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 10.45 mm
Material: Pink gold, or white gold with diamonds
Water-resistance: 100 m

Movement: 9466 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes; tourbillon regulator
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Alligator strap

Limited edition: No
Availability: In boutiques and retailers from September onwards
Price: 94,500 Swiss francs, or 138,000 Singapore dollars in pink gold; 136,000 Swiss francs, or 198,000 Singapore dollars in white gold with diamonds

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