Cartier Introduces the Pasha de Cartier Chronograph

Cartier's first round watch, now in chronograph guise

Inspired by the tale of a water resistant sports watch commissioned in 1934 by Thami El Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakesh – which was actually a rectangular watch – the modern Pasha was penned by Gerald Genta, the man behind many of the most iconic watches of the 1970s and 1980s, which were often considered avant-garde for their time.

One year after the relaunch of the time-only model, the jeweller is debuting the Pasha de Cartier Chronograph at Watches & Wonders 2021.

The new chronograph on the wrist

Initial Thoughts

The Pasha Chronograph is an appealing watch. It does wear slightly large at 41 mm and but is surprisingly svelte at just under 12 mm in thickness.

Add to that 100 m of water resistance and a moderate price premium of US$3,500 or so over the time-only model and you realise that the Pasha Chronograph is a compelling package. Granted, the “Vendome” lugs are not to everyone’s tastes, but the Pasha remains as classically Cartier as the jeweller’s form watches.

The “Vendome” lugs and chain-secured crown cap are Pasha design hallmarks

The movement is finished modestly and industrially, a sharp contrast to the dial finishing, which punches above its price point in terms of its detail. Nonetheless, its price of a bit under US$10,000 in steel makes the Pasha chronograph competitive, and also good value.

Fine details

The Pasha Chronograph measures 41 mm in diameter and 11.97 mm in thickness – it retains the same diameter as the time-only model and gains approximately 2.5 mm in thickness to accommodate the chronograph. That makes it substantially larger than the 38 mm original, though very much in keeping with modern size trends.

The case finishing is identical to that of the time-only Pasha: the case band is horizontally brushed and the broad bezel is in high polish.

The 1985 Pasha was available in two versions – one with a bi-directional rotating bezel, the other with a fixed, smooth bezel. The new Pasha de Cartier Chronograph Watch is modelled on the former, with the bezel having black lacquer-filled engraving and the subtle coining on its circumference.

And like the chronograph of the 1980s, the pushers of the chronograph are capped with blue cabochons. On the steel model, they are spinel, whereas the gold version gets sapphires.

As is standard on the time-only model, the Pasha Chronograph has Cartier’s patented QuickSwitch system. By depressing a tab between the lugs, the bracelet can be detached from the case without having to resort to a tool.

In addition, the bracelet also includes a system for tool-less removal of links for sizing, which Cartier calls SmartLink. Both QuickSwitch and SmartLink made their first appearance on the relaunched Cartier Santos of 2018.

The QuickSwitch with the button on the back of the lugs

A number of details make the dial feel noticeably upscale. It’s stamped with guilloche that incorporates with the Pasha’s trademark square-in-a-circle motif, while the tiny hour markers are applied.

The lozenge-shaped hands of the 1980s original have been retained, but they are now entirely blued steel, instead of being filled with luminous paint as on the original.

Modern mechanics

The 1904-CH MC is visible through a sapphire case back. A movement designed by ValFeurier, the secretive factory that does mechanical work for almost all Richemont brands, the 1904-CH MC is an automatic chronograph that features all the hallmarks of a modern chronograph movement. This means it has a column wheel and vertical clutch, the former providing crisper, more consistent feel in both pushers, the latter enabling the use of the chronograph functions without a drop in balance amplitude.

That said, despite its twin-barrel configuration, meant to ensure consistent torque, the movement’s power reserve of 47 hours falls significantly short of the of 60-70 hours that’s now the norm.

Cartier Care

Similar to last year’s launch, the new Pasha de Cartier Chronograph is eligible for Cartier Care, which entails a warranty of eight years and complementary engraving of the initials on the back. Even the presentation box for the watch can be customised with embossed initials or a significant date.

Additionally, Cartier’s promotional offer of a “complementary full service to Pasha owners, regardless of the year their watch was created” still stands – presumably, this complementary service will not be offered forever, so Pasha owners are advised to act on the offer sooner rather than later.

Key Facts and Price

Pasha de Cartier Chronograph
Ref. WGPA0017 (yellow gold)
Ref. CRWSPA0018 (stainless steel)

Diameter: 41 mm
Thickness: 11.97 mm
Material: Stainless steel or yellow gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 meters

Movement: 1904-CH MC
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds; date; chronograph
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 47 hours

Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with QuickSwitch and SmartLink system, blue or grey alligator leather strap

Limited edition: No
: Already at boutiques and retailers

Stainless steel – US$9,450 or 13,600 Singapore dollars 
Yellow gold – US$23,100 or 33,100 Singapore dollars 

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Patek Philippe Introduces the Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A in Olive

The last of its kind.

Perhaps the world’s most desirable wristwatch, the Nautilus ref. 5711/1A became even more sought after when was made known earlier this year that the model would be discontinued. To give it a proper send-off, the brand is now unveiling the final iteration of the Nautilus in steel, this time with an olive green dial.

The base model, if it can be called that, is the Nautilus ref. 5711/1A-014, but the model will also be available with a diamond-set bezel as the Nautilus ref. 5711/1300A-001, which is notable for being the first time Patek Philippe is setting diamonds on a steel men’s watch.

The Nautilus ref. 5711/1A-014

And the Nautilus ref. 5711/1300A-001

Initial thoughts

Green seems to be the new blue, and Patek Philippe is very much on board the bandwagon with its new Nautilus ref. 5711/1A – though it’s arguable Patek Philippe is helping start the trend just because the Nautilus is, well, the Nautilus.

Already impossible to get, at least at the affordable retail price, the steel Nautilus will definitely be the rarest in green, out of all three variants (the others being the original blue dial, and the later white dial) and thus the most covetable.

In essence, the new Nautilus is just a facelift. The case, movement, and bracelet remain the same – the only change is the olive green dial, which retains the signature, horizontal-stamped pattern. But given the impending discontinuation of the ref. 5711/1A, the mere fact there’s a new model has sent everyone into a frenzy.

And if the olive-green ref. 5711/1A isn’t enough of a symbol of insider access, there’s the diamond-set version. The diamonds should complement the olive dial nicely, for an eye-catching look that isn’t over the top.

The new models are great options for someone that wants the iconic design of the Nautilus, but something different. The challenge, as it has been for the past few years, is getting one – good luck.

Green with envy

While green dials are increasingly fashionable, they are actually relatively uncommon at Patek Philippe, especially for its sports watches. This green dial is a first for the Nautilus. The closest alternative within Patek Philippe’s catalogue is the khaki-green Aquanaut that launched a few years prior. In comparison to that, the new Nautilus appears to be more striking on the wrist due to the metallic dial finish, which is entirely congruent with its status as the ultimate luxury-sports watch.

Like its predecessors, the case of the new remains finely finished – 55 steps are needed to complete the case, bezel, and bracelet according to Patek Philippe – with alternating satin-brushed and polished finishing visible on the bezel, bracelet and case.

And the applied indices are crafted out of white gold, adding a touch of luxe to the otherwise steel watch. A bonus detail on the new dial is the tiny white gold frame around the date, which adds an extra bit of refinement to the look.

As the case is identical, it remains slim, with a height of just 8.3 mm. And ditto for the movement, which is the cal. 26-330 S C, a slender automatic that has a height of just 3.3 mm.

Introduced in 2019 as an upgrade over the cal. 324 SC in earlier versions, the movement features hacking seconds, an average 40 hours of power reserve, and a 21k gold rotor.

Key facts and price

Patek Philippe Nautilus
Ref. 5711/1A-014 (steel)
Ref. 5711/1300A-001 (steel with diamond bezel)

Diameter: 40 mm (measured from ten to four o’clock)
Height: 8.3 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 120 m

Movement: Cal. 26-330 S C
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 35-45 hours

Availability: At both retailers and boutiques
Steel – US$34,893; or 46,000 Singapore dollars
Steel with diamond bezel – US$94,624; or 124,700 Singapore dollars

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Rolex Introduces the Explorer II Ref. 226570

Gently facelifted, but a latest-generation movement.

Twenty-twenty one sees Rolex revamp both its Explorer references, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the model. The new Explorer II ref. 226570 gets a new movement, while preserving the familiar style of previous model, the ref. 216570 that was launched exactly a decade ago. That means a second time zone hand in orange; fixed, brushed steel bezel; a largish, 42 mm case; and a white or black dial.

While the new Explorer II is similar to its predecessor in terms of aesthetics – though the case is slimmed slightly and bracelet widened – it is powered by the cal. 3285, one of the latest-generation Rolex movement.

Initial thoughts

The new Explorer II is a major technical update thanks to the new movement, but in terms of look and feel, it is likely indistinguishable from its predecessor. Anyone who was a fan of the preceding model – this is a superior version of the same because the new movement is substantially better. But for those who thought the 42 mm case was too wide, it’s still 42 mm, albeit with redesigned lugs to make it slightly narrower.

I find the 42 mm case a bit too big, but the version with the “polar” white dial has long been a favourite, and the new movement makes it more appealing, notwithstanding the case. For what it costs at retail the Explorer II is an excellent buy – as most Rolex watches are – though it’ll probably be tough to land one for now.

Nips and tucks

The Explorer II has a 42 mm case made of Oystersteel, which Rolex’s own term for 904L, a type of stainless steel that’s more resistant to corrosion than the 316L stainless steel commonly used in watches. As with other newer Rolex models, the case of the new Explorer II is likely finished with an improved polishing technique that creates more refined mirror polished surfaces.

It’s fitted to an Oyster bracelet that incorporates an EasyLink extension, which allows for up to 5 mm of adjustment without tools.

But the key upgrade is the cal. 3285. Like the other latest-generation Rolex movements, the cal. 3285 has a 70-hour power reserve and Chronergy escapement that was designed for optimum efficiency. And the pallet lever and escape wheel are also made of a nickel-phosphorus alloy, giving them improved magnetism resistance. The movement is rated to keep time to within two seconds a day, fast or slow, as all current Rolex movements are.

The new model also have slightly longer Super-Luminova fill on both the hands

The new Explorer II is available in the traditional dial colours. Both have white gold hands and hour markers, but on the white-dial version they have been coated black.

Key facts and price

Rolex Explorer II
Ref. 226570-0001 (white)
Ref. 226570-0002 (black)

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: Cal. 3285
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and second time zone
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet with EasyLink extension

Availability: From May 2021
Price: US$8,550; or 11,440 Singapore dollars

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Cartier Introduces the Tank Must de Cartier Monochrome Colours

Vintage-inspired, solid-colour dials.

Capitalising on the enduring popularity of the Tank, Cartier has (re)launched the Tank Must de Cartier at Watches & Wonders 2021.

The new Tank Must line includes several entry-level watches in steel, including an unusual solar-powered model, and also a trio of watches with monochrome, solid colour dials in red, green and blue that are inspired by originals of the 1970s.

Initial thoughts

Appealing for its simple, 1970s style, the new Tank Must is especially striking in red, which is Cartier’s house colour. The cases are all “large model” size, which makes it suited to both genders, though more of a formal-dress watch for men.

But they are all unfortunately powered by quartz movements, which are entirely acceptable given the affordable price. Given the style and movement, the new Tank Must is best suited to someone who wants a fuss-free watch that is quintessentially Cartier but not too expensive. Watch enthusiasts will probably have to wait for new versions with mechanical movements in the coming years.

Vintage Technicolor

The Must de Cartier Tank was born in 1977 as a mass-market product at a low price – and it was a massive hit. Prior to the Must – “I must have a Cartier” – the Tank had only been manufactured in precious metals and never been on an industrial scale. The Must de Cartier watches, which also included the Santos and other case shapes, transformed Cartier into the watch and jewellery giant it is today.

While the new Tank Must line encompasses three case sizes, small, large, and extra-large, only the large model can be had with the  monochrome-colour dials that have nothing except the Cartier name and a tiny “Swiss made” at six. The rich dial colours of the Tank Must draw inspiration from a similar Les Must de Cartier model of the 1970s, though the vintage original was only available in burgundy or blue.

Though they share the same name, the new Tank Must are far better watches than the 1970s originals. Whereas the originals relied on thin vermeil, or gold-plated sterling silver, for the case, the new models are robust stainless steel. And the new Tank Must is powered by a quartz movement, and paired with alligator straps in matching colours.

Cartier Care

The new Tank watches are eligible for Cartier Care program, which entails a warranty extension, taking the total to eight years.

And to mark the debut of the new Tank models, Cartier is offering a “complementary maintenance and service to any owner of this watch, regardless of the year it was created” – which applies to any vintage Les Must de Cartier Tank. Presumably, the complementary servicing will not be a permanent offering – there was a similar, limited-time offer for vintage Pasha models last year – so Tank owners would do well to act sooner rather than later.

Cartier Tank Must Monochrome Colours Large Model
Ref. CRWSTA0054 (red)
Ref. CRWSTA0055 (blue)
Ref. CRWSTA0056 (green)

Diameter: 33.7 mm by 25.5 mm
Height: 6.60 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: Quartz
Functions: Hours and minutes

Strap: Alligator leather strap with pin buckle

Limited edition: No
: From September at boutiques and retailers
Price: US$2,730; or 3,950 Singapore dollars

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First Impressions: Cartier Privé Cloche de Cartier

Quirky and charming.

Unveiled alongside the fancy Cloche Skeleton, the Privé Cloche de Cartier is the latest vintage design to be revived by the Parisian jeweller. Less famous than the Tank or Santos, the Cloche is nevertheless an original design that quirkier than the typical Cartier case.

Designed in the 1920s and shaped like a bell – cloche is French for “bell” – the Cloche has been a fixture in Cartier’s catalogue for decades, but only ever produced in small numbers, explaining its relatively obscurity. The last major edition of the model was the Collection Privee Cartier Paris (CPCP) limited edition of 2007 – 100 in yellow gold with a silver dial – though smaller runs and custom models were made in the interim.

The new Privé Cloche is offered in three metals – either pink or yellow gold as well as platinum – each limited to 100 pieces.

The Cloche variants. Image – Cartier

Initial thoughts

The Cloche is a quirky but appealing shape that brings to mind “driver’s” watches, but is an original design in itself. The newest iteration of the century-old design is the largest to date, making it a good size for a formal-dress watch even by modern standards.

The case is fairly wide, and also thick enough it doesn’t feel delicate. The only aspect of the design I question is the strap, which feels too narrow, especially on a bare wrist that isn’t under a shirt cuff.

Although the design is classic Cartier, the colours and details give the Cloche a more modern feel. The dials have a matte finish that’s matched with a railroad minute track, which along with the sword-shaped hands give them a clean, vaguely functional aesthetic. That said, the matte dial finish of the platinum model is a bit more restrained than on the gold versions.

While most Privé models tend to have one variant that stands out in terms of appeal, all three versions of the Cloche are equally appealing. I’d be hard pressed to choose between them, although the gold versions have an edge just because they cost a bit less but are equally good looking.

From left: platinum, yellow gold, and pink gold. Image – Cartier

A 1922 Cloche from Cartier’s archive

One element of the case I wish were different is the strap attachment. Although the case appears to have screws on the lugs, they are purely decorative and the strap is held in place by a conventional spring bar. Real screwed bars feel more authentic; failing that, going without the decorative screw heads on the case would do no harm.

The Cloche is pried at US$27,500 in gold and US$31,000 in platinum. While not excessive, it is far from a value proposition, which is unsurprising given the recent faddish popularity of Cartier’s classic designs. In any case, being a good design that’s been executed well, the Cloche will no doubt sell quickly.

Bell shaped

The Cloche case has a relatively small footprint of 37.15 mm by 28.75 mm, but the width gives it a good presence on the wrist. It also helps that the 6.7 mm case thickness is substantial relative to its diameter.

The case is entirely polished, save for the straight flank on the right (where six o’clock is) – a feature catered to the fact that the Cloche can double as a desk clock.

All three versions share the same dial design, although the platinum model has a slightly different finish.

The two gold models have a metallic finish with a radially brushed finish. Between the two, the pink gold version is slightly more striking, because the Roman numerals are printed in a granular, metallic lacquer, while those on the yellow gold version are a flat black.

The platinum Cloche, on the other hand, has a grained, ivory finish that similar to that found on the Tank Cintree 100th Anniversary limited edition, which gives it a slightly vintage appearance.

The platinum Cloche

Like many of Cartier’s recent form watches, including the Tank LC just launched at Watches & Wonders 2021, the Cloche is powered by the in-house 1917 MC. It’s a smallish, hand-wind movement chosen for its size.

But the size that makes it suited to unusually shaped cases also means it has a small mainspring, and so a short power reserve of only 38 hours – which is admittedly enough for what will probably be an occasion or formal-dress watch.

Key facts and price

Cartier Privé Cloche de Cartier
Ref. CRWGCC0002 (yellow gold)
Ref. CRWGCC0003 (pink gold)
Ref. CRWGCC0004 (platinum)

Diameter: 37.15 mm by 28.75 mm
Height: 6.7 mm
Material: 18k gold or platinum
Water resistance: 30 m
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: 1917 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Limited edition: 100 pieces in each metal
From September at Cartier boutiques and retailers
Yellow or pink gold – US$27,500; or 39,400 Singapore dollars
Platinum – US$31,000; or 44,600 Singapore dollars

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First Impressions: Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

Formal dress made colourful.

Launched alongside the affordable Tank Must in steel at Watches & Wonders 2021, the Tank Louis Cartier is a limited-production that’s the flagship model of the new Tank offerings.

Featuring an Art Deco “sector” dial modelled on a style found on the Les Must de Cartier Tank of the 1980s, the Tank Louis Cartier (or Tank LC) combines an 18k gold case with the in-house, hand-wind 1917 MC movement.

Initial thoughts

The Tank LC is the perhaps quintessential Tank, and the new version is one of the most compelling in recent years, both in design and the fact that it’s mechanical (most have been quartz).

The new model is practically identical in size to what was historically the “large” Tank LC. That means a case that’s 33.7 mm by 25.5 mm, and 6.60 mm high.

It’s relatively small by modern standards, but the size works well as a formal-dress watch under a cuff, though it would look out of place with casual wear.

In fact, it excels as a formal watch that is a little more interesting, thanks to the dial design and colours. The Art Deco dial is simple but striking, and appealing in both design and colour. The only shortcoming is a historical one – it was originally found on the inexpensive Les Must de Cartier Tank, while this is clearly a high-end timepiece.

At US$13,100, the new Tank LC is relatively affordable as such things go, which makes it a strong contender for a formal watch that’s a bit more lively.

Classic Tank

The new Tank LC is offered in two guises – yellow gold with a burgundy and silver dial, or pink gold with a blue and grey dial. Though both are identical in design, the feel is quite different. The pink gold model is slightly more masculine in its colours, which are also unusual for a Tank.

Both watches share the same dial finish, albeit in different colours. It’s a metallic base with a radial brushed finish, and the tracks for the hours and minutes printed on top. While the metallic base is reflective, the printed segments are matte and ever so slightly raised, giving the dial a bit more texture.

Inside is the 1917 MC, a small in-house movement originally developed for ladies’ watches. It’s just 2.9 mm high, and due to its size, has a short, 38-hour power reserve. The same calibre was also found in last year’s Tank Asymetrique.

Both Tank LC models are “one shot” editions, meaning they will be produced for a limited period of time. That means there’ll be enough to go around, but not forever.

Key facts and price

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
Ref. CRWGTA0059 (yellow gold)
Ref. CRWGTA0058 (pink gold)

Diameter: 33.7 mm by 25.5 mm
Height: 6.60 mm
Material: yellow or pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: 1917 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator leather strap

Limited edition: Limited production run during 2021
: From September 2021 at boutiques and retailers
Price: US$13,100; or 18,800 Singapore dollars

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Cartier Introduces the Tank Must de Cartier in Steel

A new family of affordable Tanks.

The Cartier Tank is quite possibly the most iconic rectangular wristwatch, matched only in its longevity and enduring appeal by the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. Capitalizing on the popularity of the Tank, Cartier has reintroduced the Tank Must de Cartier name as an entire model family at Watches & Wonders 2021.

Initial Thoughts

The Tank Must de Cartier was born in 1977, in the throes of the quartz crisis. The Must de Cartier was the jeweler’s answer to the upheaval within the industry – it marked the first time the Tank was produced at an industrial scale and was also the first time the model was not produced in precious metal. The Tank Must de Cartier borrowed the shape of the Tank Louis Cartier – whereas the brancards of the 1917 original were flat, those of the Tank Louis Cartier are gently rounded.

I am a fan of the new collection. Not only is the Must de Cartier probably the most recognizable of the Tank range, but the new watches are handsome and a surprisingly good value proposition. The new Tank Must de Cartier is a comprehensive family that is sure to become a bestseller – not only is there a model at every price point, from entry-level steel to more glitzy diamond-paved variants, but the models are also available in a dizzying number of sizes and movement configurations.

Tank Must de Cartier

The classic silver-dialed model with Roman numerals, railroad minutes track, and blued steel hands is available in steel in three sizes: small, large, and extra-large. The two smaller models are identical aside from the positioning of the Cartier secret signature, 7 o’clock in the large size, 10 o’clock in the small size.

Three case sizes are available. From left to right: extra-large, large, and small, shown on the steel bracelet

The Extra-large model is powered by the caliber 1847 MC, Cartier’s entry-level in-house movement with 40 hours of power reserve. This model also has central seconds and a date aperture at 6 o’clock, courtesy of the movement, and features additional refined touches that include guilloche stamping on the dial and a beaded crown (the crown of the other two sizes is merely knurled). The small and large sizes are available as with a traditional quartz movement with a stated autonomy of 8 years – gem-set variants with brancards paved with brilliant-cut diamonds are also available (0.48 ct in the large model, 0.46 ct in the small model).

Diamond-set variants of the small and large models are also available

The Tank Must de Cartier can also be had on an interchangeable steel bracelet equipped with Cartier’s proprietary QuickSwitch system.

Environmentally conscious

The small and large Tank Must de Cartier models are also available wit Cartier’s brand new SolarBeat movement, a photovoltaic movement that has a lifetime of 16 years. The idea to use photovoltaic cells to energize quartz calibers is not new – Citizen is likely the best-known example in the industry and has been using this technology for years in their Eco-Drive range. However, this marks a first for Cartier. Cartier opted for perforated Roman numerals that allow solar energy to reach the photovoltaic cells under the dial without compromising the design of the dial.

The small and large models are also available with a brand-new photovoltaic movement and environmentally friendly straps

In keeping with the environmentally-conscious theme, the SolarBeat Tank Must de Cartier models are fitted with a strap composed of 40% plant matter from waste from apples grown for the food industry. Cartier claims that the strap results in a significantly reduced carbon footprint and lower water and energy consumption in the manufacturing process.

Cartier Care

The new Tank models are eligible for registration in the Cartier Care program, which entails a warranty extension to up to eight years. As a commemorative offer to celebrate the new arrivals, Cartier is offering a “complementary maintenance and service to any owner of this watch, regardless of the year it was created” – it is unclear from the press release if this offer applies only to Tank Must models or to all Tank models. Presumably, this complementary service will not be offered forever, so Tank owners are advised to act on the offer sooner rather than later.

Key Facts and Price

Cartier Tank Must Small Model
Ref. CRWSTA0042 (steel on calfskin strap)
Ref. CRWSTA0051 (steel on steel bracelet)
Ref. CRW4TA0016 (steel with diamonds)
Ref. CRWSTA0060 (steel on black non-leather strap with SolarBeat photovoltaic movement)
Ref. CRWSTA0061 (steel on green non-leather strap with SolarBeat photovoltaic movement)

Diameter: 29.5 mm by 22 mm
Height: 6.60 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: Quartz or SolarBeat photovoltaic movement

Strap: Calfskin, stainless steel bracelet with QuickSwitch system, non-leather strap

Limited edition: No
: From September at boutiques and retailers
Price: Starting from US$2,480 for steel on leather strap, to US$6,000 for diamond-set model

Cartier Tank Must Large Model
Ref. CRWSTA0041 (steel on calfskin strap)
Ref. CRWSTA0052 (steel on steel bracelet)
Ref. CRW4TA0017 (steel with diamond setting)
Ref. CRWSTA0059 (steel on black non-leather strap with SolarBeat photovoltaic movement)
Ref. CRWSTA0062 (steel on blue non-leather strap with SolarBeat photovoltaic movement)

Diameter: 33.7 mm by 25.5 mm
Height: 6.60 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: Quartz or SolarBeat photovoltaic movement

Strap: Calfskin, stainless steel bracelet with QuickSwitch system, non-leather strap

Limited edition: No
: From September at boutiques and retailers
Price: Ranging from US$2,610 for steel on leather strap to US$6,850 for diamond-set model

Cartier Tank Must Extra-Large Model
Ref. CRWSTA0040 (steel on calfskin strap)
Ref. CRWSTA0053 (steel on steel bracelet)

Diameter: 41 mm by 31 mm
Height: 8.37 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: 1847 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Calfskin or stainless steel bracelet with QuickSwitch system

Limited edition: No
: From September at boutiques and retailers
Price: US$3,550 (strap); US$3,900 (bracelet )

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A. Lange & Söhne Unveils the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar (sans Tourbillon)

Lovely and more affordable.

A. Lange & Söhne first unveiled the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar in 2014.  Still the most complicated Lange 1 in the line up, the watch combined an instantaneous perpetual calendar with a discreet tourbillon only visible on the back side.

Fast forward seven years later, Lange finally unveils a simplified version – but still a complicated watch – the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar, now without the tourbillon. Two variants are available: in pink gold with a grey dial, or in white gold with a solid pink gold dial.

Initial thoughts

At a glance, one can be forgiven for thinking this is another version of the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon. It is, however, a completely new model that distills the design to focus on a fascinating perpetual calendar, without the added complexity and cost of a tourbillon.

In typical Lange style, there were no shortcuts taken: the watch is powered by a new(ish) movement, rather than the same calibre minus the tourbillon. The removal of the tourbillon makes it more accessible, but the new watch is still a hefty €98,000 with the grey dial (and a bit more for the pink gold). At the same time, it might dilute the status of the pricier, flagship tourbillon variant.

Nevertheless, the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is intrinsically an exemplary perpetual calendar – in both construction and design – especially the pink gold dial (or “salmon”) being a trendy colour that would likely be the more popular choice.

An upgraded moonphase

The dial is the classic Lange 1 layout, with the off centre sub-dial for time, balanced by the big date and moon phase. The big date at 10 o’clock indicates this is an automatic movement, as a manual-wind Lange 1 has the date at two o’clock.

Most important is the unconventional perpetual calendar, which instantaneously changes around midnight. Instead of the typical sub-dial, the months are indicated via a ring around the entire dial, and read via a small gold pointer at six o’clock.

The layout isn’t new, being it is identical to its predecessor, but there are two distinct differences visible.

Most importantly, the day-night indicator is now integrated into the moon phase – a complication borrowed from the 2017 Lange 1 Moon Phase. Here the moon and disc are separate, with the disc changing colour to indicate the time of day.

While not the first brand to use such a display, Lange’s implementation of the concept is arguably the best, with the metallic blue disc behind the moon phase executed in a graduated colour to represent night and day.

Also, the sub-dial for the hours and minutes have been redesigned to match the Lange 1 Moon Phase – the time display has a raised, flat central section surrounded by a recessed chapter ring with fine concentric engine-turning. And of course, the dial no no longer carries the “Tourbillon” inscription.

A reworked movement

The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is powered by the new L021.3 – an automatic movement based on the movement in the Lange 1 Daymatic, which also served as a base for the tourbillon version. However, much like the recent Lange 1 Timezone that has a reworked movement similar to its base, the L021.3 is significantly different, both mechanically and visually.

The perpetual calendar mechanism is integrated onto the base plate under the dial, and is virtually identical to the module on the tourbillon variant – a good thing because it is a technically unique and intriguing instantaneous perpetual calendar with an unconventional layout. The subtle difference between the two calendar mechanisms are the additional wheels to relocated the 24-hour sub-dial to the moon phase, so that it can serve as the day-night indicator.

The most notable difference is the rearranged going train, which now has the fourth wheel directly driving the seconds hand – the Daymatic instead had an indirectly-driven seconds – leading to a more straightforward, efficient gear train. Also, the unidirectional automatic winding mechanism has been redesigned. These changes lead to reshaped bridges, which are now less cluttered and expose more of the wheels underneath.

Like the Daymatic, the L021.3 still retains the gorgeous 21k gold rotor with a relief-hammered tremblage finish that’s rimmed in platinum. And there are five screwed gold chatons for the pivots of the main wheels, which are occasionally absent on some entry-level automatic Lange movements.

Key facts and price

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
Ref. 345.033 (pink gold with grey dial)
Ref. 345.056 (white gold with pink gold dial)

Diameter: 41.9 mm
Height: 12.1 mm
Material: 18k white or pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: Not available

Movement: L021.3
Functions: Hours, minutes, day of week, day and night, moonphase, and  perpetual calendar
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Crocodile with pin buckle

Limited edition: Pink-gold dial limited to 150 pieces; grey dial regular production 
Starting December at boutiques only
Pink Gold – €98,000
White Gold – €109,000

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A. Lange & Söhne Refreshes the Triple Split in Style

Looking exceptionally sharp.

When A. Lange & Söhne first introduced the Triple Split in 2018, it was an incremental improvement over the Double Split but still a landmark, being the first watch capable of recording twin elapsed times of up to 12 hours. Lange remains the only watchmaker to offer a split-seconds chronograph of this magnitude.

And now at Watches & Wonders 2021 it is unveiling the Triple Split in a new guise of pink gold and a blue dial.

Initial thoughts

Interestingly, Watches & Wonders 2021 marks the first major watch fair where Lange has not introduced any new timepieces with either a silver or black dial. Instead, the new Lange models all feature bold dial colours that break away from tradition – and I’m all for it.

The new Triple Split is a merely facelift of the original, which had a dark grey dial and white gold case that gave it an austere characteristic of Lange. In contrast, the new model sheds its predecessor’s sternness with the rich combination of a blue dial and pink gold case, allowing it to come across as significantly more contemporary.

I really like the new look. It’s eminently striking, while also being intriguing as it’s an unusual colour combination for Lange, which typically makes its watches with either silver or black dials. I particularly like the rhodium-coloured sub-dials, that contrast distinctly against the blue dial.

Regardless of colour, the Triple Split is a magnificently complicated watch, one of the most complicated that Lange produces. Arguably its only downside is the size, which is big enough to be unwieldy. But that’s a necessity given the towering movement.

At €159,400, the new Triple Split is roughly 15% costlier than its predecessor, but it’s a fair increase considering the better looks, as well as the voracious recent demand for Lange’s complicated watches. In fact, for what it is – the most technically advanced chronograph on the market – I would say it’s actually somewhat of a value proposition. And being a limited release of 100 pieces, the new Triple Split will likely sell out quickly as it possesses both style and substance.

A modern facelift

As the Triple Split is capable of timing two concurrent periods, Lange uses a pair of colours for the chronograph hands – pink gold and silvery rhodium – for each of the respective elapsed times (of hours, minutes and seconds). The contrast between the two sets of hands is unmistakable, and in my opinion better than the white gold-blued steel pairing in the original Triple Split.

The L132.1 movement in the Triple Split is incredibly complex to manufacture – it’s essentially a chronograph that’s been maxed out in terms of complication.

Lange chief executive Wilhelm Schmid recently revealed in an interview with us that “quite a few of [Lange’s] watchmakers actually state that given the choice between building a tourbillon or a perpetual calendar or a Triple Split, they easily go for perpetual calendar and tourbillon because they are a lot easier to build”.  In other words, the Triple Split is one of the most complicated watches for a brand that is already known for making ultra-complicated watches.

The L132.1 is comprised of 567 parts. Derived from the L001.1 of the Double Split, the L132.1 nonetheless features numerous improvements, having been substantially redesigned to accommodate the split hours mechanism.

The improvements go beyond the chronograph function. The L132.1 has 55-hour power reserve, which is significantly better than the 38-hour power reserve of the Double Split.

Like all Lange chronograph movements, the L132.1 is a sight to behold. The movement features gold chatons held in place by heat-blued screws, bridges adorned with Glashütte striping, a hand-engraved balance cock, perlage, and mirror-polished, bevelled edges on almost all components. It’s a work of art.

Key facts and price

A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split
Ref. 424.037

Diameter: 43.2 mm
Height: 15.6 mm
Material: 18k pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: L132.1
Functions: Flyback chronograph with triple rattrapante, hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Manual
Power reserve: 55 hours

Strap: Alligator with gold folding buckle

Limited edition: 100 pieces
At boutiques and retailers
Price: €159,400

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Cartier Introduces the Privé Cloche Skeleton

Modern aesthetics for a vintage design.

Starting four years ago, Cartier has utilised the Privé collection to relaunch many of its most classic designs, typically in small production runs. It started with the Crash Radieuse in 2017, which was followed by the Tank Cintrée, Tonneau, and last year’s Tank Asymétrique. Not unexpectedly, Cartier has continued this with the Cloche de Cartier, in both skeletonised and traditional formats.

Though the form is novel, the Cloche is a long-established case design for the Parisian jeweller. Its asymmetry allows it to double up as a small desk clock, with the flat side of the case resting on the desktop.

The shape made its first appearance as a wristwatch in 1921, with a platinum case set with diamonds according to Cartier. Reputedly inspired by the shape of a service bell – cloche is French for “bell” – the Cloche remained in production, albeit in tiny numbers, until a relaunch as a quartz watch in the Louis Cartier collection. The two most recent iterations of the Cloche came in 1995 and 2007, the first a limited run of 200 in yellow gold, the second 100 in yellow gold as part of the Collection Privee Cartier Paris (CPCP).

Harking back to the first Cloche wristwatch of 1921 – the platinum skeleton set with diamonds

Initial thoughts

The watches of the Privé collection – Cloche, Crash, Tank Cintree, and Tank Asymétrique – exemplify what Cartier does best. To call these watches unconventional would be an understatement – they were radical when they each made their debut, and they speak to Cartier’s visionary and experimental house style. I love the Cloche; though it is inherently a vintage remake, its unique shape is fresh, standing in contrast to what feels like endless exceedingly derivative offerings.

However, originality comes at a hefty price. In keeping with past Privé models, the premium demanded for the skeletonised model against the standard version is substantial – the Cloche skeleton retails for more than double.

Open-worked bell

The Cloche skeleton will be available in three variants: pink gold, platinum, or platinum with diamond-set case, crown, and buckle.

All share the same case that measures 37.15 mm by 28.75 mm, relatively compact by modern standards. The case is finished entirely in high polish except for the flat case flank at six o’clock (which is nine o’clock in a conventional watch) that has a brushed finish. That’s where one would rest the watch when using it as a desk clock, and the finish is presumably to hide scuffs or scratches.

Despite its unconventional case, the Cloche has conventional lugs with straps secured by spring bars. Aficionados of strap swapping will no doubt be delighted to learn that, and I imagine the watches will look splendid on a navy or burgundy shell cordovan strap.

The Cloche in platinum has a ruby cabochon in the crown

Though the size of the watch gives it a vintage feel, the skeletonisation gives it a wholly modern look. As is convention for Cartier skeleton movements, the base plate and bridges of the 9626 MC (which is the open-worked variant of the 1917 MC) forms the dial, with the components skeletonised to form Roman numerals and baton hour markers (with the time indicated by sword-shaped hands in blued steel, as is tradition).

Even compared to restrained size of the Cloche, the 9626 MC is a small movement, just 4.69 mm in diameter. This results in the watch feeling airier than past skeleton Privé models, with the moving parts of the movement clustered around the axis of the hands.

The movement is cleanly, though somewhat plainly, finished – the bridges are radially brushed and the bevels are wide and mirror polished, but likely done with a CNC machine. Given the price, a more elaborate interior decor would have been justified.

The Cartier signature is engraved in the main plate and filled with lacquer, and is unobtrusively hidden in “III”

Key Facts and Price

Cartier Privé Cloche de Cartier skeleton
Ref. CRWHCC0002 (pink gold)
Ref. CRWHCC0003 (platinum)
Ref. CRHPI01436 (platinum with diamonds)

Diameter: 28.75 mm
Height: 6.7 mm
Material: pink gold, or platinum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: 9626 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator

Limited edition: pink gold and platinum, 50 pieces; platinum with diamonds, 20 pieces 
: From September at boutiques and retailers
Pink gold – US$61,000; or 87,500 Singapore dollars
Platinum – US$69,500; or 99,500 Singapore dollars
Platinum with diamonds – price on application

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