Curious Cartier: Esoteric Picks From the French Luxury House
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Ever since the creation of the Santos in 1904, Cartier has been responsible for bringing us successive iconic models such as the Tank and the Tortue. Today we wander off the beaten path, taking a look at some of the more enigmatic models to have come out of Cartier’s esteemed manufacture.
This model features an interesting bell-shaped case and drivers style dial
Lot Essay by Christie’s
French for bell, the “Cloche” is a clear inspiration in the case shape of the Cloche de Cartier. The fascinating design of the dial, rotated ninety degrees from a typical dial layout, coupled with the asymmetrical 18k gold case, allowed the wristwatch to be placed on its side to function as a miniature desk clock. Originally introduced in 1922, Cartier had a limited run of 200 pieces of the Cloche de Cartier in the 1990s.
This pebble-shaped wristwatch from Cartier is as rare as it is fascinating. The lozenge dial set against the rounded case emphasized by its hooded lugs, demonstrates Cartier’s strength with geometry and composition. With only six known examples to have been produced, this elegant timepiece in pink gold is accentuated by its classic Cartier radial roman numerals and cabochon sapphire-set crown.
In the U.S.A. this model is known as the “baseball” as the dial shape is reminiscent of the shape of a baseball pitch.
Originally introduced in 1936, the Cartier Tank Asymétrique is defined by its case shape. Shearing the classic Cartier Tank case into the shape of a parallelogram results in an asymmetrical but still beautifully balanced design. The placement of the 12 and 6 o’clock positions in the corners of the geometry reveals the clever manipulation of the dial layout to suit the new aperture.
Strap the watch on the wrist, however, and you instantly realise how intuitive and easy it is to read the time without having to bring your arm towards yourself.