Available in the Shop: Our Latest Selection of Cartiers from Watchfinder & CoBy Revolution
We’re back again with another curated selection of Cartier pieces in partnership with Watchfinder & Co. This batch includes a Tank Francaise as well as a perennial favourite, the iconic Pasha. So let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
The Cartier Pasha
The Pasha gets its name from the Pasha of Marrakesh, Thami El Glaoui — aka “Lord of the Atlas” — who, in the context of the ’30s, was one of the richest men in the world. In 1932, he commissioned a waterproof watch from Louis Cartier to wear while in his swimming pool, which Cartier delivered to him in 1933. Now that’s where the mystery begins, because the whereabouts of this original watch are unknown, and even the configuration of the watch is unclear.
Now let’s go back to the ’80s when Alain-Dominique Perrin was at the height of his creativity. It was clear that there was a market for waterproof luxury watches, with timepieces such as the Ebel 1911 Classic Wave rising in popularity and the solid-gold Rolex Submariner taking a dominant stance. Cartier took the mythology of the Pasha and asked Gérald Genta to manifest a vision of this timepiece. And in 1985, the Pasha de Cartier was born.
It was a massive 38mm watch with a thick case, stylised centre lugs with cross member-like end pieces and a very cool screw-down cap that covered the crown and provided water resistance. This system was actually derived from water-resistant military watches from the ’30s and, as such, was a wonderful stroke of creativity. The Pasha was, of course, a massive hit and was soon made in a truly heady variety of models: the Pasha Perpetual Calendar (using a Génta movement); the Pasha Seatimer with a rotating bezel; the Pasha “Golf”; and our personal favorite, the Pasha Grid, which features a grid-like protection over the crystal which was also gleaned from military watches of the era. This, on the delicate brick “Figaro” bracelet in yellow gold, was a work of ravishing, opulent decadence.
The present example at our shop is a 32mm yellow gold example from 2000. With a silver dial featuring a grid overlay studded with diamonds, and stylised Arabic numerals and the sense of style that is truly timeless, this Pasha proves that a practical watch can have a real personality. And personality goes a long way. The automatic movement inside offers both reliability and precision.The watch comes with its original set of box and papers and a two-year warranty from Watchfinder.
The Tank has been through a huge number of variations. Think of it like a jazz standard; a theme that everybody knows and loves but executed or performed in different ways, thus appealing to a different range of audiences. These riffs on a classic include, not exhaustively, Tanks Normale, Cintree, Chinoise, Obus, Basculante and Asymetrique. There is a saying in the UK, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Hold a Tank from the 1920s next to a Tank that you bought yesterday and you will see that essentially they are the same. Sure, the movement may be more technical now and the manufacturing of the dial might be a little more precise, but to the untrained eye they will look the same. Like a ’59 Gibson Les Paul next to a modern version, not a lot has changed over the decades.
The Tank Francaise, like the steel Santos from 1978, the Panthère from 1983 and the Clé from 2015, was designed with an integrated bracelet. The combination of the bracelet and the watch is the reason for the success of the Tank Francaise. It made the watch incredibly easy to wear.
The case and the bracelet have become a magnificent piece of jewelry and no one would think about the idea of separating the two. Nevertheless, after some time, the Tank Francaise XXL and some different gold models with leather strap and deployant buckle were introduced.
The men’s model of the Tank Francaise has an automatic 220 caliber, while the chronograph is powered by the well-known Chronoflex quartz movement. Considering all the Tanks in Cartier’s collection, the Tank Francaise has managed huge popularity, especially among a younger crowd, due to its availability in steel, its comfort and its versatility. The watch has been a part of the selling collection ever since 1996.
The present example in steel and yellow gold is from 2005. The watch has a 27.5mm steel case, octagonal crown in yellow gold set with a synthetic cabochon-shaped spinel, silvered flinqué dial, blued-steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal, two-tone bracelet. The watch comes with a two-year warranty from Watchfinder.