Cartier has always been a massive player when it comes to watches. The brand has the history, heritage, and breadth and depth of catalogue. And for Watches & Wonders 2023, the Maison has brought its full force to bear, with significant new additions to core collections like the Tank, as well as headline-grabbing pieces from Cartier Privé and the world of high Jewelry.
Unsurprisingly, new iterations of the Tank make up a significant chunk of Cartier’s Watches & Wonders releases for 2023. The Tank Française enjoyed a star-studded relaunch earlier this year, and now we’re treated to some diamond-studded additions to the family, in the form of Small and Medium Models in steel , each with twin rows of diamonds on the brancards — 22 on the smaller model and 26 for the medium.
However, the major new release is the Tank Américaine, an elongated take on the classic form that draws inspiration from the Tank Cintrée. This year, Cartier has subtly improved the lines of the case, most notably how the watch curves on the wrist, as well as how the brancards flow into the strap. Alongside the work done to the case, the design of the dial has been tweaked, so that the iconic Cartier numerals fill up the corners, creating a more cohesive look. In total, we’ve got 11 new Tank Américaine references, two large models (automatic, the rest are quartz) in steel and rose gold on leather, four small models, one in steel and three in gold (two with diamonds and one diamond-set piece on a gold bracelet), as well as five mini models in versions ranging from steel on leather to a fully diamond-set white gold model.
The Tank Louis Cartier is a collection that has been hot property thanks to the stripped-back, colourful designs. Well, 2023 shows that the temperatures are set to keep rising. In addition to two new yellow gold manually wound versions with burgundy or green dials, we get two special, and frankly stunning, dial variations with bold graphic motifs that play homage to gold, as well as to Tank Must models from the 1970s. The yellow gold model has a tri-gold finished dial that resembles a mosaic pattern, while the rose gold has a grid-like appearance. These will be hard to find, mark my words.
Cartier Privé Tank Normale
The one collection that draws the most excitement and anticipation is the Cartier Privé, which each year shines a light on a special model, in an exclusive series made with collectors in mind. For the seventh Privé collection, Cartier has gone back to the very beginning with seven references inspired by the original 1917 Tank, known as the Tank Normale. This squarer take on the Tank is offered in three different styles. The limited edition skeleton interpretation, in platinum, yellow gold or fully set platinum (limited to 50, 50 or 20 pieces, respectively) is powered by the Calibre 9628, is a 24-hour movement, where the daytime hours are at the top of the dial, and the dark hours at the bottom. This has been expressed visually with gradated colours for the hours, and skeletonised bridges representing the sun and the moon.
A simpler take on this special Tank is the 32.6 x 25.7mm model offered in yellow gold or platinum. For these models, the star is the smoothly integrated, seven-row bracelet which seems directly inspired by that coveted ‘Figaro’ bracelet that was found on Cartier models of the 70s and 80s. Alternatively, these pieces are offered on brown or black alligator leather straps, adding more casual flair.
Cartier Santos and Santos-Dumont
The curvy and sporty-yet-sophisticated silhouette that is the Santos, and its slimmed-down cousin the Santos-Dumont are also getting their time in the sun, and it’s easy to see why. We get five new Santos Dumont models, three in the XL size, and two in the Large. The XL pieces in yellow and rose gold, as well as platinum, have colourful Roman numerals (and matching straps) as well as the gorgeous apple-shaped hands. The other two models are more subdued, a steel and gold piece with grey sunray dial and an elegant yellow gold reference with dark blue sunray dial.
For the sportier Santos de Cartier, there’s three new dial varations. Medium models with graduated green or blue dials as well as a Large model in the green. Hand-applied lacquer adds lustre and transparency to these dials, which are a great addition to this already very versatile design.
Cartier are acknowledged as having mastered the art of the skeleton, and this year sees the Maison flex its muscles in this space. Not only are we treated to the wonder that is a fully set Santos de Cartier Skeleton and a rose gold Pasha Skeleton, we also get three Skeleton takes on the Santos-Dumont. In yellow gold with blue lacquer highlights limited to 150 pieces, as well as regular production pieces in steel and red gold. All three are powered by the new 9629 automatic skeleton calibre. A particularly nice touch is that the miniaturised oscillating weight is in the shape of Alberto Santos-Dumont’s famous flyer, the Demoiselle. In case you needed even two grand complication pocket watches which, aside from being tremendously complex, bridge the divide between jewellery and watchmaking.
High Jewelry and Clash [Un]limited
Of course, Cartier is unique for its ability to meld a high jewelry sensibility with its watchmaking know-how, resulting in some truly inspired creations. Clash [Un]limited is an incredible example of this fusion. Part timepiece, part bracelet and part sculpture, this new high jewelry expression, full of facets and bevelled edges is being released in five versions, including a colorful model set with an impressive number of diamonds and semi-precious stones like coral and chrysoprase, and gold versions with an unusual ‘purple’ gold, that has to be seen to be truly appreciated.
Keeping with the high jewelry theme, Cartier is also releasing six stunning takes on the Bagnoire, including two dramatic Baignoire Allongée models, including one stunning piece that highlights the art of marquetry and another that boasts a complex geometric dial of white and yellow gold and pitch black lacquer.
Finally, there’s a new high jewelry Tank that pays homage to Jeanne Toussaint where the watch is integrated into the highly jewelled bracelet, which features distinctive cylinders inspired by the iconic Tank’s brancards.