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‘Jeweller of Kings and King of Jewellers’

(LR): CARTIER Tank Red and CARTIER Ballon

BIJOUX Cartier’s brand – “jeweler of kings and king of jewellers” according to King Edward VII, who showered his wife, Alexandra of Denmark, and many other favorite women with items from the jeweler – did not fall at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022, showing how they’ve transformed their (ostensibly) utilitarian watches into flamboyant status symbols. These were featured in an online presentation earlier this month.

We start with a larger Ballon Bleu de Cartier, another favorite watch of royalty (the Duchess of Cambridge has been seen wearing one, and quite often), in a rose gold version. This is surrounded by 21 brilliant-cut diamonds, set with a sapphire cabochon on its crown. The self-winding mechanical movement is 9.96mm thick and approximately 33mm in diameter.

Meanwhile, new versions of the elegant Panthère de Cartier (first launched in 1983) come in rose gold, yellow gold and steel; with golden plum, midnight blue and black dials. The Santos de Cartier, once intended for aviators, displays a new masculinity with blue on its strap and bezel, perfectly mirroring the blue numerals inside.

Finally, arguably the company’s most famous watch, the Tank (so named after walking on tanks in World War I; and worn by icons such as Jackie O and Diana, Princess of Wales), shows its greenhouses with a red and gray edition. The classic hour markers from one to 12 have been reduced to just four.

Appearing monochromatic at first glance, the Tank Louis Cartier watch, depending on the light and how you look at it, reveals different looks depending on how the light hits it. To achieve this effect, Cartier’s watchmaking artisans have used, for the first time at Cartier, an innovative electrochemical engraving technique that allows very high-precision markings. These almost invisible markings, made in different directions, form a set of sections and areas that recreate the graphic pattern appearing on the dial of a Cartier Must watch from the 1980s. The coloring techniques used differ: lacquer for the dial red and galvanized finish for the gray dial. The dials are then enhanced with a multi-layered gloss decal that accentuates the Roman numerals.

Another makeover sees the Tank Must (a variation on the tank), in solid black, unlike its flamboyant scarlet sibling.

In the Philippines, Cartier is exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists, Inc. and has boutiques at Greenbelt 4, Shangri-La Plaza and Solaire Resort & Casino. — JLG