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Cartier - Cartier’s 2020 stage

Cartier Cartier’s 2020 stage

The maison’s 2020 releases reflect its DNA 100%. No revolutionising—instead, it steadily refined its shapes and sizes.

Cartier carries on with foresight and classic designs. The maison has been more daring in the past but, at the very least, continues to do what it does best: beautiful watchmaking, unique designs and pieces that will still be worn a century from now. The stage they set for their 2020 releases has all the actors you’d expect...and some nice, fresh and unexpected supporting roles. Camera, lights...action!

Some maisons play the vintage card, setting themselves apart from those that play the innovation or disruptor card. At the time of the late SIHH, it was tempting to single out this dichotomy via the gap between the exhibiting brands in the main halls of the salon, as opposed to those in the Carré des Horlogers. It may be hyperbolic to say so, but not as much as you would think...

Cartier is one of the first maison—a sure value, where you always find what the maison embodies best: a household name, the Cartier style that you recognise at first glance. It is no different this year. In the absence of SIHH and Watches & Wonders, the brand unveiled its 2020 novelties online. Coherent, consistent collections, a beautifully shot film whose main actors are already known: Santos-Dumont and Pasha. In the supporting role, perhaps less well-known but bound for a bright future: the Maillon. 

Leading role: the Santos-Dumont XL

watchmaking screen. It now takes up more space: the Santos-Dumont goes into XL mode (46.6 x 33.9 mm). The case is streamlined, with taut lines and unadorned elegance: the DNA of a timepiece that no longer has anything to prove. A new movement has been dedicated to it, the hand-wound Calibre 430 MC. It is a return to the roots appreciated by purists who, in the past, were lukewarm to quartz. 

Cartier’s 2020 stage

Santos-Dumont XL © Cartier

Devoid of an oscillating mass, this calibre makes it possible to obtain a thinner case, especially since the movement is inherited from Piaget’s 430P. “The switch to the XL version is not just moving a size up—it accentuates its finesse,” explains Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s Director of Image, Style and Heritage. 

The only regret: 38 hours of power reserve. The end credits fall a little quickly on this Santos-Dumont. With a movement that measures 20.5mm in diameter, in a case that doubles its overall size, there was room for a bonus of around fifty hours, even if it meant moving away from a movement that was certainly very reliable, but created in 1998.

Also starring: the Pasha de Cartier

35 years of absolute simplicity: a square in a circle, the Pasha de Cartier transcends fashions. It practically invented the unisex watch. The 2020 collection once again plays the vintage card. This revival features all the elements that made the original a success: the typography of the hour-markers, the triangle at 12 o’clock, the sword hands, the date at 4:30, the bracelet ending with a Clou de Paris link and, of course, the famous over-crown that screws onto the case to ensure (at least, it did at the time) water-resistance. New for these models: under this moving crown, is the possibility for the customer to have their initials engraved. In addition, interchangeable and adjustable straps (QuickSwitch and SmartLink systems), developed by Cartier two years ago, are also featured here.

Cartier’s 2020 stage

Pasha © Cartier

Supporting role: the Maillon

Brilliant, playful, creative: the Maillon de Cartier watch shakes up the somewhat conventional stars in this new opus from Cartier. Bold and offbeat, it can be an acquired taste, similar to the coup d’éclat that was the RM 07-01 unveiled by Richard Mille in 2015. But at Cartier, the result is fundamentally different. “It’s a jewellery-watch in the style of the 30s and 40s,” explains Pierre Rainero, “but contrary to certain customs, we wanted to give it a strong, visible case that is part of the continuity of the bracelet links. We wanted a visible opening. We also claimed a certain weight of the piece, which contributes to its appeal. It is a wristwatch, or a bracelet watch, which is easy to wear. The links must be able to rotate around the wrist.” A very nice launch, this piece shows a bias to a certain aesthetic and a controlled boldness typical of Cartier—all of which we hope to see again very soon on screen in new roles.

Cartier’s 2020 stage

Maillon © Cartier


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The brand

Characterised by audacity and inventiveness, Cartier’s watchmaking history reflects a unique state of mind: “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”. Its renown is bound up in the tradition of excellence to which it is heir. Cartier was a forerunner in the use of platinum in jewellery and one of the pioneers of watchmaking.

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