Cutting Shapes — the Timeless Elegance of Cartier’s Women’s Watches
Published on 31 May 2021
The Maison of Cartier is famous for its shapes. No other watchmaker has managed to perfect the art of balancing form and function quite like Cartier. The brand has created countless iconic silhouettes over the years, each with its own dedicated legion of fans.
From the rectangular classicism of the Tank to the modern curves of the Ballon Bleu, discover the world of Cartier’s women’s watches.
Tank de Cartier
Cartier is a Maison rich in icons, but above them all stands the Tank de Cartier. First born in 1917, Louis Cartier created the Tank with clean lines and geometry to celebrate the spirit of the Art Deco age. The deceptively simple design was a success, and over the decades, Cartier found that the rectangular watch was ripe for re-interpretation. There’s the curved and elongated Tank Cintrée, the pared-back perfection of the Tank Louis Cartier, and of course, the fashion-oriented Tank Must. As you might expect with such a famous design, it’s also attracted its share of famous fans; actresses like Catherine Deneuve favoured the model, as did timeless style icons Diana, Princess of Wales and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
How to wear it: The great thing about the Tank de Cartier is that it instantly adds a touch of class to any outfit. Whether it’s on a bracelet or alligator strap, the rectangular design will always look the part in any office, no matter how smart or casual.
The Ballon Bleu is amongst Cartier’s youngest collections — the first design debuted in 2007 — but it has been quick to claim its independence and influence. At the heart of the Ballon Bleu’s appeal is, as is the case with so many Cartier designs, its unique case shape. The case is round, not just in silhouette but in profile. The softly curved edges give the Ballon Bleu a pebble-like feel, which is immensely satisfying on the wrist.
The other genius of the design is the subtle way that Cartier has ‘hidden’ the winding crown. Rather than have the iconic cabochon crown break the otherwise smooth lines of the watch, the design envelopes the crown in an integrated crown guard, resulting in a watch that, when combined with the classic Cartier dial design results in a watch that has won fans all over the world, including the likes of Kate Middleton and Sofia Vergara.
How to wear it: The Ballon Bleu is a vision of roundness, making it a perfect choice for elegant everyday wear, no matter your style. It looks great on a leather strap, but shines on a bracelet, which adds a sense of purpose and practicality to the refined design.
Panthère de Cartier
The Panthère has a special place in Cartier’s collections. The prowling panther was first championed by Jeanne Toussaint, the Maison’s first female director of jewellery. Toussaint’s creative flair saw the spotted cat take on a sculptural form, an embodiment of the values of Cartier – passionate and daring. While the Panthère has been an important jewellery motif since the 1940s, the Panthère de Cartier watch collection burst onto the scene in 1983 and quickly became symbolic of the glamour and excess of the era. The Panthère, with its sleek design and jewellery-like bracelet, was quickly snapped up by models, actors and It Girls alike. In 2017 Cartier decided it was time for the Panthère de Cartier’s triumphant return.
The ‘new’ Panthère de Cartier didn’t mess with the winning formula too much, the case is still the same Santos-esque shape, but the star of the show is very much the outstanding bracelet, with brick-shaped links allow for a supple flow on the wrist. Of course, there’s steel and gold options, but keep your eyes out for stunning high-jewellery versions.
How to wear it: Much like its spirit animal, the Panthère de Cartier shines when the lights are low. This watch is perfect for partying in, as the sinuous bracelet adds some after-hours glamour to any outfit.
Like the Panthère de Cartier, the Pasha is another Cartier icon born in the 80s. Originally intended as a luxury sports watch, with its strong round case and protective crown cap, the watch quickly took on a life of its own, the’ T’-shaped Vendôme lugs, crown cabochon and instantly recognisable Cartier dial design making the Pasha in gold, steel or both the perfect mix of elegance and performance.
Pasha made a triumphant return to Cartier’s collection last year, in 35 and 41mm case sizes. A 41mm chronograph was added to the line-up this year, upping the sports-watch ante. With its bold bracelet (equipped with Cartier’s convenient QuickSwitch system), and bubble-like pushers, the Pasha de Cartier is about as distinctive as they come.
How to wear it: Lean into the Pasha’s larger size and sporty looks — this classic design is best worn with confidence.Think bold shapes and boyfriend jackets.
Book an appointment to discover your perfect Cartier today.
Written by: Felix Scholz