Year In Review: Cartier

by Matt Clymo

Cartier is the next brand that we’re looking at in our Year In Review for 2023. From Skeletonised Dumonts to new boutiques to collector events, Cartier did it in very much Cartier style!

Cartier is synonymous with luxury and high jewelry, yet they are by sales volume the second largest watch brand in the world. Not surprisingly as they produce some stunning timepieces and have a long history in watchmaking. They created the first pilot’s watch for Alberto Santos-Dumont in 1904 and as a result, the first Pilot’s watch. Since then, they’ve done some remarkable movements – who could forget the movement integrated into the rotor of the Masse Mystérieuse released at 2022’s Watches & Wonders?

This year, Cartier opened with new skeletonised Santos Dumont models unveiled at Watches & Wonders 2023. In precious metals, they were a throwback to the 1904 model gifted to Santos-Dumont, and with Cartier’s automatic 9629 MC calibre designed for the piece, and a micro-rotor in the shape of the plane Alberto Santos-Dumont flew.

The gold Cartier Santos-Dumont

Cartier continued on the skeleton path with new Skeletonised Santos models in steel and precious metals. Offering an alternative to the classic Santos de Cartier, these were stunning pieces and collectors jumped on them, and up close, these were something else on the wrist, like the steel and black DLC model below.

Cartier went on to release their Tank Normale in yellow gold and platinum as part of their Privé collection. In both 18k yellow gold and 950 Platinum, these pieces, along with the rest of the Tank Normal collection were a throwback to the original 1917 Tank design, so very much vintage-styled pieces. And in an ode back to 1917, Cartier has hidden the 1917 numerals in the numbers on the dials. A nice little easter egg! With only a couple of each of the Tank Normale’s in the country, needless to say, there was a lot of demand around these, and a selected few were able to buy them.

The 18k Yellow Gold Tank Normale

In May, the Cartier boutique in Brisbane had its grand re-opening after a full renovation, and VIP’s were invited to experience it, try on many of the watches and jewelry, and enjoy the Cartier hospitality. Cartier have a very fresh and modern design style now for their stores, and each one has references to the city it’s in as well as materials and art local to the area or country. As a result, the Cartier Boutique in Brisbane showcases the Brisbane skyline with Panthère lurking in the foreground, along with some stunning pieces of art and lighting installations.

Cartier was also on a mission in 2023 to get its timepieces into the hands of watch lovers and collectors and to go hands-on with them. We always say that this is the only real way to appreciate a watch – to go hands-on and put it on the wrist. See how it looks and feels, and more importantly, how it makes you feel. So, Watch Advice along with Cartier hosted 2 groups of watch enthusiasts over 2 nights in August, to showcase Cartier’s Watches & Wonders releases from earlier in the year.

This was one of the first Watch Advice hosted events this year and what better brand than one of the most loved watch brands in the world? All the collectors over both nights had the chance to try on all the pieces, see how they felt on the wrist and the lovely Boutique staff were there to answer any questions, along with Nicola Ashworth, Cartier’s Marketing Manager, Watches, Fragrance & Accessories and Juanfra Delgado Entrambasaguas, Cartier’s Communications Executive.

Overall, 2023 was a good year for Cartier and their releases. Cartier are classic, timeless and elegant. With watches that everyone can enjoy and wear in every situation, there is a reason they are the second most popular in the world of Swiss watches. We’ll be watching closely during 2024 and look forward to seeing what the Maison does next year. Our guess is they won’t stray too far from their classic pieces, but eagerly await to see if they produce some more modern classics and high-horology pieces!

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