Alligator is king when it comes to luxury watches, and Cartier is no exception to this rule. The vast majority of its watches are fitted with a strap made from this material. Many think that there is a historical precedent for this, but that is not the case. When Cartier launched its first collection of wristwatches for men, at the beginning of the last century, the vast majority of them where fitted on calfskin straps or even pigskin, often with a small texture in them. Exotic leathers were not commonly used, yet when it was the case, it was often lizard. This is also confirmed when you take a look at celebrities of the past, wearing their Cartiers. Andy Warhol, Yves Montand, and Duke Ellington, they all wore their precious metal Cartier’s on calfskin straps.
This is also not surprising. When you take one of Cartier’s historical designs, and this can be everything from a Louis Cartier Tank to a Tortue, and put it on a calfskin strap, something special happens. All of a sudden, the design of the case is more amplified as the strap doesn’t brand it immediately as a luxury item. With, for example, a simple Tank, an alligator strap can demand too much attention, which it takes away from the watch itself. Less is indeed more, and you get a more pure experience. Tan and black are the colors to go for, as they are historically the most correct. When you prefer lizard, opt for a matte finish to get a similar effect.
But I want an alligator!
Can’t shake the temptation of an alligator? This is not so surprising, as this was the leather of choice for many Cartier’s after the brand went big just after the quartz crisis and greatly expanded their global coverage. While black and brown rule supreme, there are also other colors that you might want to try, as they can give your Cartier a whole new look. For watches with white metal cases, a deep blue alligator adds a casual touch without going overboard. As Cartier often uses blued hands, they complement them perfectly. A bit more daring, especially today for men, is opting for a burgundy color. For many years Cartier used this color for not only their CPCP collection but also their 150th-anniversary collection in 1997, setting a precedent that makes it even today a perfect choice.
Skip de faux pas
In recent years there has been a trend to fit classic, gold cased watches on Nato-straps. We are obviously not a fan of this. To us, they are like yoga-pants, perfectly acceptable to wear to and from yoga-class but inexcusable on any other occasion. Unless you have joined the armed forces, or go off the grid with Bear Grylls, we see very little point to wear a Nato-strap in the first place, although some might enjoy their look and praise their comfort. To us, they have no business of ever being on a Cartier, not even a steel-cased one, so we kindly suggest that you skip this faux pas.