Cartier watches that caused the biggest buzz on Instagram in recent years were undoubtedly the Crash, the Tank Aysmetrique, and the Cloche. Apart from the fact that these are the most bizarre timepieces designed by ‘La Maison’, the Cartier in-crowd and collectors have embraced the creations and elevated them to the cult pieces of the entire Cartier collection. The Crash and the Tank Asymetrique were recently released on a small scale, but the last 100 yellow gold Cloche models that last saw the Boutiques in 2006, have hardly been seen at auction since then! And that is certainly remarkable. Unlike the Crash, the Cloche is not only highly collectible but also more wearable.
In a few words; what is the Cloche; The “cloche” (bell) shape appeared in Cartier pieces in 1920 and became commercially available in 1922. It is called “Cloche de Cartier”, because, when placed horizontally, its outline is reminiscent of a service bell rung at a counter, while it also works as a desk clock. Like many Cartier signature pieces, it has been named after its shape.
Pierre Rainero, Director of Image, Style & Heritage at Cartier said: ‘The Cloche de Cartier watch illustrates Maison’s approach to shape, and how it is considered for its aesthetic, but also by appreciating all of its possible evocations. It highlights Maison’s talent at playing with simple shapes and revealing their aesthetic potential’.
The 100 Cloche watches released in 2006 would not be enough to satisfy the many collectors today. The market for exclusive and collectible watches has changed enormously in that regard.
The cloche in its purest form will be released in pink gold, yellow gold, and in platinum, it displays all of Cartier’s watchmaking codes: rail tracks, sword-shaped hands, and a closed-set cabochon on the winding crown.
The Cloche has stayed faithful to the original model’s finishes: satin-finished on the back, polished between the lugs or edges, it is powered by the 1917 MC mechanical movement, a caliber created in 2019.
The CPCP model from 2006 was the largest Cloche that Cartier ever made available and it had an excellent size, to be worn today, namely 37.15 x 28.75mm. The new Cloche collection has the same dimensions, so please refer to that wrist shot for a good size reference of the new models, since I have not handled and photographed these new models yet.
Like other models in the Cartier Privé line, Cartier has chosen to apply one of its watchmaking signatures, the skeleton, to this iconic watch: a true technical feat in the field that involves adapting this complication to the watch’s atypical shape, as La Maison has also done so perfectly with the Crash.
Not one but three skeleton models complete this Cloche collection. While it showcases the immediacy of an entirely open-worked dial, it required the Manufacture 1917 mechanical movement to be completely reworked into a very fine network of gears, visible through the transparent Roman numerals, now transformed into bridges.
The re-build caliber is now known as the 9626MC movement. The winding crown of the platinum version is, confirm Cartier Privé style, set with a ruby cabochon.
By converting the extravagant skeleton caliber, to the shape of the case of the Cloche, La Maison has delivered again another excellent example of ‘Haute Horlogerie’.
Although personally, I do wonder how long this predictable trick will remain interesting. This skeleton movement is exclusive and is so unique in its sort. that it is a pity to see it returning in so many different models, again and again. Even though this new Cloche skeleton is again exorbitant beautifully made!
The Cloche series consists of 100 pieces in yellow-, 100 pieces in pink gold, 100 pieces in platinum, 50 pieces in yellow gold/skeleton, 50 pieces in platinum/skeleton, and 30 pieces in platinum/skeleton/diamond set.
The total amount of Cloche watches will reach 420 copies, which may seem like a lot, these are still very small series for a brand like Cartier, especially compared to what other brands call a limited edition. Should you be interested in one of the new limited Cloche models, a timely reservation is highly recommended.
Availability: September 2021
Price: Yellow or pink gold – US$27,500, Platinum – US$31,000 (source SJX-Watches).