In a fortnight or thereabouts at the SIHH 2018 Cartier will formally launch its new Libre Collection with five inaugural timepieces that, in the spirit of the ‘stretching, shrinking and transforming’ ethos of this new collection family, render existing models Baignoire and Crash into new forms. The creative source of this new collection is Cartier’s Paris Watch Creation Studio.
The five new limited edition timepieces are the Baignoire Débordante, Baignoire Infinie, Baignoire Etoilée, Baignoire Interdite and Crash Radieuse. All four Baignoire models have quartz movements but the Crash, doesn’t.
The Baignoire Débordante, in a numbered limited edition of fifty pieces, features a white-gold case surrounded by a radiating openworked ring of ‘petals’ of diamonds and black spinels.
The new Baignoire Infinie’s ‘base’ which is its inspiration is the Baignoire Allongée. A white gold case surrounds a dial with baguette-cut diamonds, white mother of pearl, Tahitian mother of pearl, and black spinels. This will be in a numbered limited edition of twenty pieces.
The diamond and black spinel theme continues into the Baignoire Etoilée, which has a bracelet of suspended strands of these stones, creating a veritable rippling cascading stream of stones across the wearer’s wrist. The case is also white gold, as per the other Baignoire models. This will be in a numbered limited edition of fifteen pieces.
The white gold case of the Baignoire Interdite is covered and dominated by black ADLC coated oversized Roman numerals that wrap around a diamond decked bezel. Like the Etoilée, it is perhaps more about the overall design than being able to tell the time quickly at a glance. The Interdite will be limited to fifty numbered pieces.
The popular Crash models now have a new companion, the Radieuse, which has new gadroons (a decorative motif consisting of convex curves in a series), along with Roman numerals that have been further elongated and distorted, and a carved ‘shockwave’ pattern in the centre of the dial. Unlike the other new models, the Crash Radieuse is in a yellow gold case and, also unlike the others, it has a manual-wind movement inside, the Calibre MC8 8970. It will limited to fifty numbered pieces.