Cartier inevitably throw up something every year in Geneva that I find simply fun. This can be for any number of reasons, but in thinking back about it, more often than not, there is some sort of (non calibre-related) motion, or possibility thereof, involved.
This year proved no different, but in a completely unexpected way – firstly because the piece in question is quartz (the ‘fun’ pieces from Cartier for me have always been mechanical), and secondly because the ‘movement’ part is interactive, in a most unusual way.
Meet the Coussin de Cartier watch Ref: WJCS0011.The reference number is important, as it joins other ‘Coussin de Cartier Watch’ models, all with this name but all with, of course, different reference numbers.
The name of the collection is, as is Cartier’s wont with their shaped watches, related to the thing after which it is named – the cushion-case is both shape and name. The Coussin pieces in the regular collection have traditional gold (yellow or white) cases, in two sizes. ‘small’ (27.1 mm x 27.7 mm, with a thickness of 7.0 mm) and ‘medium’ (30.4 mm x 31.1 mm, with a thickness of 7.1 mm).
This new limited edition one, however, is very different. It has the same shape, but its case is not a hard case, but more appropriate to its ‘cushion’ name – it has a soft case that you can squeeze; like a cushion, its shape bounces back once you release it. It is also bigger. Click on this link to see it being demonstrated.
There are in fact two new cushion-y Coussins – one with diamonds, and the other with a mix of gemstones. The one I saw has a white gold case case measuring 39.3 mm x 32.0 mm with a thickness of 13.66 mm. It is set with a total of 5.45 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds on the case, dial, and the white gold ardillon buckle on the strap has a further 21 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.21 carats).
It is entirely paved with diamonds, which are like a mesh that you can press. The soft case is made of intertwined gold links that are flexible, so that the case collapses and then retracts to its original shape when released. How is this case created? The gold mesh is 3D printed. In order to set the over 1,000 stones, the surface has to be ‘frozen’ (resin is put into the mesh) before they are put in. The resin is then melted away. It took Cartier two years to develop the technique to do this.
The coloured gemstone version which I did not get to see is set with 21 emeralds, 18 blue tourmaline, 276 tsavorites and 536 sapphires, and comes on a purple-green gradient calfskin strap. Each version is limited to 20 pieces. The quartz movement is protected by a resin seal.
It is a really fun watch. I don’t know if it was intended as such, but there is something quite addictive about pressing it and seeing it bounce back into shape, and it generates both interest and delight. Both versions are limited to 20 pieces each, and the price of the diamond one is EUR 60,000.