Cartier may be one of the largest luxury brands in the world and their turnover of some of their models may exceed the total turnover of of other well known brands, La Maison has certainly not forgotten that exclusivity is highly appreciated by part of their clientele. Limited Editions whether they’re created to celebrate a certain event, or just launched as an exclusivity, have always been part of Cartier’s marketing.
We made a line up of 9 very interesting but very hard to get watches, that were released over the years.
TORTUE MONO POUSSOIR (13 pieces)
The Tortue MonoPoussoir and Tortue Minute repeater were Cartier’s first wrist watches that had a complication. Both were released around 1928. These vintage pieces, when found at an auction are quite expensive, but Cartier did amazing re-issues of both for the CPCP collection. Especially the smaller model of the Tortue Mono Poussoir, with case dimensions of 43 x 35mm and creamy white very fine guilloche dial, comes very close to the style of the original model.
For the re-opening of the Flagship Store in Paris in 2005, Cartier launched this striking model in white gold with salmon dial. Just thirteen pieces were made and are probably still in private collections. The mechanical caliber of both models, (the more regular and the limited edition), was made by THA, a company that was formed by ‘Halter, Journe & Flageollet’. To my knowledge this caliber 045MC was only used for the various Cartier ‘Tortue Mono Poussoir’ models, the ‘Tank Mono Poussoir’ and for the ‘DeBethune Mono Poussoir’.
ROTONDE DE CARTIER TOURBILLON MYSTERIEUSE (50 pieces)
One of the most mysterious new watches of this year is without any doubt the ‘Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon’. With a case size of 45mm, the watch is a little larger, but visible só impressive, that the extra three millimeters don’t really matter. The flying tourbillon turning once on it’s own axis, every minute, is candy to the eye.
Completely free moving, in a see thru round chamber, without any visible connection to a gear train. The new In House caliber, developed for the Mysterious Tourbillon, passed all the heavy testing stages, like for instance, the drop-test on a hard surface, which make the Rotonde Mysterious Tourbillon not more fragile than any other watch in the collection. But when one realises that just 50 pieces are produced of this really amazing time piece, I am afraid that it will be a real battle to get one.
What can we say about the little Crash watch?
While the Crash is for most men too small to wear, I personally know a few collectors that have the watch in their catalogue and do wear it, now and then. When these watches show up at auctions, they always sell and nowadays, they do not get cheaper.
Number one of the most desired Crash watches, is the in 1967 in London designed and produced version of the Crash watch, with London written on the dial. It’s very, very rare and measures two millimeter larger than the later produced, French Crash watch. The London model also has another way of writing the number 4, than the French version. ( IV compared to IIII ) Quite a difference.
While the French version was launched several times, the amount of available pieces was always very limited. Just 13 Pieces were presented for the re-opening of the Rue de la Paix Store in 2005 and before that another batch of 300 pieces, all in yellow gold, were launched in 1991. In the meantime there have been quite a few custom orders produced in white and even in pink gold, since the watch is just impossible to get from stock. This year Cartier released several ladies models with diamonds and diamond set bracelets.
BALLON BLEU TOURBILLON JUMPING HOUR (50 pieces)
The Ballon Bleu de Cartier with Double Jumping Second Time Zone Watch, was only launched this year, in a limited edition of 50 pieces in white- and 50 pieces in pink gold. The watch is not a straight forward tourbillon,
like the Ballon Bleu tourbillon from 2008, but it has been designed like a regulator. With the central minute hand and the two jumping hour counters– one for your home time zone and one for the city you’re visiting. Like all Cartier tourbillon watches, it is stamped with the Geneva Seal. Eye candy for collectors.
PASHA DAY & NIGHT (25 pieces)
The Pasha de Cartier model itself dates back to 1985, when it was released as a time only watch, with and without a grid. Later on a couple of Pasha models with complications were added to the collection. The Day & Night is a very attractive visual complication and was released in 1997.
Svend Andersen created the visual part of the watch, while the caliber, a P15, was made for Cartier by Frederique Piguet. A few ‘Day and Night’ Pasha watches were released before the launch of the CPCP series in 1998, but the model really got fame when the white gold with salmon dial, yellow gold with white dial and pink gold with dark dial models were added just a few years later. These extra ordinary watches were produced in a limited edition of 25 pieces in each color.
BALLON BLEU AMERICA (20 pieces)
Launched in 2009, for 100 Years America, an extra large version of the Ballon bleu.
Hand engraved eagle motif on a white gold dial. Special engraved back. Automatic movement – Cal 049. White gold double adjustable deployant buckle. Limited and numbered edition of just 20 pieces.
POCKET TOURBILLON (10 pieces)
The Tourbillon as a pocket watch amazed everybody when it was presented in 2012. The watch that has a 59mm white gold, manually polished case and domed sapphire crystal on both sides, feels incredible in the hand, but it’s on the large side, to be worn as a pocket watch.
A rock crystal arc for display on a desk, solves that problem and it comes with the watch and makes a spectacular display. The in house 9436MC caliber delivers 8 days of power. Just 10 pieces have been manufactured of this timepiece.
SANTOS DUMONT 90th. ANNIVERSARY (90 pieces)
The Santos Dumont, Cartier first commercially released watch, was during the last 20 years available in
a very flat case measuring 24 x 34 mm. It was available before 1998 in yellow gold without Paris underneath the brand name, from 1998 in the Collection Privée Cartier Paris series, in yellow gold or in platinum,
both with Paris on the dial and produced in pretty low numbers but not as a limited edition and it was available in platinum, with a salmon dial and Breguet Style hands, released in 1996 as a limited edition of 90 pieces, for the 90th. anniversary of the model. All these Dumont models share the same case and Fredrique Piguet 021MC movement but only this version is hard to find.
PASHA 8 DAYS TOURBILLON/CHRONO (50 pieces)
This 46mm Pasha de Cartier is the largest Pasha watch, ever produced by Cartier. The white gold case houses the 8 days 9438MC caliber.
Limited Editions of just 50 pieces are for a Maison like Cartier, really small. Especially when one considers that the brand has over 300 Boutiques worldwide. Personally I find it really good that Cartier is still doing these small editions and I hope that we will see more, also in the mainstream collection, in the future.