It’s no small thing for a company with the watchmaking pedigree of Cartier to introduce an entirely new collection of men’s timepieces – this is, after all, the brand that has produced such iconic and historically significant timepieces as the Santos de Cartier, the Tank and the Ballon Bleu. And so it was with considerable anticipation that Cartier’s introduction of a new collection for men – Drive de Cartier – was received at this year’s SIHH at Geneva in January.
The first thing to notice, of course, is the case shape, a distinguishing feature in the design of all Cartier watches. The cushion shape of the Drive de Cartier’s case is the most significant departure from earlier collections, but it naturally retains the hallmarks of a Cartier piece – beautifully proportioned, Roman numerals, guilloche inner dial and Fine Watchmaking versions.
The “drive” appellation, meanwhile, has a double meaning, referring both to the subtle design inspiration provided by vintage motor cars – the patterning of the guilloché dial resembling the design of a radiator grill, the domed crystal, counter at 6 o’clock and the winding crown shaped like a bolt – but also the “inner drive” of the men Cartier sees as the likely audience for this collection.
It’s a collection for men who prize the finer things in life and for many the new shape will be more “accessible” for a timepiece of this standard. Drive is another evolution for the House that has always perfectly balanced design aesthetic and watchmaking craft.
The Drive de Cartier models introduced were the automatic model in 18-carat pink gold or stainless steel case with white or gray dial; the small complications model featuring large date, retrograde second time zone and day/night indicator; and finally the Fine Watchmaking model, the Drive de Cartier Flying Tourbillon.