Cartier revives an old icon with the new 2021 Cloche de Cartier. It is planned to arrive in stores in September later this year. Originally launched in 1920, the “cloche” when placed horizontally is reminiscent of a service bell rung at a counter.
Review: Cloche de Cartier
The Case and Dial
The new Cloche de Cartier is available in 3 models. Pink gold and anthracite dial, yellow gold and champagne dial and a platinum and cream dial. The case measures a compact 37.15mm by 28.75mm, relatively small by today’s standards, but sensible in retaining the dress watch styling of the 20s.
The case finishing is mostly mirror polished, apart from the caseback and the 6 o’clock side of the case in brushed finish.
On the dial, “rail track” and hour markings are adapted to the dial’s asymmetrical shape and the crown is set with a cabochon. The Cloche is unusual in that it may be read whilst worn on the wrist and can be removed and placed on a table to be transformed into a “desk clock”.
Featured here is the yellow gold reference which comes with a champagne-coloured dial with a sunburst radial finish. A traditional time-only watch, the Cloche de Cartier dispenses with the central seconds hand and is only fit with a set of blued steel sword hands. Black roman numerals are used to mark the hours while a minutes railway track lines the periphery of the dial.
Also used on Cartier’s small sized watches, the thin in-house calibre 1917 MC first launched in 2019 is used in the Cloche. The hand-wound movement measures 2.9mm thick and is used for ladies’ timepieces as well as the Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique and the Cartier Privé Tonneau. The 38-hour power reserve movement beats at a frequency of 21,600 vph. A quick search on Google to view the movement will yield little result since it’s almost impossible to find any images of the movement exposed.
The watch is classically Cartier, and has a novel case shape which its Prive line is known for. It is priced at S$39,400 in gold and S$44,600 in platinum and is limited to 100 pieces per model. The small production number and the novel case shape is the biggest sell point of the watch, but in comparison, a gold Tank Louis Cartier with the same movement is approximately 40% less expensive.
With this in mind, the Cloche might not be the model of choice for those who want to stretch their dollar, but for those who collects odd shaped classics, the price premium for novelty and scarcity can well be justified.