Cartier, long known for producing timepieces that captured the stylish zeitgeist of their respective eras, grabbed the watch world’s attention in the go-go 1980s with the introduction of the Pasha in 1985, a watch based on a historical model from 1932. The model’s intriguing story continues this year with the introduction at Watches & Wonders 2020 of the all-new Cartier Pasha de Cartier collection, encompassing models for both gents and ladies.
The story of the Pasha in a nutshell: The first one was named after the client who commissioned it, the Sultan (or “Pasha”) of Marrakech, who approached Louis Cartier about creating a luxurious watch that he could wear for his royal duties but also wear in the swimming pool without damaging it; this model, with its groundbreaking screwed-down crown cap attached to a small chain, is regarded as Cartier’s first truly waterproof watch. It joined the regular collection in 1943 and ebbed and flowed in popularity until it was redesigned in 1985 by the legendary Gérald Genta, who expanded on it to develop the feminine Miss Pasha series. The Pasha is notable for its unconventional design in which a round case and dial is offset by a square minute track — essentially, Cartier created a hit by fitting a square peg into a round hole. The new Pasha de Cartier collection revives the highlights of the 1980s design and adds some contemporary flair, along with modern in-house movements, and even introduces a skeletonized version.
The chained, screwed crowns of the new Pasha de Cartier models have been updated with the blue sapphires and spinels that are now common on modern Cartier crowns. Underneath the hinged crown cover is a hidden area in which the owner can personalize his or her watch with engraved initials — a subtle personalization visible only when the crown is disengaged. The dial is characterized by its four large numerals at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock in a lilting Deco font and the four-sided filigree minute track, all swept over by Cartier’s blued diamond-shaped hands.
Inside the watches, Cartier’s Caliber 1847 MC (MC for “Manufacture Cartier,” 1847 for the year of the company’s founding) ticks behind a clear sapphire caseback. The self-winding movement, which stores a power reserve of 40 hours, features anti-magnetic nickel phosphorus components in the escapement mechanism, along with a shield made from a paramagnetic alloy. Together, they render the movement effectively resistant to the powerful magnetic fields a watch encounters during daily wear.
The collection offers a breadth of sizes (35 mm for ladies, several with diamond-settings, 41 mm for men), case materials (steel, and yellow, rose, and white gold), and strap and bracelet options; the Pasha de Cartier Skeleton and Skeleton Tourbillon models are outfitted with openworked movements in which the large Roman numerals and hour markers are formed by the bridges.
The Pasha de Cartier watches are all equipped with Cartier’s recently developed, patent-pending SwitchLink system, introduced on 2018’s redesigned Santos models, which allows the wearer to re-size the watch without using a tool. At the touch of a button located on each link, its attachment bar is unlatched and the link can be added or removed, thus enabling quick and easy adjustment. Prices range from $5,700 for the 35-mm models in steel, to $16,600 for the 41-mm models in gold, to $25,300 for the gold skeletons.