“Stretched, shrunk, and transformed into objects of fantasy with unbridled creative license” are the bon mots Cartier uses to describe its new Libre collection for ladies, debuting at SIHH 2018 in January. “Libre” means “free,” and with these new additions to its Bagnoire and Crash timepiece families, five new watches in all, the watch-and-jewelry giant takes a truly freeform approach to some of its classical case shapes.
The first of these five limited-edition timepieces, all designed in Cartier’s Watch Creation Studio in Paris, is the Baignoire Débordante, with a white-gold case surrounded by a radiating ring of open “petals,” topped off with sparkling diamonds and black spinels. The movement, as in all four Baignoire models, is quartz; the watch is a numbered edition of 50 pieces.
The Baignoire Infinie is basically a new take on the existing Baignoire Allongée watch with the thin, curving elliptical case stretched into a circle and a minuscule black dial at its center. The white-gold case and the dial are paved with baguette-cut diamonds, white mother-of-pearl, Tahitian mother-of-pearl, and black spinels. The Infinie is limited to 20 numbered pieces.
Shimmering diamonds and black spinels also intertwine on the Baignoire Etoilée, with a bracelet made up of suspended strands of precious stones that give the impression of black melting into white. The white-gold case, framing another miniature black dial, is set with double rows of the same stones. This watch is a limited, numbered edition of 15 pieces.
The oval-shaped, white-gold case of the Baignoire Interdite is dominated by oversized Roman numerals, coated in shiny black ADLC, that wrap around its diamond-paved bezel like ribbons, partially obscuring the miniature dial in the center. Like the Débortante, this one is limited to 50 numbered pieces.
The new Crash Radieuse is the latest and boldest take on Cartier’s popular offbeat model, the Crash, which launched in 1967 and was inspired by an actual damaged Cartier watch. This version adds gadroons to the hallmark crumpled dial, further stretches the large, distorted Roman numerals, and adds a carved “shockwave” pattern in the centre of the dial. The Crash Radieuse has an old-school yellow-gold case befitting its Swinging ’60s origins and is the only watch in the Libre collection powered by a mechanical, manual-winding movement, Cartier Caliber MC 8970. It is limited to 50 numbered pieces. Prices for the Libre watches are expected to be announced at SIHH 2018 in January.