It seems like a simple idea: take 12 and, instead of aligning it to the top of a watch, align it to the point at which your eye naturally rests when a watch is on your wrist. But the effect is profound. This play on true north brings with it just enough interruption to expectation to be deeply engaging from a design perspective. Not only that, but it’s surprisingly intuitive to read on wrist (thanks again, Mr Walton). Vacheron nailed the same trick in the 1921, only they call it a driver’s watch. Cartier? We call it art.
Cartier’s Privé Collection has been lighting on fire the hearts of enthusiast in recent years, revisiting the heights of their past with a modern lens. The Asymetrique is one of its most whimsical-chic designs, released in 1936 and intended to make glancing the time on-wrist just that slight bit easier. This started as function, but became hallmark of French design esoterics. The Asymetrique was revisited 1999 as both left and right handed versions in 99 examples each, then 2006 with 250 yellow gold examples. This new Privé Asymetrique came in platinum, red, and yellow gold, in 100 examples each.
The Privé case is slightly larger and slightly thinner you might expect, 47.2x26mm and just 6mm tall here in platinum. The details are significant also, I just love how Swiss Made is wedged at the acute angle under 6. Then the two dots under 12 and above 6, just to make certain you get the right corner of the watch as 12 on your quick glance. And with a case like this, good luck finding aftermarket straps. I don’t think the Asymetrique can be evaluated by any kind of logical or even objective lens, it is an object of desire. It has been divisive since release, but surely all worthwhile art is.
This example has light surface wear but that’s about all. There are a few tiny hairlines across the highly polished case upper. Otherwise, as new. It comes with a full set from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Privé Asymetrique here from S. Song for 40000 USD.