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 collection reintroduced the manufacture’s remarkable history to a level of watchmaking not seen since CPCP. Crowdpleasers like the Tank Cintrée, Tonneau, and Asymétrique came first. Last year, the collection touched on a more eccentric bit of their past and a chic-nerd’s delight: the Cloche.
French for bell, the Cloche was first a worn garment, introduced in 1921. The dial was rotated in order to make the 12 collinear with the crown. This allow its wearer to more easily distinguish the time at a glance. That design evolved into a few tiny numbers of wrist-worn watches shortly thereafter. More recently the design was revived in 1995 and 2007 in yellow gold, the former with a 200 example run and the latter a 100 example run for CPCP.
While the simple case shape and dial rotation are highly unique, this Privé Cloche is elevated through a complete skeletonization. Bridges are radially brushed and the anglage is wide, yet hand finishing and complication are decidedly not the aim here. The calibre was created specifically for this shape, as Director of Design Marie-Laure Cérède stated, ‘A new functional architecture was therefore designed, to perfectly match that of the watch. Thanks to excellent cooperation, we were able to give priority to aesthetic emotion over technical perception in this new skeleton version.’ In other words, the Cloche Skeleton is not meant to be a technical discourse. Emotion of design reigns supreme, here and in all that is Cartier. One small detail I just love; every surface is highly polished except for the flat side at 9, which is brushed. This is to make less obvious small marks that will result from using your Cloche as a desk clock, not unlike its original use case.
This example is straight from the AD (or do we call it a boutique in Cartier’s case?) to the secondary market. Its case appears not to have seen a day on wrist. It comes with its full set from a well-regarded Swiss retailer.
Find this Cloche Skeleton here from K2 Luxury listed as POA.