Cartier shaped watches generally take their name from tangible objects or living beings. There’s the Tortue (tortoise), the Tub (bathtub), the Crash (car wreck) and now, the Cushion, for cushion – except this time the watch takes on the properties of the object that gave it its name. A limited edition version of the Cartier Cushion is compressible, like a real padded cushion. It has a soft case made up of interlocking gold links that are flexible, so the case collapses and then retracts back to its original shape when touched.
It’s like a little sponge, except it’s gold and entirely paved with diamonds or precious stones. The diamond version is set with 5.45 carats of brilliant-cut gems. The colored gemstone version is set with 21 emeralds, 18 blue tourmalines, 276 tsavorites and 536 sapphires, and comes on a green-violet gradient calfskin strap. Each release is limited to 20 pieces. The quartz movement is protected by a resin seal. The cases measure 39.3mm x 31.9mm.
Cushion coins in the regular collection have non-flexible hard gold (yellow or white) cases, measuring either 30.44mm x 33.78mm or 27.13mm x 17.66mm. There are versions set with white diamonds, a mix of black and white diamonds or green and blue gemstones (tsavorites and Paraiba tourmalines) set in a swirling spiral around the bezel. The stones are cut in precise gradient sizes to match the swirl pattern.
For these pieces, Cartier used a clever triangular frame, in which the gems are held in place by discreet golden triangles rather than claws, so that more of the gem is visible above the surface. Just for fun, the tsavorites on one and the black diamonds on the other are set upside down, with pavilions pointing up for an edgy, studded look.
Also just for fun, Cartier has reworked its cult Crash watch this year in a psychedelic animal theme. The Crash Tigrée, inspired by African wildlife, is set with diamonds in a pattern of irregular stripes, juxtaposed with rivers of blue and green enamel. Several enamelling processes have been used, in particular opaque, translucent or with color gradients. On the bezel, the scratches are in champlevé enamel. The case is in yellow gold, and it is set with 1.64 carats of diamonds. La Tigrée is a limited and numbered edition of 50 pieces. The Crash, created by Cartier London in 1967, is one of the brand’s most successful shaped watches. It’s a hot collector’s item on the secondary market right now, in part because of its rarity. It was only made in very limited editions.