“Well ain’t that pretty” I thought when checking out this new high-jewelry piece from Cartier this year. “Too bad it is a woman’s watch.” You could almost mistake it as a men’s piece given its 42.8mm wide size. Called “Temps Moderne de Cartier,” this watch is a high-end testament to the classic film “Modern Times” by Charlie Chaplin.
The timepiece is curiously cool and full of the whimsy and playfulness that has marked high-end jewelry watches for a while. No longer is it OK to merely have a watch with loads of precious stones all over it. These days that watch has to do something fun and unexpected to be considered worthy of attention. It just got too easy to make a nice plain jewelry watch I guess.
Cartier has a number of such watches this year. A good example in another piece is a spinning dial-mounted diamond-encrusted panther which is actually the automatic rotor. Yes, another watch for women. While that piece is cool the Cartier Modern Times really caught my attention for its look and commentary on watch culture. While the movie Modern Times was about factories and large machinery – the watch is about movements and gears.
In the video you can really see what the watch does. Take your hand and rotate the bezel to actually make the gears on the dial move. One gear contains the watch dial (with a Swiss quartz movement inside of it). That dial is able to spin all around the face of the watch as you play with the bezel. The operation is smooth and great to see in action. Really a neat little item and I love that Cartier made this.
The Temps Moderne de Cartier watch case again is about 43mm wide and in an 18k white gold case covered with diamonds on many parts of it. The one-piece lugs are attached to a white fabric strap and there are more diamonds on the 18k white gold buckle and the lugs. The dial elements are done in 18k white gold with more diamonds and a mother-of-pearl background. In addition to being all “geary,” the dial is quite beautiful as a jewelry item.
Overall the Temps Moderne de Cartier watch has about 3.7 carats of diamonds (508 brilliant-cut stones). That is a lot of ice and will result in a rather pricey proposition. That is OK – the second I handle a watch like this I know it is for 99% appreciation, 1% acquisition. The very few people buying this get it because they know other people will marvel over it – no matter how much it exists for novelty purposes. Despite it clearly being a women’s watch I wouldn’t be too surprised to see dude’s wearing it in certain parts of the world…