August 13, 2022
by Ariel Adams
One of the truly novel new Pasha watches from Cartier in 2022 is the interesting Cartier Pasha Moon Phases. The dress watches come in the new 41mm-wide Pasha case and marry a smooth bezel (as opposed to a rotating bezel) with an elegant dial that features a moonphase display complication. Cartier has introduced the Pasha Moon Phases in two models: the steel-cased reference CRWSPA0030 and the 18k rose gold-cased reference CRWGPA0026. I go hands-on with both pieces today.
Watches with moonphase complications are popular not because the indicator is particularly useful to most people, but rather because the complication is highly emotional in value and also happens to look quite pretty. Combine that with the fact that the watch industry has a really good understanding of how to make moonphase complications, and you can start to get an idea of why these watches are so popular. Even Rolex, which discontinued most of its current collection of Cellini watches, continues to make the Cellini Moonphase watch (in very small numbers). There is just something about this minor celestial complication that has continued to capture the imagination.
Note that the Pasha Moon Phases watch is not the only current Pasha collection timepiece to feature a moonphase complication. There is one more rather strange Cartier Pasha model, the reference CRWGPA0022 that comes in a 38mm-wide 18k yellow gold case. It has a rotating diver’s-style bezel and a mechanical movement that has a full calendar (date, day of the week, and month), along with a moonphase indicator below the 12 o’clock position. This very much looks like a throwback model and takes us back to the 1990s. It also happens to cost nearly $38,000 USD. These two 41mm-wide Cartier Pasha Moon Phases watches are certainly more modern in their look and feel, and more affordable.
Powering the watches is the Cartier caliber 1904-LU MC, which is the brand’s standard 4Hz, two-day power reserve automatic with a moonphase module on it. The dial indicates only the time with hours and minutes (no seconds) and has a stylized moonphase display located above the 6 o’clock position on dial. Speaking of the dial, Cartier puts a lot of decorative emphasis here in terms of the textures dial, use of colors, and the overall focus on filling up visual space in a way that other Pasha models don’t do as well. So from a dial symmetry and design standpoint, I think Cartier did a great job here. I also like the very legible blue hands and matching hour markers.
At 41mm-wide the Pasha Moon Phases is a sizeable watch, making it a very modern dress watch in that regard. I like it, but there are some people who seem to exclusively like smaller dress watches. That’s OK — Cartier has those people covered, as well. The 41mm-wide case is otherwise comfortable and meant to be seen. This is very much an emotional statement watch, so being “discreet” on the wrist is hardly part of its commercial mandate.
Part of the new Pasha case includes a “QuickSwitch” tool-less strap release system. It works well and Cartier allows you to make use of this feature by including both a blue and gray-colored alligator strap with each of the watches. There is a metal bracelet that comes for the 41mm-wide Pasha case in steel, so if you really like that look, I believe Cartier will sell the bracelet separately if you want to pair it with a watch like the Pasha Moon Phases. The case is also 9.55mm-thick and water resistant to 100 meters with a view of the movement through the sapphire caseback window.
I think some people see the Pasha as a sports watch case, while others see it more as a dress watch case. In reality (and I’ve talked about this before), it is both. The heritage of the case is as a diving watch. Well, at least a modern watch that celebrated the distinctive look of certain vintage diving watches that promoted water resistance not through a screw-down crown, but rather via a screw-down cap that goes over the crown. Accordingly, the blue spinel cabochon-set crown cap unscrews, to create a smaller actual crown inside.
Cartier positions these two Pasha Moon Phases 41mm-wide watches as more elevated versions of the standard three-hand versions of the 41mm-wide Pasha. For that reason, I understand the pricing and how the brand positions the watch with both the steel and gold versions commanding a roughly $3,000 premium over similarly equipped three-hand versions of this same watch. That said, I think that with even a 15% lower price, these watches would feel a bit more competitive given some of the other offerings in the market and where Cartier has traditionally been able to offfer value. Nevertheless, these are very handsome moonphase watches and make excellent use of the new 41mm-wide Cartier Pasha case. Price for the Cartier Pasha Moon Phases watch reference in steel is CRWSPA0030 $8,900 USD, and the price for the reference in 18k rose gold is $20,400 USD. Learn more at the Cartier website here.