August 9, 2022
by Ariel Adams
Not long ago, Cartier reintroduced the Pasha family of products back into its watch collection, and the interesting vintage diver-themed dress watch is just as polarizing today as it ever was in the past. I happen to be on side “Pasha,” with a soft spot for how Cartier adopted the look of a canteen bottle-style diver’s watch case into a high-end luxury product. This particular reference CRWGPA0019 version of the Cartier Pasha is even more interesting and weird in a lot of ways, but it’s also rich with personality and character. In my opinion, it is hard not to really love these types of exotic statement watches because they are anything but boring. Just don’t lose the detachable grill…
When originally viewing the watch, I actually asked Cartier, “How much is a replacement grille for the Pasha Grille?” You see, one of the gimmicks of this timepiece is that the 18k yellow gold tick-tack-toe-style grille matrix over the dial is detachable. You just twist it and then it sort of unlocks and pulls out. I realized that the ease of losing such a part is likely high. Cartier didn’t immediately have information on replacement pricing, but you can see why this might be an interesting query if you fancy such a timepiece for personal ownership purposes.
The removable grille is the most notable novelty of this otherwise new watch that hearkens back to an original Cartier Pasha Grille from the 1980s, which has a fixed grille that cannot be removed. Cartier loves making jewelry items from common objects or military/industrial tools. Watch face grilles began back in the pocketwatch era as a means to protect delicate crystals from a shock that could shatter or crack them. Some early diving watches also had such grilles in order to protect their crystals from the inevitable hard and heavy objects that could smash into your wrist while using equipment underwater. By the 1980s, when Cartier originally introduced the Pasha, these objects were already old and antiquated, allowing for them to be both beautiful and nostalgic in jewelry form.
The Cartier Pasha watches of today are probably the nicest the brand has ever made, even if some older styles and looks are still awaiting a comeback. That said, Cartier has a range of Pasha sizes, as well as complication options including a new moonphase version that I will discuss in a different article. The Pasha Grille is a three-hand Pasha featuring Cartier’s caliber 1847 MC automatic movement that operates at 4Hz with about two days of power reserve. You can see the movement through the sapphire crystal exhibition window on the rear of the watch.
How do you feel the Pasha Grille looks without the grille? The idea here is that the watch can be worn as a more conservative 18k gold dress watch, or it can be “played up” with the addition of the matching gold grille, which gives the overall composition a very different and dangerous character. In that sense, the Cartier reference CRWGPA0019 is a very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of timepiece.
On the wrist, the watch is very comfortable at 41mm-wide and 9.5mm-thick in 18k yellow gold. The case is water resistant to 100 meters with an attached screw-down crown cap (with a blue sapphire crystal cabochon set in it) that opens up to reveal the actual crown, which is quite small by comparison. The case is made with Cartier’s QuickSwitch system to release the strap, and the watch even comes with two strap options (I am sure you can buy more) — a gray and a blue-colored alligator strap. The dial is all classic Pasha in a silver-tone with a gently textured dial and one of the most elegant dials Cartier produces, in my estimation. (I am a sucker for that combination of hands and hour marker font.) I don’t even mind how the brand integrated the date into the dial even though the window somewhat throws off the symmetry.
Cartier does dials very well, and the Pasha’s face is really part of the entire shape. It begins with the “square in circle” concept of the entire watch that marries a square shape inside a round shape (the case). Detailing on the dial is exceptional for most Cartier watches, and here we have great colors and textures (notice the custom date dial, for example). Even the slight number of applied elements, such as the four gold hour markers, help create visual interest and further depth to help prevent this otherwise expansive dial from looking too flat.
Cartier is actually pretty fairly priced when it comes to its gold watches when you compare them to many other equivalent brands. That still doesn’t mean that gold watches are affordable, but if you shop around, you can get great stuff like this for reasonable (and attainable) retail prices. I should note that, as of now, Cartier does not produce a steel version of the Pasha Grille, or other gold colors. Those may come, but Cartier is often careful about releasing too many versions of new watches at the same time. I expect the Pasha Grille to be a fun, exotic watch that, if successful, could be produced in other gold tones, but I am not sure there will ever be a steel one (even though, from a technical perspective, there is nothing stopping that from happening). Cartier does, however, produce steel-cased versions of the 41mm-wide Pasha in steel on a matching steel bracelet for around $7,000 USD.
Cartier has honestly made it challenging to choose a “weird” Pasha because there are more than a few of them, some with prices well over $100,00 (which includes things like diamonds or a tourbillon, or both). For those more interested in the playfulness of the design and the versatility options inherent in the strap and dial combinations, this Cartier Pasha Grille reference CRWGPA0019 is probably a good choice. It’s certainly a fun high-end watch that is simple for almost any audience to understand. Price is $18,900 USD. Learn more at the Cartier website here.