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The Mesmerising Cartier Libre Collection

Cartier reworks its classic wristwatch designs in these spectacular objet d’art.

Set to debut in January at the 2018 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH), Cartier’s new Libre collection for ladies has taken the liberty to engage in some unbridled creativity. The maison’s fascinating edition of five takes on the classic shapes of Cartier wristwatches, reworking them as hyperbolic artworks in four new Baignoire iterations and a single Crash Radieuse. Beneath the contorted shapes and exaggerated frames, five stunning bejewelled objet d’art have a story to tell:

Crash Radieuse

Besides the Crash Skeleton, which made its debut in 2015, Cartier’s Crash wristwatch never saw another variation until the Crash Radieuse in 18k yellow gold. Of the many myths and tales surrounding the origins of Cartier’s Crash timepieces, one story details how inspiration struck when a Cartier Bagnoire wristwatch was damaged in a car crash in the late Sixties, with its melted metal case distorting from the fiery impact. The peculiar looking piece found its way back to Cartier, and the rest was surely history. Retaining its characteristically Daliesque case, the psychedelic new edition is updated with concentric black lacquered lines, rippling through its silver dial and case like a shockwave. The 50-piece Crash Radieuse is powered by a manual 8970 MC made by Jaeger-LeCoultre.

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Baignoire Etoilée

French for “starry bath”, the Baignoire Etoilée’s white diamonds and rare black spinels cascade like a shower of stars. The jewels are set in a white gold case and bracelet, meeting a black textured dial in the middle. Limited to just 15 pieces, the elegant jewelled watch is powered by a quartz movement.

Baignoire Débordante

Like its English translation, “overflowing bath”, the Baignoire Débordante is a vision of abundance, with a lattice of black spinels and diamonds erupting from its 18k white gold-encased oval black dial like a sunburst. Showcasing a stunning interplay between light and dark is an ombre-like fade from black spinels to white diamonds. Available in only 50 pieces, the Baignoire Débordante contains a quartz movement.

Baignoire Infinie

The “infinite bath”, or the Baignoire Infinie, features a hypnotic mosaic of mother of pearl, black spinels and baguette-cut diamonds. Inspired by the elongated Baignoire Allongée, the Baignoire Infinie eliminates the curves of its predecessor, offering a streamlined finish and a fresh, monochromatic hue. A miniscule black dial lies at its core, encircled by a ring of diamonds. Also quartz, this piece is limited to 20.

Baignoire Interdite

In the Baignoire Interdite, or the “forbidden bath”, glossy black ADLC-coated Roman numerals are embedded within its paved diamond-set bezel for a striking visual contrast. In this jewelled expression, the classic Baignoire shaped dial has been turned 90 degrees to its side. Also powered by a quartz, the Baignoire Interdite is limited to 50 pieces.

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