This year Cartier surprised us with a new collection, the Clé de Cartier. Clé is French for ‘key’ and refers to the winding crown of this watch. Cartier positions the Clé de Cartier line-up in the same range of iconic collections as the Santos and Tank. Very ambitious, but Cartier is one of those watch manufacturers that probably can live up to it, creating a new iconic model that is. For designing the Clé de Cartier, the maison was inspired by the perfect circle.

Clé de CartierCartier Clé de Cartier

The first thing that came to mind when seeing the Clé de Cartier from the front is the C-shape of the case, as Omega called it with their Constellation line-up of the late 1960s, early 1970s. However, the curves of this 2015 Clé de Cartier are a bit more elegant. When the watch is being held sideways, the beautiful sleek – almost organic – will show you that this is by no means the same as those 1960s/1970s C-shaped cases.

Besides the interesting smooth case design, the one thing that immediately grabs your attention is the winding crown. As Cartier puts it in their press release, it is one of the most distinctive features of the Clé de Cartier. The crown of the Clé de Cartier is set with a sapphire and it is being ‘crown guarded’ by the long and sleek case band on the right side of the watch. A very elegant solution.

Operating the crown is easy. Just pull the crown and turn it to set the time and date. Push the crown back and turn it again to its original position and you will hear a ‘click’ and are ready to go. It works very easy, but you will have to get used to turning something that is not round or octagonal or whatsoever. At first it feels a bit odd to turn something rectangular. Probably all a matter of getting used to.

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Clé de CartierOn the front, you will see a beautiful designed dial. An inner circle with a wavy pattern (guilloché) with Cartier and Automatic printed on it. The circle in the middle carries Roman numerals, in blue, while the outer circle has the minute tracks in black. The sleek blue hands perfectly match the style of the Clé de Cartier case and the color matches with that of the Roman numerals, of course. The outer circle has a light grain pattern. Positioned on 6 o’clock you will find the date aperture, surrounded by a guilloché engraved frame. Although all these separate design elements sound a bit ‘cluttering’ when you see it in writing, the watch itself has a beautiful clean and balanced design. Both for the case and dial. The entire design is, as mentioned, based on circles.

CartierCle-1 Clé de CartierThe Clé de Cartier is a watch for men and women. The men’s versions have a 40mm diameter and have a self-winding movement, caliber 1847MC (Maison Creation). Available in white gold and pink gold. The ladies versions are either in 31mm or 35mm diameter. The 35mm diameter versions (white gold with a diamond bezel or white gold and completely set with diamonds, as pictured) have the same movement as the gents version. The 31mm diameter version has a different automatic movement, caliber yet unknown. The 31mm version is available in pink gold with a pink gold bracelet and a diamond studded bezel.

Clé de CartierCaliber 1847MC in the 35mm and 40mm versions of the Clé de Cartier is Cartier’s new in-house developed and produced movement. 1847 refers to the year of the founding of Cartier’s Maison Creation. The rotating mass winds the movement in both directions and has been finished with ‘vagues de Genève’, a wavy pattern. Caliber 1847MC has a 42-hour power reserve.

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Information regarding pricing was not available at the time of publication. Once we will receive the official prices, we will update this article accordingly.

More photos can be found below in the gallery. More information can be found on

Robert-Jan Broer
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Robert-Jan Broer

Founder & Editor at Fratello Watches
Robert-Jan Broer, born in 1977, watch collector and author on watches for over a decade. Founder of Fratello Watches in 2004.
Robert-Jan Broer
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