Cartier Cloche de Cartier, Yellow Gold

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Part of a limited series of just 200 pieces, this Cloche de Cartier reference 8876 dates back to the 1990s and is a pleasingly classic example with a yellow gold case and silvered dial. It wears a dial with the coveted Paris mark, situating it in an era previous to the redesigned Collection Privée Cartier Paris. Known for its bell-shaped silhouette, the intriguing design allows it to be read both while on the wrist or when turned on its side and placed on a surface to function as a desk clock.

Cartier Collection Privée

So, what did the Collection Privée Cartier Paris stand for? Digging into its rich archives, the jeweller recreated some of its most iconic pieces, many of which had been ignored for several decades.

This spanned from their more classic designs – such as the Tank or Santos – to more obscure ones, such as their Tank Monopoussoir Chronograph, which was first produced as a unique piece in 1935. Due to the prolific output of the early Cartier workshops, there was plenty to build on for the collection. There’s no exact figure for how many different models were produced, but we were able to find at least eight different executions of the Tortue, which gives you a sense how many different expressions were imagined.

Beyond its dedication to recreating iconic designs, the Collection Privée also displayed a renewed focus on what lay behind the caseback. Having long relied on quartz technology sourced externally, Cartier did not possess the watchmaking know-how or facilities to create high-quality movements. As such, they relied on a range of specialised manufacturers who supplied the French jeweller with manual-winding, time-only calibres, while also helping them develop a range of complications, from jump hours to monopusher chronographs.

Though the idea of in-house watchmaking has gained traction in recent times, relying on external suppliers has long been the favoured approach for those looking for high-quality movements. Until recently, even Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin still used a Lemania 2310 base for their chronographs.