Cloche de Cartier

In the storied world of haute horlogerie, few names carry the weight and prestige of Cartier.  A maison that has not only defined luxury but has also consistently pushed the boundaries of watchmaking innovation.  Among Cartier’s impressive repertoire of timepieces, the Cloche de Cartier stands out as a paragon of elegance, a blend of distinctive design and meticulous craftsmanship.  The yellow gold version of the Cloche de Cartier is a watch that pays homage to the brand’s rich history while asserting its relevance in contemporary watchmaking.

Photography by Ronald Chew

by Terence Tee

  • May 21, 2024
Cartier Cloche

A Case Like No Other

The first thing that strikes you about the Cloche de Cartier is its unique case shape.  Unlike the conventional round, rectangular, or even tonneau-shaped cases, the Cloche is shaped like a bell—’cloche’ being the French word for bell.  This distinctive shape is not merely an aesthetic choice but also a testament to Cartier’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of design.  The yellow gold case of the Cloche de Cartier measures 37.15mm by 28.75mm with a thickness (or should it be thinness?) of just 6.2mm.  These dimensions might seem unconventional at first glance, but they are perfectly balanced on the wrist, offering both comfort and an unmistakable presence. The case’s polished finish enhances the luxurious feel, capturing light in a way that underscores the watch’s elegant curves and unique silhouette.

The Dial: A Canvas of Elegance

Turning our attention to the dial, it is quintessentially Cartier. The gold dial features the iconic Roman numerals, with the XII and VI enlarged and elongated, stretching gracefully towards the center. The chemin de fer (railroad) minute track is a subtle yet sophisticated detail that adds depth and texture to the dial.  The blue sword-shaped hands, a signature of Cartier, offer a striking contrast against the backdrop of the dial, ensuring legibility while adding a touch of classic elegance.  The Cloche’s dial is an exercise in balanced asymmetry.  The unconventional case shape is mirrored in the layout of the dial, with the elongated numerals and the placement of the crown at the top of the case when worn on the wrist.  This crown placement is a nod to the Cloche’s origins, designed for use as both a wristwatch and a desk clock. When placed on a flat surface, the dial is perfectly legible, showcasing Cartier’s ingenuity in combining form and function.

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Cartier’s Legacy of Shaped Watches

To fully appreciate the Cloche de Cartier, one must understand the maison’s history of creating watches that defy conventional shapes.  Since the early 20th century, Cartier has been a pioneer in exploring unconventional designs.  The Tank, inspired by the robust profile of military tanks, and the Crash, with its surreal, Dali-esque contours, are just a couple of examples.  The Cloche, first introduced in the 1920s, fits seamlessly into this narrative of innovation and elegance.  It was initially designed as a pendant watch, reflecting the Art Deco era’s fascination with blending form and function.  Over the decades, it has evolved, transitioning from a pendant to a wristwatch while retaining its distinctive bell shape.  This evolution is a testament to Cartier’s ability to reinvent and adapt while staying true to its design ethos.

On The Wrist

Wearing the Cloche de Cartier in yellow gold is an experience that transcends the mere act of telling time.  It is, in many ways, like wearing a piece of art.  The unique shape and meticulous detailing draw attention and admiration, sparking conversations about its design and heritage.  For seasoned collectors, the Cloche represents a piece of Cartier’s illustrious history—a nod to the maison’s daring creativity and unwavering commitment to elegance.  On the wrist, the Cloche is surprisingly versatile.  Despite its unique shape, it wears comfortably, with the yellow gold case offering a warm, luxurious feel.  The watch’s slim profile ensures it slips easily under a cuff, yet its distinctive shape means it never goes unnoticed.  Indeed, it is a watch that demands attention not through ostentation, but through its refined elegance and unique design.

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Just One Last Thing…

The Cloche de Cartier is more than just a timepiece; it is a celebration of Cartier’s legacy of innovation, craftsmanship, and timeless elegance.  For general watch enthusiasts and seasoned collectors alike, it offers a unique blend of history, artistry, and exclusivity.  In a world where watches often blend into a sea of similarity, the Cloche de Cartier stands out as a beacon of creativity and refinement—a true testament to the enduring allure of Cartier.

In every way, the Cloche de Cartier is a reminder of why Cartier remains at the pinnacle of luxury watchmaking.  It is a watch that invites you to look at time through a different lens, appreciating not just the hours and minutes but the artistry and history that go into creating a true horological masterpiece.


ModelCloche de Cartier
Case Material18K yellow gold
Case Diameter37.15 x 28.75 mm
Case Height6.2mm
Lug-to-Lug –
Water Resistance3.0 bar
MovementCalibre 1917 MC (manual winding)
ProductionLimited Production of 100 pieces
WearsTrue to size

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