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Cartier Baignoire

Geneva—For those who prioritize style over a watch’s mechanics, the revamped Cartier Baignoire is calling.

Created in the early 1900s, “baignoire” is French for “bathtub,” an allusion to the watch’s oval dial and sumptuous rounded oval bezel.

The 2023 quartz-powered version sees the bezel even larger, which is in line with the chunky gold metal trend seen in fine jewelry from the likes of Brent Neale or Jessica McCormack.

To make it even more jewelry-like, it’s attached to a bangle rather than a traditional watch bracelet, though there’s a black leather strap version, too.

It’s available in rose gold and yellow gold for $11,800 or white gold with full diamond pavé (seen below) for $48,800. With fashion and watch enthusiasts alike buzzing over the new Baignoire debuted at Watches & Wonders Geneva, expect it to join the ranks of Cartier’s most popular timepiece styles in the future.

Speaking of which, Cartier also showcased updates to its classic “Tank” timepiece.
It’s quite remarkable how a completely ordinary object can sometimes become the inspiration for a truly extraordinary creation. Cartier’s iconic Baignoire watch is one such classic example. It was in the early 1900s that Louis Cartier created the first model of this series by modifying the traditional round shape of the dial into an elongated oval form. His inspiration? The common bathtub, or ‘baignoire’ in French. While the initial shape of the early Cartier Baignoire watches was quite simplistic — two parallel lines joined by curves at the top and bottom — the appearance kept evolving with time. And it was in the 1950s that the more familiar oval form, currently popular across the world, came into being. It brought along with it a smooth, sophisticated gold border that wrapped seamlessly around a dial featuring Roman and Arabic numerals. This new Baignoire watch, with its classic elegance and feminine allure, was an instant, phenomenal success.

Over the years, while the design of the Cartier Baignoire watches has remained more or less true to this earlier version, the timepiece has, nevertheless, continued to evolve, not only in terms of new technology, but also aesthetically. The newer models in the Baignoire series, for instance, became increasingly glamorous, sensual and luxurious. Conveying a sense of effortless grace and French chic, the watches became a statement piece for women with a deep understanding of fashion. The rocking years of the 1960s brought in yet another creative innovation — the Baignoire Allongée. Born in the workshops of Cartier London, to the tunes of ‘Swinging London’, this new timepiece enthralled with its sleeker, longer shape that extended almost possessively across women’s wrist. Seductively refined, this alluring piece proclaimed its bold character with extravagant panache, by presenting a gold border liberally studded with exquisite diamonds.The original 1950s model and its variants, as well as the later Allongée models are all part of the current range of stunning Baignoire watches by Cartier Baignoire. The former comprises two versions — a small, yellow gold-rimmed model with a taupe alligator leather strap, and a 228-diamonds-encrusted model, set in a white gold case with a dark blue alligator leather strap.The glittering Allongée series comprises of several models, lavishly decorated with brilliant-cut diamonds, set in a white or rose gold case. The shimmering glory of these breathtaking timepieces is beautifully complemented by the quiet elegance of grey, taupe or dark-blue leather straps. Except in the case of one ravishing, white gold model that enhances the desirability quotient by offering a diamond-studded bracelet, as well — with 894 sparkling diamonds, this one is a true masterpiece among equals.