Watches: Cartier Pasha Skeleton Dragon Manual 42mm Collection (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on October 22, 2014

Don’t you love it when a high-end lady’s watch manages to incorporate very distinctive horological elements in addition to the expected decorative features?

Conventional wisdom has it that women do not embrace mechanical beauty as easily and thoroughly as their male watch aficionado counterparts and relying on this rule of thumb, most brands offering upscale women’s timepieces often go for the quartz movement enhanced with a glut of diamonds or any other precious stone.

Under the excellent technical guidance of Carole Forestier-Kasapi, the House of Cartier does not take this easy road: while maintaining the traditional time-only simplicity of a High Jewellery piece, they cleverly manage to inject Fine Watchmaking features that could just be mistaken for decorative features! This tour de force is exactly what the new Pasha Skeleton Dragon Manual 42mm collection is all about…

From a horological standpoint, these three works of art perpetuate a savoir-faire initiated in 2009 when Cartier presented the Santos 100 Skeleton in palladium. This incredible timepiece redefined the codes of skeletonization as, in pure Cartier’s style, the bridges of the movement were carved in the form of Roman numerals and served as hour markers on this dial-less model. Giving a purpose to a decorative technique…

Over the years, this excellent idea has been used to adorn several iconic models like the Rotonde Flying Tourbillon Skeleton or the Skeleton Pocket Watch Grand Complication. It received a surprising contemporary two-tone finish on the Tank MC Automatic Two Tone Skeleton and even took the form of Arabic numerals on the Pasha Flying Tourbillon Skeleton.

But with the visionary thinking attitude of this great Maison, it was not long before this new approach to skeletonization found its way into the ladies’ collections last year with the Pasha Skeleton Panther available with a diamond-set bezel or in a full pavé version.

For the 2014 edition of Watches & Wonders, Cartier builds on this expertise to present three versions of the Pasha Skeleton Dragon, one featuring a diamond-set bezel and a black alligator strap as well as two full pave renditions, one with brilliant-cut diamonds and the other covered with baguette-cut diamonds.

All three models share the iconic Pasha case with a serrated screw-down winding crown adorned with a brilliant-cut diamond and “gun screw” lug attachments. Crafted in white gold, it boasts a generous 42 mm size and houses the 9617 MC calibre entirely developed and manufactured in the brand’s workshops located in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Despite the presence of top-quality brilliant- or baguette-cut diamonds all over the watches, the truly exceptional part for all watch lovers is indeed this 34.78 mm manually-wound movement offering 3 days of power reserve. Its skeleton bridges have been carved to form the shape of a dragon, a symbol of power and prestige in Asia that has been part of Cartier’s bestiary ever since the Maison established its first links with China back in 1888.

Seen from the case back, this outstanding movement is entirely hand-engraved with the tiny scales characteristic of the skin of this chimeric creature. From the dial side, the dragon is all sparkles thanks to a high-level setting with 233 brilliant-cut diamonds and one marquise-cut tsavorite for the beast’s eye. Two flame-blued leaf-shaped hands add the finishing touch.

Skeletonization, hand-engraving, gem-setting: many decorative techniques have been used with the same superlative finish to create this amazing and very exclusive collection. Only 20 pieces of the model with a bezel set with brilliant-cut diamonds and a black alligator strap will be produced. Featuring brilliant-cut diamonds or baguette-cut diamonds, the full pavé renditions will be limited to 10 pieces each.

Lady's watch? Not so sure!

For more information please visit the Cartier web site.