It’s unheard of for the launch of an entirely new watch collection to centre almost entirely around a redesigned crown, but that’s exactly what Cartier did this year when it introduced the Clé de Cartier.
Perhaps that’s a little unfair as the collection has far more going for it than a neat new winder. However the crown is an often overlooked element of the watch, being the main point of interaction between the wearer and their mechanical timepiece.
Cartier has elegantly wound the clock back and redesigned the traditionally round crown as a faceted rectangle. This forces the wearer to adopt a different motion to turn it; less winding with the fingers and more turning with the whole hand much like a key; Clé after all means key in French.
There are other subtle nods to the key including the central, guilloched section of the dial which also surrounds the date window to form a neat keyhole motif. But the true strength of the collection is its adaptability, suitable for leather straps and metal bracelet alike as well as all-metal and gem-set pieces.