Thursday, July 8, 2021

Forget Everything You Thought You Knew

About Cartier -

Courtesy of Cartier
Cartier is one of those very unusual brands (at least in terms of watchmaking) that has managed to develop what could honestly be called a cult following of sorts. I can honestly say that I have not always understood this, but then again my introduction was behind the counter at Tourneau (version 1.0) in San Francisco at the turn of the century, at a time where discounting was rife, and the grey market was literally right across the street from us. We got A LOT of "faux" Cartier watches in for service (battery, etc.) that we could not service as they were not genuine. So it was hard to get enthusiastic as there was so much distraction from the actual products.

But just this past year, Cartier announced something that really got my attention -
Courtesy of Cartier
Cartier brought back the Tank Must this past Watches and Wonders, and while all of the excitement seemed to be focused on the new colorful versions, the more I think on it, the more excited I am by the SolarBeat Tank Must -
Courtesy of Cartier
Available in 2 sizes, it looks pretty familiar.  So what's the big deal?  I'm glad you asked!

Based on the name you have probably figured out that this is a solar powered watch. So the accuracy of quartz, without the worry or hassle of replacing the battery. But even better? The life expectancy of the solar cells (and this is an assumption) is over 15 years. I am basing this upon Cartier's proposed service interval of 15 - 16 years. This is a huge leap over the standard life spans of other solar powered watches, which is 8 - 10 years.  Per Cartier -

The pioneering Tank Must watch is at the heart of a double innovation: the Manufacture has succeeded in applying the photovoltaic principle to the Tank watch's dial without altering its aesthetic. This true technical feat relies on the perforation of Roman numerals, whose openings allow light to reach the photovoltaic cells hidden under the dial. It took two years for the development team to integrate this SolarBeat™ movement, with an average lifespan of 16 years, into the Tank Must, the first watch to benefit from this technology.

The other great thing is that Cartier is using biodegradable, vegetable based straps.
Again, per Cartier -

Another innovation: the strap made without animal materials that guarantees a high level of both quality and comfort for our clients, and contributes to reducing our carbon footprint.

Several other writers have mused on this, so forgive me if it's familiar. But the fact of the matter is that if the "masters" of yesteryear were alive and well and making watches today, they would insist on working with the latest available technology. More to the point - if I can get a "Vegan" / plant based strap that is as good as, if not even better than a leather one, then I will ditch the leather in a heartbeat. Wear it out, and drop it in your compost bucket!

At any rate, I am a fan!

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