Most athletes excel in one sport, while a rare few become the best at what they do. And then there are the outliers, athletes like Bo Jackson. He started his career in American football, then turned to baseball – and was named an All-Star and MVP in both.
As watch designs go, Cartier is like Bo Jackson. The Paris maison has scored multiple home runs with creations like the Tank, Santos and Crash. These iconic watches have enjoyed unparalleled longevity – the first two are over 100 years old – and success; being endlessly copied, always a sincere compliment.
But many of Cartier’s signature designs tend to lean towards the ladies end of the spectrum or at least midway, suited to both genders. Cartier noticed this concentration and introduced several new men’s watches in recent years, with the varying degrees of success. Even All-Stars strike every so often.
As a betting man myself, I would stake my chips on the latest men’s wristwatch from Cartier, the Drive de Cartier. But you might ask why? After all, at first glance the look of the watch is familiar, leading to the inevitable question: what makes this the one?
The moniker “Drive de Cartier” might be misleading, conjuring up images of adrenaline, chequered flags and Formula 1; a sport that happens to boast a multitalented athlete: Jackie Stewart, F1 great and also a champion shooter.
But the Drive is not a monumental sports watch with more buttons than a television remote – the sort of “bling” that most of us want to avoid in straitened times like ours.
The Drive has all the elements that are clearly Cartier – guilloche dial, Roman numerals, blued steel hands – details already seen often enough that they might be unexciting.
But look closer, feel the curve of the case, how slim it sits on the wrist, and then the Drive seems more atypical. The Drive manages to look fresh, though it is a classic shape. While the cushion case is not new, it has been fine-tuned for handsome proportions, with a wide dial, narrowish lugs and an elegantly slim profile.
Similarly, while the dial screams, well, actually it whispers, “Cartier”, the look is slightly more modern than the traditional Cartier. Elusive enough to almost pass unnoticed, but with clean-cut features like the raised minute track with pronounced five-minute markers and the prominent seconds sub-dial all serve to give the watch a recent air.
For the technical minded: Drive is equipped with the calibre 1904 MC, a robust automatic movement that is Cartier’s own. And crucially, perhaps most important, the Drive is priced lower than comparable models with the same movement.
The Drive is the sort of watch that is conservative enough to be inoffensive in a time of austerity, but also sufficiently unusual to warrant a double take. A good analogy is perhaps a vintage Porsche 993 – yes, the last of the air-cooled – looking much the same as all the other 911s to the untrained eye. Not too extravagant, but look closely and you’ll see it’s special.
Find out what Singapore’s celebrity Christopher Lee has to say about Drive De Cartier here.
Cartier timepieces are available at:
The Hour Glass
#01-12 to 15 Raffles Hotel Arcade
Tel: (65) 6334 3241
Malmaison by The Hour Glass
Tel: (65) 6884 8484