Cartier Gives The Baignoire Allongée New Life In 2019
With the angular and highly popular Tank and Santos collections headlining Cartier’s watch line‑up, it is easy to forget that there is yet another elegant shape in the maison’s repertoire. The Baignoire, an oval‑shaped ladies’ watch that takes its name from the French word for bathtub, has actually existed as early as 1912 when brand founder Louis Cartier innovated on the traditional round watch case by “stretching” it out.
The result was a watch case framed by two parallel lines closed off on both ends with curves, which, if you can visualise its form, explains how Cartier found the source of its quirky name. The Baignoire’s shape continued to evolve over the years into a more refined oval that became an iconic Cartier signature in the late 1950s. In those days, the watch had a dial that was stamped with Roman or Arabic numerals and bordered by gold gadroons (a fluted style of decorative edging).
The Swinging Sixties, too, had an influence on the subsequent history of the Baignoire—Cartier shook up its elegant image to match the bold styles that came into fashion during those years. That was when the Baignoire Allongée, an oversized and elongated version of its predecessor, was born. A product of changing times, it made a dramatic statement on the wrist while retaining its sinuous appeal.
Fast forward to 2019, and a new version of the Baignoire Allongée is ready to take the stage. Available in medium and extra-large sizes, this new model, which is equipped with the proprietary manual-winding calibre 1917 MC, hugs the wrist with its slim yet imposing convex-shaped form—the smaller model measures 21mm wide by 47mm long, while the bigger one stands at 23mm in width and 52mm in length.
For variety’s sake, the French house has also created the Baignoire Allongée in two main variants—one with a diamond pave bezel, and another with a Clou de Paris bezel. Clou de Paris refers to the guilloched technique that produces a raised, pyramid-like pattern, which is used here to create the look of spike-like studs. While both finishings are undoubtedly eye-catching, the latter has a modern, edgy quality that merges surprisingly well with the classic form of the watch. In fact, we think it stands out just that much more because of its unusual decorative finish, even if it’s always difficult to choose something else over diamonds. Available in pink or white gold, both variants feature either a classic watch face with Roman numeral hour markers or a full diamond pave dial.
Whichever you choose, one thing’s for sure—every Cartier Baignoire Allongée is bound to be a conversation piece.
(Related: Here's How Luxury Watchmakers Like Cartier Are Giving Back Through Philanthropic Efforts)