Diana, Princess of Wales had lots of watches. Her collection comprised a yellow gold Patek Philippe version, a 20th birthday gift by Prince Charles; to indicate the 1981 Royal Wedding, Diana received a jewelled Asprey timepiece from the Saudi royal family (later fashioned into a choker-style necklace) and, by Her Majesty The Queen a sparkling, diamond-set Vacheron Constantin layout, initially a 1947 gift of state. Thenthere was the time Diana double-strapped in July 1981, wearing both her own and Prince Charles’ watch in the Guards Polo Club in Windsor. The unconventional move has since been revealed as talismanic, as her afterward fiancé competed from the polo field.
It was Cartier’s watch symbolic Tank wristwatch that Diana was photographed wearing the most: she possessed two versions of the design classic, a Tank Louis Cartier with yellow gold case and black alligator strap plus a yellow golden Tank Française, the latter a present from her father, the 8th Earl Spencer. After Diana’s death, Prince William chose his mum’s Tank Française as a personal keepsake. ‘The Tank watch is basically contemporary and universal’, says Pierre Rainero, the brand’s Image, Style & Heritage Director. ‘The watch is unisex and appeals to all generations. It escapes classifications of time, culture, or genre’. It’s a sentiment echoed by Alex Ghotbi, Head of Watches in Phillips at Association with Bacs & Russo. ‘The Tank has been a staple at the Cartier collection for over 100 years, slowly and elegantly evolving but always maintaining its original genetic codes’.
This year, Diana, Princess of Wales’ Cartier classic has an asymmetrical make-over as the brand revisits its own 1937 Tank Asymétrique watch. Unveiled just lately at (this season, electronic ) trade show Watches & Wonders Geneva, the upgraded Tank Asymétrique is available in pink or yellow gold and platinum; the layout’s case takes the unexpected shape of a Parallelogram, using its own dial shifted to the right from 30 degrees.
There are far more royal reminisces in Cartier, as the brand also presents a new spin on its Pasha de Cartier watch. A loyal client from the 1920s onwards, the high society fixture tasked Louis Cartier in 1931 to conceive of a watertight watch, for the pasha to wear during his daily swimming exercises at the palace pool.