The story of Pasha de Cartier dates back to the 1930s and involves claims that the Pasha of Marrakesh ordered an elegant watch to match his royal status that could also be worn in his swimming pool. Such a Cartier timepiece, according to legend, was created and many decades later served as an inspiration for the Pasha de Cartier collection, unveiled in 1985. Documents have yet to confirm the 1930s claims, and the original watch cannot be found. Still, we know who was responsible for the 1985 creation – design guru Gérald Genta, father to many iconic models. Available since last year in a bold chronograph version, it comes back with an even sportier edition with a grey dial.
By 1990, the Pasha de Cartier collection had become a hit, offering complications, including perpetual calendar watches. Genta’s design provided Cartier with its first genuinely round-cased watch and secured the Maison’s presence in the sports watches segment. Pasha watches were offered with 100m water-resistant cases, an impressive screw-down cap protecting the winding crown, and a dial with oversized Arabic numerals – contrary to the Roman numerals everyone associates with Cartier. The dial had a stamped pattern, a square minute track, and sword-like hands. Later, a unidirectional rotating bezel was added, with decimal minutes and a 20-minute countdown indication.
Even after the introduction of the Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP) in the late 1990s, Pasha remained in focus. Until 2011, Pasha watches continued to be produced and featured complications for the Fine Watchmaking Collection, developed by Carole Forestier-Kasapi. Then Pasha de Cartier faded into the background for a few years until the brand reimagined its iconic collection for today’s Cartier fans in 2020, which was reviewed here.
In 2021 Pasha de Cartier added a chronograph to the collection, a masculine piece, sporty but still very representative of the jeweller’s flamboyant approach to men’s watch designs. Two variants were launched, in steel and yellow gold 41mm cases, with the distinctive capped crown and chain with a cabochon, also present in the pushers, and the Vendôme-style bars for the lugs, designed by Louis Cartier in 1934. The scaled rotating bezel and 100m water-resistance invited you to dive, but it is hard to imagine anyone who is not a Pasha diving any more profound than pool depth with this timepiece. See, maybe the pool-loving Pasha is not a legend after all, but the bare truth.
The new Pasha de Cartier chronographs were introduced with silvery-white dials with a wavy pattern, featuring a large Arabic numeral at noon, and sub-dials arranged in the 3-6-9 layout – with a 30-minutes counter at 3 o’clock, running seconds at 6 and a 12-hour totaliser at 9. The minute track is on the dial’s periphery, but the square “footprint” is visible, so the “square in the circle” design concept was carefully preserved. The tiny date window is positioned at 4:30, and the hands of the hours, minutes and central seconds are blued, like the counter hands.
The new 41mm stainless steel Pasha de Cartier Chronograph model has the same features but looks much more aggressive, all thanks to the anthracite flinqué dial and contrasting white counter chapter rings, bringing out the athletic nature of the Pasha, especially when worn on a stainless steel bracelet. I dare say this is what we should call a luxury sports watch of reference, so baroque, refined, yet muscular.
Should you desire a more gentle look, a grey alligator leather strap is included with the purchase, and the Cartier “QuickSwitch” system allows for fast switching from bracelet to strap and back without any tools. The bracelet is equipped with the SmartLink feature to add or remove a link using a push-button release mechanism, a handy system if you have a partner willing to share the Cartier Pasha de Cartier Chronograph with you, but your wrist circumferences are different.
For those interested in mechanics, the Pasha de Cartier Chronograph runs on the self-winding calibre 1904-CH3 MC with a 47-hour power reserve, and the chronograph function is brought to life with a column wheel. A well-known movement that powers most of the brand’s automatic chronographs, such as the calibre de Cartier or the Santos Chronograph.
Availability & Price
This new, grey-toned edition of the Pasha de Cartier Chronograph 41mm is a bold, sportier take on the concept and one with great personality. It is now available from the brand’s physical and online boutiques in a non-limited edition. It is priced at EUR 10,500 or USD 9,750. For more information, please visit www.cartier.com.