A Carabiner Watch Clip Made By Cartier

Last week Cartier released a piece-unique carabiner watch as part of its Polymorph high jewelry collection. It looks strikingly Art Deco and serves as a fully functional carabiner clip, with a watch. As much as I was struck by hysteria upon first sighting of this bejeweled object, closely followed by a giddy Instagram rampage declaring my love for the new gem-set carabiner clip, it didn’t come as a total surprise. It actually sort of makes sense given the focus on workwear and utility in fashion.
Just zoom in on this picture of Pharrell at his last LV show. There has been widespread use of carabiner clips on the runway for some time now, starting as far back as Junya Watanabe Men’s SS05 collection (that’s as far back as I can personally remember) all the way through to an iridescent clip by Kim Jones for Louis Vuitton x Fragment Design, made in 2017. But the carabiner’s presence spans beyond the bigger fashion houses. We’ve seen them from Heron Preston and his now very recognizable orange-colored carabiner straps, Christopher Kane’s clips in his SS23 collection, and the London-based brand Chopova Lowena, with their cleverly constructed skirts held together by multiple carabiners. Jewelry brands have also been participating in the trend, with Marla Aaron and EÉRA as well as Tokyo-based brand Ambush making earrings and necklaces out of carabiner clips. The list is sort of endless www.highluxurystore.ru.
This Cartier gem-set carabiner is a cute little nod to Cartier’s heritage, but in a thoroughly modern package. A carabiner is a tough, edgy accessory that doesn’t carry the same weight and expectation of femininity as a necklace or earrings. The clip features a diamond-paved dial, bordered by emeralds and channel-set sapphires. At 12 o’clock sits a ruby with lapis-lazuli, onyx, black spinel, turquoise, and chrysoprase beads on either side. The carabiner is opened by pressing on a sapphire cabochon, concealing a button that activates a diamond-paved band bordered by a square of channel-set rubies. It houses a quartz movement www.highluxurystore.ru .
I’ll spare us from a deep dive into the “watches worn around the neck” (or any other unexpected body part for that matter) discourse that has been circulating popular media. However, it would be a miss to ignore this watches-as-body-adornment trend in order to contextualize this new high-jewelry release that isn’t just a bejeweled carabiner, but also a carabiner with a functioning watch! If Taylor Swift and Rihanna are wearing watches around their necks (and ankles), and if Julia Fox is wearing them pretty much all over her body, then surely we should look back to some of the original arbiters of watch jewelry.

There was a notable wave of popularity for pendant watches during the Belle Epoque of the 19th century. Watches were also worn on a chatelaine. Let’s not forget Queen Victoria’s Blue enamel and diamond Patek Philippe pendant watch, purchased in 1851. Prior to that, a trend occurred in the 18th century where women would “double wrist” with two pocket watches worn on the waist www.highluxurystore.ru .
Back to Cartier, which has been in the business of making wearable, as well as functional, watch “objects” from the early 20th century. The range of vintage trinkets available out there spans from gold and enamel billfolds made in the ’30s – where the watch pivots to protect the dial when carried in the pocket – to gold mechanical pencils with watches or small clocks (hard to know what to call these things). There were also swivel-back cufflinks set with a compass and a watch, bakelite and gold backwound clip watches with JLC movements, and silver pen knives produced by Cartier’s “S” (silver) department, founded in the late 1920s by designer Jeanne Toussaint. She oversaw the creation of practical objects that were lightly adorned, thus making them more accessible and therefore extremely successful during the Great Depression, and popular as gifts. The closest vintage item in spirit to this 2024 release would be a 1937 pocket utility kit in gold, steel, and copper. It includes a steel knife blade, an uncut copper key (which meant you could have the key cut to your specifications) and a telescopic mechanical pencil. And a watch!
“You have to remember the concept, and use of time is something that we very much take for granted these days,” says watch dealer and vintage watch and object expert Alan Bedwell, aka Foundwell. “Smartphones, smart watches, cheap digital watches allow anyone the access to precise time all over the world at the blink of an eye. Back when these spectacular pieces of art were created knowing time and being in a certain amount of ‘control’ of it was a luxury in itself. Therefore, people with money wanted access to it wherever they were; sitting at a desk. Traveling on a train, in the office. It was the job of luxury brands, such as Cartier, to enrich the lives of these individuals in as many ingenious ways as possible. In a pen, or letter opener. On a money clip. On a lipstick case. On a lighter. As movements became smaller and more reliable, the possibilities were endless, and the designers more ingenious.”
If I were a Cartier high jewelry client I would put my name on the carabiner list in a heartbeat. I would clip it to my jeans or wear it as a pendant on a Riviera necklace, because why not? It’s a perfect piece of Art Deco Cartier in more modern terms. Here’s my very unsubtle suggestion: make one in plain yellow gold next.