18 Jun 2012

Baignoire Watch, Mini Model WB520027 Review

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by Elizabeth Lowry

This timepiece from Cartier’s Baignoire Collection brings Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly to mind. The Baignoire Mini Model WB520027 carries a classic 1950’s era sensibility—a look that has virtually become timeless. This watch’s dial is an unusual oval shape, but when it is sitting neatly atop a satiny strap it looks right at home. The Cartier catalog describes the Baignoire Mini Model as a evoking “a soft and poetic approach to time” that could serve to reduce stress in its wearer. If you are constantly worried about whether or not you are late, then perhaps this watch will help to assuage your fears. It is certainly attractive enough to momentarily distract you from your troubles.

The casing for this watch is made from rhodiumized gold, which comprises a highly reflective silvery plating. Rhodium plated gold is an exceptionally attractive choice when it comes to highlighting the effects of a diamond because its mirror-like surface causes the diamonds to wink and glitter and catch the light. Plus, rhodium plating protects the softer yellow gold underneath it. The drawback of rhodium plating is that it can eventually wear off, but while it lasts, rhodiumized casing is nothing if not resistant. Although it is certainly not advisable to wear this watch underwater because of its fabric strap, it can survive a depth of 100ft (just in case it accidentally gets dropped into a vat of champagne).

And speaking of gaffes, Cartier exhibits a highly distinctive (and deliberate) feature in its use of Roman numerals on watch dials. Cartier does not use the traditional Roman numeral “IV” on its watches. Some customers have suggested that this is because the manufacturer doesn’t know any better—however, Cartier does know better and has a reason for doing as it does. The traditional Roman number “IV” doesn’t look quite symmetrical on a small and delicate dial, so Cartier uses “IIII” to denote the number four. So, not a mistake…just meticulous attention to detail.

This watch sells for $19,150, but keep in mind that a Cartier watch is always going to look sophisticated and will go well with anything you wear–silver or gold jewelry included. You can dress a Cartier watch up or down. This particular timepiece is neither large nor flashy, so if you believe that simplicity is at the heart of good taste and sophistication, you are probably heading in the right direction when choosing Cartier–particularly if you are something of a collector.

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