Comprising a rounded square, the cushion-shaped watch has been a longtime fixture in the world of masculine watches. This form, for instance, distinguishes Panerai’s military-inspired timepieces such as the Radiomir, which dates back to 1936.

While Cartier introduced its own men’s cushion watch with the Drive de Cartier range in 2016, it now unveils a decidedly feminine, jewellery version with the Coussin de Cartier. Emphasising the mix of hardness and softness inherent in the cushion form — which is, essentially, a softened square — most of the new pieces are characterised by a dynamic, spiral-like arrangement of differently sized gemstones around the dial. To achieve this whorl-style layout on the gold-and-diamond variants, the brand used a new triangular setting instead of traditional grain-setting.

coussin de cartier
Credit:Cartier

The tsavorites, tourmalines and diamonds on this piece are brilliant cut but set inverted to show off a “studded” effect.

A pair of two-tone versions elaborates on the hard-soft contradiction by inverting the gemstones so they appear like pointed studs. Those who love colour — a camp in which we belong — will love the mix of green and blue stones on the yellow-gold version featuring 56 tsavorites and 120 blue tourmalines (and a whole lot more diamonds on the dial and crown), but the white-gold edition with black spinels and diamonds is no less covetable in the way it puts an edgy twist on classic black and white.

coussin de cartier
Credit:Cartier

A two-tone Coussin de Cartier with black spinels and diamonds.

Last and certainly not least, two limited editions take the polarities of the cushion shape to the extreme with an elongated cushion case that is flexible and squishable. Entirely paved with diamonds or coloured gemstones (emeralds, sapphires, tsavorites and blue tourmalines), the case is made of a fine gold mesh that allows the case to retract to its original shape after it’s been pressed. A soft cushion like no other, it’s a solid sign of our shifting times.

This article first appeared in The Peak