35 Years of The Cartier Pasha

Cartier’s hero collection du jour for 2020 is one of its more youthful creations — the sporty Pasha. At first glance, its simple round case stands out from the diverse geometry of Cartier’s broader catalog. Still, on closer inspection, the tensions of a shape-within-a-shape that defines the maison’s watch design is very much in evidence, thanks to the angular square layout of the dial, contained within the perfect circle of the case. These key design codes, along with the Vendôme lugs and screw-down crown protector, are still very much in evidence. But where did the Pasha come from? Well, there are two sides to that tale.


One version of the Pasha’s origin story, and the inspiration for its name, is full of everything one could want or dream of from a Cartier collection: one full of exotic locales, aristocracy and just a hint of mystery.

This story, so it goes, begins in 1931 or ‘32, when the Pasha of Marrakesh, Thami El Glaoui, ordered a one-of-a-kind watch from Louis Cartier. A gold watch, resilient enough to keep pace with the Pasha’s active lifestyle, and one that could boast a level of water resistance that was uncommon for the time. The solution was a watch with a (comparatively) large diameter, a crown cover and metal grid to protect the dial. The only fly in this ointment is that there is no substantive proof that this watch was actually made for the Pasha of Marrakesh.

The closest we can get is a photograph from 1943 of a watch that bears all these features and that does look quite a lot like the modern Pasha. And while this unique piece may surface at some point (and it’s likely someone at Cartier is keeping an active eye out for it), it’s telling that Cartier themselves don’t draw any direct links. The official line is that “its

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