INTO: Cartier’s Untold Legacy of Making the World’s Chicest Fidget Spinners

About five years ago, by the grace of God, I stumbled across an e-store for “stress, anxiety, and autism solutions” called The store is a cornucopia of fidget items — from a massive selection of stress balls to a bubble-wrap popping simulator (which doubles as a keychain) to necklaces that serve as chew toys for humans. I took it as a sign that I was not the only napkin-ripping, pen cap-biting freakazoid in the world. Within a year of my discovery, human civilization fell in love with the fidget-spinner, the highly meme-able toy that turned being hyperactive into a lifestyle statement. Sometime around my 27th birthday, my girlfriend gifted me a Trinity Ring from Cartier. The brand’s staple item features interlocking white, rose, and yellow gold bands. Not only has it become a personal talisman, it’s become my primary fidget toy — one that I incessantly (and hopefully discretely) roll up and down my pinky when I speak publicly, wait for meetings, or think about anything.

In 2017, Cartier continued this trend of making fabulously designed fidget toys with the introduction of its Écrou de Cartier, a line that includes hardware-inspired rings and bracelets with moveable nuts that can be spun across the threaded surface of its bands. The brand’s Clash de Cartier line, which launched this month, continues to (unintentionally) fulfill my demand for high-thread-count fidget toys that pass as devastatingly chic jewelry. The line embodies a highly sophisticated balancing art of signature Cartier elements, defined most notably by the use of “picots” (domed, peg-like studs) as a primary design motif. From afar, the use of these studs call to mind a very highbrow take on punk rock accessories, but touching the pieces in person is where the magic happens. In an extraordinary feat of geometry, the picots in the Clash de Cartier collection are not welded onto the jewelry, but rather float within its micro-architecture, free to move ever-so-slightly. The faint, almost sand-like effect of moving one’s finger over the domed surface of these studded rings is fidget heaven. Although the white gold version of the Clash de Cartier bands (out in September) evoke the most outwardly punk feel, I’m into the diamond-studded upgrade pick in the collection because life is short, and hyperactivity relief is well worth its weight in 18k rose gold.