Cartier : Rendez vous with creative Fine Watchmaking

Rotonde de Cartier Double Mystery Tourbillon, Caliber 9454 MC

Movement : Manufacture mechanical hand-wound Caliber 9454 MC, Poinçon de Genève certified, mysterious double tourbillon, 52h power reserve Case : platinum Diameter : 45mm
Functions : hours, minutes, tourbillon Case-back : sapphire Bracelet : black alligator leather Water resistance : 30m


Rotonde de Cartier Mystery Watch, Caliber 9981 MC

Movement : Manufacture mechanical hand-wound Caliber 9981 MC, 48h power reserve Case : white gold Diameter : 42mm Functions : hours, minutes Case-back : sapphire Strap : black alligator leather Water resistance : 30m

Cartier continues to demonstrate stunning dynamism in the field of Fine Watchmaking. Steadily and surely acquired over the years, its horological credibility is well established, with each new season enabling the Maison to anchor men’s watches firmly within the domain of fine craftsmanship and complications. In 2013, Cartier has introduced some new watchmaking milestones highlighting its creativity, its expertise as well as a certain inclination to develop a new vision of mechanical art.

Inspired by the idea of transparency and hidden complexity, the watchmakers of the Manufacture Cartier set themselves the challenge of offering horological enthusiasts two new creations featuring pure lines that seem to magnify time in complete freedom and are aptly named “Cartier Mysterious Hours”. The first provides a mysterious display of the hours and minutes with two hands that appear to be floating in space as if by magic. The breathtakingly ethereal Rotonde de Cartier Mystery Watch exercises a truly hypnotic effect with its freely floating hands. To create this mysterious watch, the watchmakers of the Manufacture Cartier had to overcome all the obstacles involved in developing a pointer-type display with a strictly invisible connection to the movement. To limit the friction between the sapphire discs, they have been made to turn on slender pivots, like the gears in a gear train, rather then in guide grooves as is normally the case with mysterious clocks.

The second watch focuses attention on a mysterious double tourbillon of which the levitating carriage performs an exquisitely entrancing dance. Indeed, the entire magic of the Rotonde de Cartier Double Mystery Tourbillon Watch lies in the ambivalence between its striking apparent sobriety and the incredible complexity of the movement beating at the heart of the watch. This model is indeed extremely understated : the flying tourbillon, which spins on its axis every 60 seconds, appears to be suspended without any apparent connection with a gear train of any kind. This illusion is even more complete when this same tourbillon carriage performs a second rotation within its space in five minutes. The stunning visual effect is rendered possible by the double mysterious tourbillon 9454 MC movement bearing the Poinçon de Genève. The construction of this calibre is inspired by the “tricks” used by Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, the father of modern magicians, in order to create the illusion of a state of levitation. With this in mind, the watchmakers of the Manufacture opted to use a glareproofed sapphire disc with a tourbillon-sized opening. This disc also performs a rotation. In this way, and by placing the minute wheel serving to drive the oscillator on an axis designed to limit the “resistance torque” linked to the rotation of the mechanism supporting the tourbillon, they managed to transmit its force to the tourbillon, and thus cause the entire device to revolve in space once every five minutes. The result is that while the tourbillon turns around the entire open and transparent space in five minutes,  the carriage performs five complete rotations.

Another model confirming Cartier’s impressive pedigree in the field of Watchmaking is the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Watch. Through this model, the Maison expresses a complete in-house revolution by unveiling its very first Manufacture chronograph movement, Caliber 1904-CH MC. The thing that initially strikes one about this timepiece is first and foremost the strength of the codes and the dynamics put in place by Cartier : two counters at 3 and 9 o’clock, a graduated track on the fluted bezel, an oversized XII and two chronograph pushers integrated into the crown guard. This sporting looking set of features is in fact only the tip of the mechanical iceberg.  The caliber developed by Cartier is a concentrated blend of ingenious systems guiding and coordinating the chronograph functions, from the column wheel to the vertical coupling clutch as well as the linear zero-reset hammer. All these characteristics enable this new caliber to ensure perfect chronometric stability, whatever the current level of winding of the watch. In order to guarantee the considerable durability of the winding system, the new caliber is also equipped with a ceramic ball-bearing system in the center of the rotor. Cartier has also broken free of the traditional reverser systems typical of automatic winding mechanisms in order to adopt a more innovative click system that serves to optimize winding comfort of this model thanks to increased winding speed. Moreover, thanks to a bidirectional winding system, the oscillating weight automatically winds the movement whatever the direction of rotation.

The tireless quest for beauty stemming from the passion of the decorative artisans endows this beauty with priceless value. Clearly visible through the transparent sapphire case-back of the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Watch, the upper bridges and the oscillating weight are adorned with the traditional Côtes de Genève pattern. The mainplate, masked by the movement’s components, is circular-grained. The care lavished on the finishing of Caliber 1904-CH MC testifies to Cartier’s commitment to creating a finely crafted movement that extends beyond that which is visible.

Tank, femininity in all its forms

It’s a great Cartier classic, an icon that reveals the multiple facets of its personality in step with the variations and the nationalities it is given. These include precious jewelry interpretations of the Tank Américaine and the Tank Anglaise.

First created in 1989, the Tank Américaine was a natural descendant of the Tank Cintrée watch designed in the early 1920s and featuring the same curve of the case, while the rectangular shape is more compact and the vertical side bars are rounder. This horological and stylistic marvel plays with geometrical effects, alternating between sharp and soft, straight and curved, rounded and angular lines. This timeless model takes on a further touch of sophistication with a bracelet composed of ‘snake’ links resembling silky smooth pink or white gold ‘scales’ paved with diamonds in the more precious versions. This delightfully feminine and refined gem radiates a flowing, voluptuous graphic appeal that adds to the legendary charm of this elegant American.

The Tank Anglaise launched in 2012 signals a breakthrough in the quest for esthetic purity and appears to have taken its cues from the design ethos of Louis Cartier and his desire for fully integrated design by forming a consistent, eminently readable whole. The signature vertical side bars now house the winding crown in a perfectly smooth alignment. The latest addition to the Tank line, the Tank Anglaise watch displays its precious feminine assets with new versions on alligator leather straps in tangy colors. Cartier delicately accentuates the femininity of this model with entirely diamond-pavé cases. This new interpretation on a leather band is also available in non gem-set versions fitted with alligator straps cultivating the timeless classicism of chestnut brown and black.


Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch Movement 1904-CH MC

Movement : Manufacture mechanical self-winding chronograph, Caliber 1904-CH, 48h power reserve Case : steel Diameter : 42mm Functions : hours, minutes, seconds, two-counter chronograph, date Case-back : sapphire Bracelet : steel Water resistance : 30m

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch Movement 1904-CH MC

Movement : Manufacture mechanical self-winding chronograph, Caliber 1904-CH, 48h power reserve Case : pink gold Diameter : 42mm Functions : hours, minutes, seconds, two-counter chronograph, date Case-back : sapphire Strap : semi-matt dark chestnut brown alligator leather Water resistance : 30m


Tank Anglaise medium model, diamond-set pink gold 

Movement : mechanical self-winding Cartier Caliber 077 Case : brilliant-set pink gold Functionshours, minutes, date Strap : glossy wine-colored alligator leather alligator Water resistance : 30m


Tank Anglaise small model, diamond-set white gold  

Movement : quartz Cartier Caliber 057  Case : brilliant-set rhodiumed 18-carat white gold  Functions : hours, minutes Strap : shiny fuchsia-pink alligator leather  Water resistance : 30m


Tank Américaine small model, diamond-set pink gold

Movement : quartz, Cartier Caliber 157 Case : brilliant-set 18-carat pink gold  Functions : hours, minutes Bracelet : 18-carat pink gold Water resistance : 30m


Tank Américaine medium model, brilliant-pavé white gold 

Movement : Mechanical self-winding, Cartier Caliber 077 Case : brilliant-set rhodiumed 18-carat white gold   Functions : hours, minutes, date Bracelet : brilliant-set rhodiumed 18-carat white gold  Water resistance : 30m

Brice Lechevalier is editor-in-chief of GMT and Skippers, which he co-founded in 2000 and 2001 respectively. He has also been CEO of WorldTempus since it joined the GMT Publishing stable, of which he is director and joint shareholder. In 2012 he created the Geneva Watch Tour, and he has been an advisor to the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève since 2011. Also closely involved in sailing, he has published the magazine of the Société Nautique de Genève since 2003, and was one of the founders of the SUI Sailing Awards in 2009 and the Concours d’Elégance for motor boats at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2015.

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