It was another impressive year for Cartier, with one of the most interesting and comprehensive set of new introductions among all brands exhibiting at this year’s SIHH.
* Fine Watchmaking Collection – Two extraordinary mystery watches inspired by mystery clocks sold by the brand as far back as 1912
* Regular collection – The Calibre de Cartier Chronograph featuring the 1904-CH MC -Cartier’s first, in-house self-winding chronograph, and new, limited edition versions of the legendary Crash Watch.
* Les Heures Fabuleuses de Cartier – exquisite jewelry timepieces demonstrating Cartier’s amazing skill as a jeweler
Fine Watchmaking Collection
Cartier’s Fine Watchmaking Collection (FWC), launched in 2008, comprises their high watchmaking timepieces featuring high-grade finishing and/or complications. Some of Cartier’s FWC achievements since 2008 include:
* The introduction of 19 new movements, 16 of which are fully in-house. The remaining three were developed in collaboration with Audemars Piguet’s Renaud & Papi division
* 47 new, different reference across the collection
* Two concept watches: 2009’s ID One, and the ID Two in 2012, which built on the innovations created for ID One
* An in-house minute repeater launched in 2012
For the Fine Watchmaking Collection, Cartier introduces the following to this impressive repertoire…
Rotonde de Cartier Double Mystery Tourbillon
Featuring a double ‘mystery’ tourbillon within a sapphire crystal disc in the large aperture at 6 o’clock. The result is almost magical. Mounted within an anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal, a flying tourbillon turns on its own axis once every 60 seconds. This same tourbillon cage performs a second rotation of the open, transparent space at a rate of one revolution every five minutes. Basically, the aperture is the size of the second tourbillon.
The rotation rates were optimized to conserve energy. Weights were minimized through the use of a titanium cage for the flying tourbillon. To ensure proper poise and accuracy, the tourbillon is counterbalanced on the outer edge of the sapphire disc, opposite the tourbillon, with a circular segment.
The manual winding Cartier caliber 9454 MC is just 5 mm thick, with two mainspring barrels providing 52 hours of power reserve. High grade finishing is found throughout, as certified by its Geneva Seal. It’s housed in a platinum, ‘Rotonde’-style case measuring 45 mm in diameter.
The tourbillon-equipped escapement appears to float magically in air:
An amazing watch.
Rotonde de Cartier Mystery
A second, spectacular mystery watch, this one indicating the hours and minutes through the mystery aperture positioned at 9 o’clock. The display window is comprised of four sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating. A major challenge that the Cartier team overcame was driving the relatively large sapphire discs – how to balance stability and shock resistance (e.g., thicker and heavier sapphire disks) with minimizing power consumption and friction.
First, to reduce friction between the sapphire disks upon which the hour and minute hands are set, Cartier designed them to turn on fine pivots rather than using guide grooves incorporated in mystery clocks. Basically, Cartier turned the sapphire disks into gear wheels using DRIE (Deep Reactive Ion Etching) technology – an advanced process learned during their development of the ID One concept watch. The DRIE technique “grew” the metallic, nickel phosphorous gear teeth onto the sapphire – creating a one-piece gear wheel fabricated with extremely high, 1 micron precision. The result is ultra-light, highly durable sapphire crystal gears weighing just 0.56 grams each.
A picture tells the story – here is Carolle Forestier-Kasapi clearly explaining the technique.
Something the Cartier team, led by Carolle Forestier-Kasapi, is particularly proud of is that 58% of the diameter of the movement is devoted to the mystery display, which according to them, is a world record for a mystery display.
The Rotonde case measures 42 mm in diameter and is available in 18 karat white or pink gold. Inside is the manual-winding Cartier caliber 9981 MC with 48 hours of power reserve.
With a pavé diamond-set dial:
Ballon Bleu Tourbillon Two Timezone Double Jumping Hours
A regulator-style, two timezone watch with tourbillon featuring an elegantly complicated, double jumping hour indications. Through a module residing atop a base movement, two levers linked to a spiral spring force the hour hands to instantaneously and simultaneously jump to the next hour in a fraction of a second. An open-worked dial allows the owner to see the mechanism in action. With 50 hours of power reserve and a tourbillon-equipped escapement, the balanced and symmetric caliber 9456 MC is well finished throughout, as certified by the Geneva Seal.
A limited edition of 50 pieces each in 18 karat white gold and pink gold, the case measures 46 mm in diameter.
An iPhone shot of the uncased movement:
Rotonde de Cartier Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
Cartier’s first perpetual chronograph watch, it’s based on the brand’s all-new, self-winding chronograph movement (more on this development later) – the Cartier 1904-CH MC. The case, available in 18 karat white or pink gold, measures 42 mm in diameter, with a thickness of 14.9 mm.
Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Watch
Outside of the Fine Watchmaking Collection pieces, the big news for Cartier this year is an all-new, self-winding, in-house chronograph movement, the caliber 1904-CH MC. The movement is fitted into the Calibre de Cartier watch in eight different models. A picture describes the key features and innovations found within the movement.
A state-of-the-art and robust design, the movement features a vertical clutch coupling mechanism that permits the chronograph function to operate continuously with no affect on timekeeping accuracy. The vertical clutch has the added benefit of preventing “jitters” on all hands, so that when the chronograph is stated, stopped, or reset, no unwanted hand jumping occurs.
A “linear zero resetting” mechanism enables supple and soft zero-resetting. The design improves the traditional rotary hammer mechanism, and guarantees instant, simultaneous return-to-zero functioning of all chronograph hands.
The movement features two mainspring barrels that provide 48 hours of power reserve. The self-winding mechanism features ceramic ball bearings and an innovative click system yielding increased bi-directional winding efficiency and improved winding comfort.
The case of the Calibre de Cartier suits a chronograph perfectly – the pushers are seamlessly integrated into the crown guards. Available in 18 karat pink gold or stainless steel, the 100 M water-resistant case measures 42 mm in diameter.
This year Cartier re-introduces the legendary Crash Watch, originally created in 1967. Per Cartier’s press information, the story behind the design is that a client brought in for repair a Cartier Tank watch that was involved in an accident. The head of Cartier London, Jean-Jacques Cartier, was so enamored of the resulting shape of the case, he wanted to re-create it. Four new limited edition models are new for 2013, with 267 pieces each for those models with gold bracelets and 67 pieces each for those with gem-set bracelets.
Les Heures Fabuleuses de Cartier
This collection features Cartier’s jewelry timepieces, and showcase the brand’s exceptional skill as a jeweler. Here’s a selection of them:
Rotonde Panthere Granulation
Using a technique dating from the 3rd millennium B.C., the dial consists of gold granules, each created from threads of gold, that are then heated with a flame to fuse them to the dial. They are created and fused one by one, requiring an incredible amount of time to complete. A limited edition of just 20 examples, the watch measures 42 mm in diameter.
Les Indomptables de Cartier
Snake watch, with removable snake broach:
Montre Tortue secrète de Cartier watch
Diamond paved version
Panthère divine de Cartier watch
Envol d’un Phoenix watch
A self-winding watch, where the pavé diamond Phoenix is the oscillating weight
Baguette Panthère watch
Rotonde tourbillon, with alligator dial formed from a single stone
Straw marquetry dial
… and its source material – straw!