PHOTO REPORT: Cartier Novelties at SIHH 2014

Paul Boutros

27 January 2014

Once again, Cartier came out in full force this year with several major new introductions across its regular collection and their Fine Watchmaking Collection (FWC).

For those unfamiliar with Cartier’s FWC, it’s a collection that was launched in 2008 comprising their high watchmaking timepieces that feature high-grade finishing and/or complications. Since 2008, the brand has introduced 29 new movements, five of which are new in 2014.

Thanks to the Cartier North American team, I had the opportunity to photograph all of the new Fine Watchmaking Collection watches – which were organized around two themes:

Theme 1: Technical Creativity
* Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendaire watch
* Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon watch

Theme 2: Creative Elegance
* Rotonde de Cartier Day and Night watch with retrograde moon phases
* Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton watch
* Tank MC Two-tone Skeleton watch
* Ballon Bleu de Cartier 39 mm Flying Tourbillon watches
* Rotonde de Cartier Tourbillon Chronograph watch with 8-day power reserve

Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendaire
Cartier has created an entirely new take on a perpetual calendar watch, with calendar indications arranged on three levels, like an arena, with a flying tourbillon at center stage. Arranged in three dimensions at three different, concentric levels, thin blue, PVD-coated windows move around these levels to indicate the date, day, and month. The leap year is indicated by a hand on the movement side of the watch.

The innovative display is backed by significant innovation within the movement. A gear train system within the fully in-house Cartier caliber 9459 MC eliminates levers and springs used in traditional perpetual calendar movements. With just gears and wheels, the risk of breaking the mechanism during setting at any time is significantly reduced, and has the additional benefit of significantly decreasing the energy required to power the calendar changes. The result is less impact on the amplitude of the balance wheel for greater timekeeping accuracy. Calendar setting is performed rapidly through the crown through three positions, and the correct date can be set both forwards and backwards.

Certified by the new Geneva Seal criteria, finishing and accuracy are of the highest levels.

Limited to just 100 pieces, the case is platinum, and measures 45 mm in diameter with a thickness of 15.1 mm.

An additional side note, I spoke with Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Cartier’s amazingly talented Head of Fine Watchmaking, who shared with me that it was her dream for 20 years to create a perpetual calendar mechanism powered by all gears. She certainly succeeded!

Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon
In my opinion, the most original implementation of a moon phase display. At six o’clock, a tourbillon-equipped escapement symbolizes the moon. A lapis lazuli moon disk obscures the tourbillon on demand via the pusher at four o’clock, sliding out from beneath the Roman numeral ‘IIII’ hour marker. The extent to which the tourbillon is covered by this mobile disk indicates the phase of the moon.

The 3D dial is made of lapis lazuli and white gold, and also includes a GMT function surrounding the main timekeeping dial. Housing the in-house Cartier caliber 9440 MC with 362 parts, the platinum case measures 47 mm in diameter with a thickness of 16.65 mm. It’s limited to just 50 pieces.

Rotonde de Cartier Day and Night
Another poetic watch with astronomical complications, this Rotonde de Cartier features a rotating day / night indicator on the top half of the dial, and a retrograding moon phase indicator on the lower half. Powered by the in-house Cartier caliber 9912 MC, the case measures 43.5 mm in diameter with a thickness of 12.77 mm. It’s available in 18 karat pink gold or palladium.

Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton
One of my favorite watches of the show, this sublime Tank watch uses a sapphire crystal movement plate to maximize transparency. The architecture of the movement is composed of adjoining metallic circles (patent pending) linked with a circular bridge. In 18 karat white gold, the case measures 30 mm side by 39.2 mm long. It houses the manual-winding, in-house caliber 9616 MC with approx. 72 hours of power reserve.

Tank MC Two-tone Skeleton
Another favorite of mine, the use of a three-step galvanic treatment process results in two different colors on the movement. Rose gold is found on the bevelled edges and NAC coatings are used for the gray color. The effect is superb, with the rose gold highlighting the skeletonized Roman numerals brilliantly – reflecting light like laser beams. The caliber 9619 MC is comprised of 138 parts and provides approx. 72 hours of power reserve. The case is in 18 karat pink gold and measures 34.5 mm x 43.8 mm.

Ballon Bleu de Cartier 39 mm Flying Tourbillon
Featuring a gorgeous blue enamel dial, the Ballon Blue with flying tourbillon is now available in a smaller case size measuring 39 mm – significantly smaller than the 46 mm case of the original launched in 2008. It’s limited to 100 pieces in 18 karat white gold. A second, non-limited variant is available in 18 karat pink gold with a slate gray colored galvanized guilloché dial.

Rotonde de Cartier Tourbillon Chronograph
With 8 days of power reserve and tourbillon, the in-house caliber 9438 MC features a classic column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch. Limited to just 50 pieces, the 18 karat pink gold measures 45 mm in diameter and 16.4 mm thick.

Thanks for viewing,

Paul

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