Covering All The Bases

With the addition of a minute repeater and a grand complication pocket watch, Cartier proves that its Fine Watchmaking line can rival that of any full-fledged manufacture, writes Evan Rast

The Grand Complication Skeleton pocket watchIn the past four years, Cartier has surprised and charmed even the most sceptical of watch collectors by presenting an extensive range of high watchmaking pieces, each more ingenious and sophisticated than the next. I’m sure that if the brand wasn’t on your radar for watches, it certainly is now, especially with some of the more thought-provoking models it has presented, like the ID One and Two, and the Astroregulateur.

The company has been using a three-pronged approach to watchmaking that has proven extremely effective in establishing their reputation: first, produce notable complications; second, create new twists to aesthetics and engineering; and lastly, invent new mechanisms.

The brand has gone from an assembler of parts to a fully developed manufacture, capable of producing grand complications, intricate movements and concept watches entirely in-house, and on a massive scale if needed, and with the Geneva seal to boot. This is an achievement that only a few Swiss watchmakers can boast about.

In 2012, Cartier continued its strong focus on its Fine Watchmaking, with a collection made to impress.

The Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Flying TourbillonWith a diameter measuring 59.2mm, Cartier’s Grand Complication Skeleton pocket watch was certainly one of the bigger announcements of the year. It features a new in-house movement with a skeleton tourbillon, monopusher chronograph, perpetual calendar, and eight-day power reserve, the calibre 9436MC. Encased in 18k white gold, the watch is the epitome of classic style with its 1930s-inspired numerals, which are part of the handwound movement. A limited edition of 10 pieces in white gold and five set with diamonds, the pocket watch comes mounted on a rock crystal obsidian base.

The Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon is the company’s first minute repeater. The watch was developed completely in-house over five years. Equipped with the 9402MC, a movement with a whopping 447 parts, the 42mm watch comes in titanium or rose gold. What is extraordinary about this model is the location of the hammers and the gongs, which have been cleverly incorporated on the dial at 6 o’clock. A pusher on the side of the case activates the minute repeater, and as it does, the wearer will be given a great show of hammers hitting the gongs on the dial.


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