Cartier's New Masterworks
by roberta naas
Cartier has always been a brand that impresses the world with its creativity and prowess. Internationally renowned for releasing some of the most stunning jewelry and watches in history, this legendary house has now moved into the world of haute horlogerie, offering mechanical timepieces that are true works of technical mastery. This month, Cartier teams with Ocean Drive to bring approximately 40 top watch collectors to Miami, where the brand will showcase its newest collection, including tourbillons, skeletons and other masterpieces.
Throughout the past couple of years, Cartier has focused strongly on building its reputation as a true manufacturer, perfecting its watch movements and raising its craftsmanship to unparalleled new heights. Last year, the brand released two proprietary movements, with one having secured the coveted Geneva Seal. Additionally, Cartier created some of the most superb complicated timepieces for men and women to be generated by the brand in years. The watches offer depth, dimension and extravagant personality, each with an inside caliber worthy of the outer design.
Among the highlights of the collection is the Santos 100 Skeleton watch—a 100-percent Cartiermade timepiece, housing the 9611 MC Calibre. The iconic Santos—first created in 1904 for Alberto Santos Dumont by Louis Cartier—is the natural choice to house the Cartier caliber. The innovative skeletonized movement features a design in which the bridges have been shaped to form Roman numerals. The unique and unusual manual-wind 9611 MC Calibre is patented; it is equipped with two barrels for 72 hours of power reserve and consists of 138 handmade components. The Santos 100 Skeleton watch is crafted in palladium and features a sapphire case back.
Also designed and developed in-house, the 9907 MC Calibre is now housed in the Rotonde de Cartier central chronograph timepiece. The watch offers an original, ingenious chronograph display that is exceptionally easy to read. Essentially, the two-level dial depicts timekeeping on the lower portion (where the hours and minutes are tracked using blue hands), while the chronograph functions on the upper. The chronograph readouts are depicted via a second hand in the center, while an arc display acts as the 30-minute track. Cartier has registered for a patent on the design of the dial and the indication of time and chronograph.
This watch is further technically advanced thanks to the complex craftsmanship of the 9907 MC Calibre, with a column wheel and vertical coupling system for the chronograph function instead of a cam system. The 272-part movement is designed to reduce the energy consumption of the chronograph function. The Rotonde de Cartier central chronograph is offered in a 42mm 18k-pink-gold case or in white gold.
Other alluring timepieces play off of the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Flying Tourbillon’s 2008 introduction, housing the 9452 MC Calibre with the emblematic Geneva Seal. The one-minute flying tourbillon features a C-shaped carriage at six o’clock. To obtain the Geneva Seal, all of the 9452 MC’s components feature extensive polishing and extra attention to detail and finishing for beauty, precision and endurance. Now, Cartier offers this coveted flying tourbillon in the historic Santos 100 case in white gold, in the Tank Américaine in rose gold and in a white-gold Ballon Bleu version.
For sportier appeal, Cartier offers the Rotonde de Cartier single-push-piece Tourbillon chronograph. Housing the 9431 MC Calibre, a movement designed exclusively for Cartier in 2005 by Renaud & Papi, the platinum watch features a column- wheel chronograph and tourbillon—visible from both sides of the case thanks to the sapphire case back—and has a two-level dial: one guilloché and one skeletonized. The private preview for watch connoisseurs also features some Cartier Privée pieces. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-864-9793; cartier.com
MAGES FROM TOP: Tank Américaine Flying Tourbillon ($97,600), Santos 100 Flying Tourbillon ($107,900), Ballon Bleu de Cartier Flying Tourbillon ($99,500), Rotonde de Cartier central chronograph ($35,400), Santos 100 Skeleton watch ($51,500)
PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRANCK DIELEMAN © CARTIER 2008 (PALLADIUM SANTOS); TRIPLE V © CARTIER 2008 (ROTONDE, TANK, SANTOS, BALLON)