Cartier illustrates how the appeal of a great maison spans generations, with models such as Clé de Cartier and Rotonde de Cartier resonating as much with young consumers as with the older generation. Youthful consumers may consult their phones to tell the time, but that does not mean they do not appreciate great watchmaking.
“We at Cartier firmly believe that you buy a watch for an emotional reason,” says CEO Stanislas de Quercize. “Purchasing a Cartier creation means understanding the significance of everything our maison stands for: search for excellence, exception, timeless beauty and universal style, and patrimonial value.”
Offerings at Watches&Wonders will reinforce these values with Cartier novelties. As a master of shaped watches, Cartier will reveal the first fine-watchmaking versions of the Clé de Cartier watch, the 2015 creation that houses two of Cartier’s most fascinating signature complications: the mysterious movement and the flying tourbillon.
“Three grand complications will also be presented in a black lacquered mahogany box, as well as three unique watches, creations that bear the mark of infinite sophistication between high jewellery and precious watchmaking.”
Clé de Cartier is the essence of simplicity in appearance, all its elements perfectly balanced to achieve a “minimalist elegance”. Its Roman numerals, rail-track minute circle and sword-shaped hands are all reminders that this is Cartier.
De Quercize says: “The maison has traditionally placed great emphasis on the qualities of its designs, creating models characterised by strong lines and distinctive forms. Clé de Cartier is no exception. We were inspired by the pure lines and curves of architecture. And our approach helped us design a new shape of watch. Clé de Cartier is arched, sleek and ergonomic.”
The soft curve of the design is new for Cartier, and so is the winding crown, highlighted by a sapphire which resembles a key, giving the watch its name. This is a significant feature. The indexed winding mechanism allows the crown to return to its original position without changing the hands.
There are versions of Clé de Cartier and Rotonde de Cartier which interpret two of Cartier’s emblematic manufacture calibres: the mysterious movement and the flying tourbillon.
In the mystery watch, the hands appear to float independently of the mechanism in an 18ct pink gold case of 41mm. Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour – Calibre 9981MC – has a silver openwork dial with touches of blue in the Roman numerals and the sapphire on the crown.
Calibre 9452 MC is the Clé de Cartier Flying Tourbillon. The flying tourbillon has 142 parts, and each part of the mechanical movement has been finished with attention to detail such as chamfered bridges, drawn flanks and polished screw heads, meriting the “Poinçon de Genève” insignia. The 35mm manually wound watch is presented in an entirely diamond-set white gold case, with 478 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling 3.56ct.
“Intrinsic to Cartier’s history as a creative watchmaker is a spirit of innovation, a pioneering ethos that has not just brought numerous technical advances but also engendered ground-breaking new forms, which guides us,” de Quercize says. “Today, we are a major player in the field of watchmaking, and our positioning is clear: ‘Cartier, Creator in High Watchmaking’. One of our priorities is to focus on innovation and to make Cartier’s pieces exceed expectations.”
To show off the maison’s creativity, an enticing black mahogany box, lacquered to a reflective shine, houses three great complications: a mysterious double tourbillon, a minute-repeater tourbillon and an astrocalendar. This assemblage of haute horlogerie is so outstanding that only five boxes are being offered. The dials of the Rotonde de Cartier models are a deep vibrant blue guilloché in radiating motif, providing a contrast to their black setting.
The Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon Calibre 9454 MC is remarkable. Created in 2013, the mysterious double tourbillon rotates on itself in one minute as well as performing the complete revolution in five minutes around the tourbillon carriage. It appears to be suspended without support. The 45mm case is platinum and the crown is set with the iconic sapphire cabochon. The second of this trilogy is Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon Calibre 9402 MC. The gongs and hammers are displayed on the dial side while the inertia fly-wheel is freed of its upper bridge, making it “fly”. The 45mm case is titanium.
Finally, the Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendaire, a tourbillon complication with a perpetual calendar and circular display Calibre 9459 MC, completes the set. This movement is characterised by a central three-dimensional display to clarify the perpetual calendar’s indications that juxtapose 12 months, seven days, the date and the type of year in a diameter of just a few centimetres. A hand on the back of the watch indicates whether it is a leap year or a normal year.
Visitors will see unique jewellery watches. The High Jewellery Inca Watch draws its inspiration from the geometry of the Inca pyramids. White gold, diamonds and onyx are used in a structure of diminishing superimposed squares. The High Jewellery Koinobori Secret Watch is a diamond cuff with 16 oval rubies, each around one carat. This jewellery represents around 1,000 hours of work by master craftsmen to suggest, in precious jewels and white gold, the movement of carp in flowing water. Another 1,000 hours of work was committed to the creation of the High Jewellery Cristallin Watch. The rock crystal of the dial can appear transparent or opaque, and the diamonds interact with the rock crystal in a dazzling fashion.
For the first time at this year’s Watches&Wonders, Cartier is holding workshops and master classes with its craftsmen and master watchmakers. Visitors will be able to try their hand at filigree work or watchmaking by disassembling the Manufacture 1904 MC movement.