Cartier’s Fine Watchmaking division today releases three new watches as it prepares a full set of debut models for SIHH 2017 in mid-January. Here is a look at the major highlights of each early debut
Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon
For the first time in its history Cartier pairs its famed Mystery complication with a minute repeater, and then one-ups itself to place a double tourbillon into the open space created by the Mysterious design. Thus, inside the open aperture between 9 o’clock and 10 o’clock Cartier places a tourbillon with flying double axis rotation, which means the tourbillon rotates around itself in one minute while appearing to spin around the circumference of the aperture once every five minutes.
As with all Cartier mysterious functions, the rotation of the entire tourbillon is governed by hidden gearing along the circumference of the clear sapphire disc. The tourbillon appears to float in space as it rotates and spins around the dial.
Cartier then adds a minute repeater to this already very complex Cartier debut. With its hammers visible at 6 o’clock, the minute repeater (activated by a pusher at 4 o’clock) features a rich eight-harmonic tone that chimes at 66 decibels measured at 10 centimeters from the watch and 56 decibels when measured 30 centimeters away. Cartier maximized the hardened steel chime’s transmission with several new design features, including a squared gong section near the hammers to expand the gong’s contact area, six acoustic transmission points and no dial.
The 45mm Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon (with Caliber 9407 MC) is a certified Geneva Seal watch limited to fifty pieces in a titanium case, thirty pieces in a platinum case and twenty pieces with a platinum case and a 7-carat diamond-pavé dial.
Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour
Cartier’s second 2017 debut also features its Mystery design, which is here paired for the first time with Cartier’s own patented skeleton. The Cartier skeleton, which unlike other openwork models transforms the watch’s bridges and plates into its Roman numerals, debuted in 2009 and has since then become emblematic for the brand, forming the basis for a new collection of best sellers. Here, manual-wind hour/minute mystery Caliber 9981 MC is transformed into new Caliber 9983 MC, a process that doubles its production time.
As noted, this new watch incorporates Cartier’s Mysterious movement, an in-house complication that was introduced in 1912 with the first Cartier mystery clocks. Their mechanisms, moved from clock to wrist, unlinks the hands from the movement, and instead joins them to two sapphire discs fitted with teeth around their circumference. These discs, activated by the movement, turn the hands – one disc for the minute hand and the other for the hour hand.
Usually hidden, many of the primary wheels and gears that conspire to move the hands are here exposed with this new skeletonized example, though Cartier is, thankfully, careful not to spoil the actual mystery. None of the gearing that rotates the sapphire disc is visible. This serialized 42mm palladium watch is held to the wrist with a black alligator strap.
This latest example of Cartier’s well-known Panther again animates the big cat, as we’ve seen in previous Cartier Panther designs. On this dial the highly jeweled animal appears to pounce from the dial in pursuit of a ball.
New Caliber 9918 MC, with the firm’s 1904 MC as a base, moves the panther’s paw and head to indicate minutes while a diamond ball rotates around the dial to display the hours. Cartier calls this a ‘never ending game’ as the automatic movement will continue to move the Panther while the 40mm watch is worn and will hold its power for at least 48 hours should the watch be set down for a rest. The scene is set as sculpted in white gold set with 225 diamonds, two emerald eyes and lacquer spots. A second model with added diamonds on the strap will also be made.