SIHH 2013: Cartier (with live photos)

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Cartier had a strong year in 2013. Amongst the SIHH exhibitors, it was amongst the best in terms of breadth, complications and ideas. For me the notable watches are the pair of mystery watches in the Fine Watchmaking line, the Crash on bracelet, and the little publicised small complications in Santos-Dumont and Tortue cases. I will cover a few highlights from the 2013 collection here. Additional detail on these watches, as well as the rest of the 2013 collection, can be seen on the Cartier forum I moderate.

Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon

Inspired by the iconic Cartier mystery clocks of the early 20th century are the two Rotonde de Cartier mystery watches. Both work on the same principle of a sapphire disc with a toothed rim that is driven by gears hidden under the dial, just like the original mystery clocks.

The more complicated of the pair is the Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon. The tourbillon cage makes one revolution a minute, while the sapphire disc on which the cage is mounted makes one revolution every five minute, hence the “double tourbillon” moniker. Though large at 45 mm, this is a beautifully executed watch and a charming complication.

This is also available fully set with baguette diamonds.

The other mystery watch is the Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hours, which displays the hours and minutes mysteriously.

Like the mystery double tourbillon, this is a feat of micro-engineering, with the movement condensed into the C-shaped area around the sapphire discs. Despite its small area, the movement still manages a respectable 48 hour power reserve.

Two more models from the Fine Watchmaking collection were covered here as part of the pre-SIHH releases, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Tourbillon Double Jumping Time Zones and the Rotonde de Cartier Perpetual Calendar Chronograph.

Ballon Bleu de Cartier Tourbillon Double Jumping Time Zones

In addition to the Fine Watchmaking line, Cartier also makes mid-range mechanical timepieces. This collection of watches has no formal, but they typically have small complications like power reserve or second time zone.

Two models in this segment were added in 2013, the first being the Tortue XL with big date. Equipped with a JLC derived calibre, this is not extremely complex, but nevertheless elegant and in the traditional Cartier style and shape.

The second model is the Santos-Dumont with date and power reserve, with a Piaget movement inside. I like the aesthetics of this; the case is noticeably thicker than the existing Santos-Dumont dress watch, giving this a more substantial and masculine feel.

In a similar price segment is the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph with the new in-house 1904CH-MC calibre, which was shown before SIHH.

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph

Cartier is of course a grand jeweller, and it unveiled a range of stunning jewelled timepieces at SIHH. One of favourites is the Baguette Panthère watch, which features a panther club clinging to a tiny (quartz) wristwatch.

But the highlight for the ladies is undoubtedly the new Crash limited edition on teardrop bracelet. Though not exceptionally attractive in the stock photos, the bracelet is fine and matches the watch perfectly in person.

See the rest of my SIHH 2013 comprehensive reports. The brand reports listed in italics are still in progress. A. Lange & Söhne Audemars Piguet Cartier Greubel Forsey IWC Jaeger-LeCoultre Montblanc Panerai Parmigiani Piaget Richard Mille Roger Dubuis Vacheron Constantin Van Cleef & Arpels – SJX

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SIHH 2013: Richard Mille (with live photos)

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Richard Mille presented a headline grabbing collection of watches, each designed for a particular celebrity friend. 

Richard Mille RM027-01 Rafael Nadal

The biggest headline definitely belonged to the smallest watch – Richard Mille topped his previous record of lightest wristwatch with the new RM027-01 Rafael Nadal, which weighs just 19 g, inclusive of the velcro strap – the earlier RM027 weight 13 g without a strap. The case of this 50 piece limited edition is a polymer with carbon nanotubes.

Weight aside the other notable feature is the steel cables which secure the movement to the case, resembling a pulley system. These cables are attached to two tensioners on each side of the movement; these are tightened during assembly once the movement is in place. The movement base plate is titanium, while the bridges are an aluminium-lithium alloy.

The watch is slightly smaller than most Richard Mille tourbillons, measuring 45.98 mm by 38.90 mm. In person the watch is unbelievably light, but the case colour and texture feels plasticky.

The rest of the new Richard Mille watches adhere to the new model numbering system as well. Each new model is grouped into a particular family, e.g. RM027 for the ultra-light Rafael Nadal watches, followed by a suffix denoting the specific model, hence RM027-01. The aim of this is to keep the model codes small and manageable.

Hence the RM011-01 Roberto Mancini Chronograph Flyback is part of the RM011 line. This is a flyback chronograph with annual calendar, but the dial has been redesigned to enable timing for a football match, two 45 minute halves (activate the flyback to reset to zero and start the second 45 minute half) and up to 15 minutes of extra time. According to RM, this was designed at the request of Roberto Mancini, coach of Premier Leagure club Manchester City.

Likewise, the RM058-01 Tourbillon World Timer Jean Todt was designed for Jean Todt, President of the FIA and former head of the Ferrari Formula One team, who presumably spends a lot of time aboard a private jet. The world time is adjusted by rotating the bezel, which is linked to the hour hand, anticlockwise.

Mr Todt presumably has a very large wrist because the RM058-01 is 50 mm wide. The case is rose gold and titanium. Only 35 pieces will be made. This is one more alternative for the private jet set, in addition to the Greubel Forsey GMT.

Also designed for Mr Todt is the RM036 Tourbillon G-Sensor Jean Todt. This is a manual wind tourbillon wristwatch with a G-force sensor built into the movement at 12 o’clock, visible through the dial.

When the G-force indicator hand is in the green zone, the force on the wearer is safe; the red zone indicates an unhealthy amount of G force. The pusher at nine o’clock resets the G force sensor. This is a limited edition of 15 pieces in titanium.

And finally for the most striking watch RM presented at SIHH 2013. The RM059-01 Yohan Blake was made for Jamaican Olympic sprinterYohan Blake. Unlike the earlier Yohan Blake watch that was a variant of an existing model, the RM059-01 is a new model that was designed in collaboration with Blake. This is a striking watch – like the Nadal it is exceptionally lightweight – and almost comical in its colour.

Coloured like the green and yellow of the Jamaican flag, the RM059-01 has a translucent polymer case injected with carbon nanotubes; the colour of the case is reminiscent of seaweed. And unlike most tonneau RM cases, this one is asymmetric, mirroring the slope of the green aluminium bridges.

The four aluminium alloy bridges are shaped like Yohan Blake’s fingers in mid-run. These are made from a green oxidised aluminium alloy, then painted with yellow lacquer. This is a limited edition of 50 watches. See the rest of my SIHH 2013 comprehensive reports. The brand reports listed in italics are still in progress. A. Lange & Söhne Audemars Piguet Cartier Greubel Forsey IWC Jaeger-LeCoultre Montblanc Panerai Parmigiani Piaget Richard Mille Roger Dubuis Vacheron Constantin Van Cleef & Arpels – SJX

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