Cartier will present a diverse Fine Watchmaking line-up at SIHH 2014 next month, with three watches previewed here. Two of them creatively re-imagine the traditional complications of the perpetual calendar and moon phase.
The covers have been taken off three timepieces soon to be launched at SIHH 2014. At the very top end is the Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon, an ingenious on-demand moon phase and tourbillon with a movement by Renaud & Papi. Equally innovative is the Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendaire which has a novel concentric perpetual calendar. And the third timepiece is the Tank MC Two-Tone Skeleton.
First of the trio is the Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon. This combines two traditional complications, the tourbillon and a moon phase display, in an unusual manner. Conceived by Cartier’s head of technical development, Carole Forestier, as an alternative to a traditional moon phase, the Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon was executed by movement specialist Renaud & Papi.
The moon phase is literally integrated into the tourbillon. Pressing the pusher at two o’clock brings a lapis lazuli topped disc out from under the multi-layered dial, thus covering part of the tourbillon.
|The moon phase disc at bottom right
The lapis disc serves as the shadow on the moon, while the tourbillon is the illuminated portion of the moon. Together, this is the current moon phase display.
|The distinctive, three-armed Renaud & Papi tourbillon cage
This on-demand moon phase means the movements remembers the current lunar phase, thanks to a mechanism centred on a cam, similarly in principle to that of a chronograph. The moon display is accurate to a day in 126 years.
Like the moon disc, the rest of the dial is lapis lazuli, while the second pusher at four o’clock is to advance the 24-hour, second time zone indicator.
|The 24-hour second time zone display
The Renaud & Papi movement has open worked bridges, with a monochromatic, rhodium-coated finish throughout.
The Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon has big 47 mm platinum case – which really makes a statement on the wrist – and is limited to 50 pieces. Given it is a Renaud & Papi movement, the retail price is unsurprisingly hefty, at €230,000 before taxes (~US$317,000).
Also equipped with a tourbillon, and similarly creative in re-imagining a traditional complication, is the Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendaire.
This has a perpetual calendar arranged concentrically around a flying tourbillon, just like the steps of an amphitheatre.
Each of the calendar displays (date, month and day) are indicated by blue PVD brackets. All the calendar functions are conveniently set via the crown, save for the day which is advanced by a pusher in the case.
Because the perpetual calendar mechanism is designed to be free of springs, instead it relies on wheels, the mechanism cannot be broken by clumsy adjustment like a traditional perpetual calendar mechanism.
The base movement is automatic with a 50 hour power reserve, with the leap year indicator on one of the bridges. It is made in Cartier’s recently opened atelier in Geneva, located above its boutique, qualifying it for the Geneva Seal.
|The leap year indicator
The Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendaire is a limited edition of 100 pieces with a 45 mm platinum case, priced at €150,000 before taxes (~US$206,000).
And the final watch is the Tank MC Two-Tone Skeleton, a striking new version of the Tank MC Skeleton launched earlier this year.
What makes this different is the two-tone finish on the open-worked movement. The brushed, flat surfaces of the movement have a dark grey ruthenium coating, but the polished bevels – and there are a lot of them since this is a skeleton movement – are plated in pink gold.
Though this is an aesthetic, rather than technical, development, the two-tone skeleton is striking. Though the time can often be difficult to discern, since the hands are the same colour as the bevels.
The Tank MC Two-Tone Skeleton will retail for €36,000 before taxes (~US$49,500).
More details and live photos of these to come over the weekend.