Hands-on with the Rotonde de Cartier Tourbillon Chronograph, Equipped with a Renaud & Papi Movement (with live photos and pricing)

Presented at SIHH 2014, the Rotonde de Cartier Tourbillon Chronograph is powered by an impressive movement from Renaud & Papi with an eight day power reserve.

One of the major complications Cartier unveiled at SIHH 2014 is the Rotonde de Cartier Tourbillon Chronograph with eight day power reserve. The 9438 MC movement inside is actually manufactured by technical specialist Renaud & Papi, located a short drive away from the Cartier manufacture.

Though Cartier is now developing complicated movements in-house, it still collaborates with Renaud & Papi (R&P), a subsidiary of Audemars Piguet. That relationship goes back some way, because Cartier’s accomplished head of movement development, Carole Forestier, is an alumnus of R&P. Unlike the movement in the Cartier Earth & Moon which was developed jointly with R&P, the movement inside the Rotonde de Cartier Tourbillon Chronograph is a R&P calibre, made and completed by R&P then delivered to Cartier. With its titanium balance wheel and gold screws, and the recognisable tourbillon cage, the movement is distinctively R&P even from the front.

It is made up of 318 components, and twin barrels give it an eight day power reserve. The chronograph is of the traditional type, controlled by a column wheel and equipped with a lateral clutch. Though it is finished and constructed to very high standards, the movement is not innovative (like the Cartier Astrocalendar for instance), rather it is traditional, complicated watchmaking.

The same movement pictured in the Pasha de Cartier Tourbillon Chronograph

Visually, Rotonde de Cartier Tourbillon Chronograph is typical Cartier. The silver guilloche dial is paired with blued steel sword hands, and the Cartier secret signature is incorporated into the “VII”.

This is not the first time Cartier has used this movement, but it will probably be amongst the last as Cartier concentrates on in-house calibres. The Rotonde de Cartier Tourbillon Chronograph has a large and chunky 45 mm case in pink gold and is a limited edition of 50 pieces. Its retail price is €135,000 before taxes, equivalent to about US$186,000.

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Hands-on with the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 Ref. 3580 (with live photos and pricing)

Water resistant to 2000 m and entirely in titanium, the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is the flagship dive watch of the revamped Aquatimer collection which was just unveiled at SIHH 2014.

IWC’s lineage of 2000 m rated dive watch started with the Porsche Design Ocean 2000 in 1982, and continued with subsequent GST and Aquatimer models. Introduced at SIHH 2014, the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 Ref. 3580 is the fifth in the 2000 m series. At 46 mm in diameter, the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is the largest dive watch IWC has ever made. But the case is entirely titanium, which gives it some heft without turning it into a diving weight. The key feature of the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 (and also the rest of the new Aquatimer collection) is the SafeDive bezel. It is basically a notched external bezel linked to the internal timing bezel via clutch. So though the external bezel can rotate in both directions, it only turns the inner bezel counter-clockwise. The SafeDive bezel is clever, if a little elaborately engineered.

But the best feature of the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is the wonderfully thick, domed sapphire crystal. It looks and feels like (and probably is) one of the most costly components of the entire watch. That being said, the crystal sits several millemetres above the bezel, which makes it prone to chips on its edge.

The large dial is black with a vertical stripe guilloche, perhaps inspired by the deck of a boat. Legibility is excellent, though the strong green tone of the SuperLuminova is an acquired taste.

A diving helmet is etched on the case back, under which sits the IWC cal. 80110, a manufacture movement loosely based on the gear train of the Valjoux 7750.

The case is well finished but not impressively so. All surfaces are finely brushed, with polished bevels on the lugs, and some polished surfaces on the bezel. But the case is mainly comprised of simple, straight lines, while the finer details of the bezel are not especially refined.

The Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is available only on a rubber strap, with the option of an extra-long version to fit over a wetsuit. Fortunately the quick-change mechanism for the strap is intuitive and easy to operate. Just press a button on the back of the strap and it comes right off. With a retail price of 13,900 Singapore dollars, equivalent to about US$11,000, the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is a pricey but sufficiently well made dive watch.

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