SIHH 2017 Personal Perspectives: Cartier – Return to Classic Cat Motifs

Back to basics and big cats for the king of jewellers.

Cartier focused on two sensible themes for its SIHH 2017 collection, namely the panther (figuratively and literally), as well as the cushion-shaped Drive de Cartier first introduced last year.

Designs and shapes were all vintage Cartier, styled in a manner that would appeal to lovers of the Parisian jeweller’s classic aesthetic. Few of the high-end complications that Cartier favoured in recent years were part of the line-up.

The key new launch was the return of the Panthère de Cartier, one of the “it” watches of the 1980s that sold in vast numbers. Thin and compact, the Panthère was originally conceived as a feminine version of the Santos, with the same squarish case but with the screws on the bezel replaced by rivets for a more streamlined look.

Cartier Panthère SIHH 2017-1

Cartier Panthère SIHH 2017-2

Cartier has resurrected the Panthère almost exactly as it was 30 years ago, with the same square case and link bracelet. Minor changes have been made, most obviously in the more robust bracelet, but it’s hard to distinguish the new Panthère from the original.

Cartier Panthère SIHH selection

Like the 1980s model today’s Panthère is also quartz, and available in two sizes, Small and Medium. Several versions are available, including the various colours of gold as well as with diamonds; there’s even one set with diamonds and black enamel spots resembling a Dalmatian. But the one that truly channels the 1980s is the steel and gold version.

Cartier Panthère SIHH 2017-3

Cartier Panthère SIHH 2017-4

Technically basic but affordable, the Panthère starts at approximately US$4000 in steel, US$7000 in steel and gold, and US$20,000 in gold.


The other affordable highlight were the new Drive de Cartier watches, led by the Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat.

Standing just under 7mm high, the watch lives up to its name. The case diameter is just 39mm, but the cushion-shaped form gives it a bigger footprint than a round watch of the same size so it’s elegant but not dimunitive.

Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra flat pink gold 1 Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra flat pink gold 2

The sensation of the flatness is enhanced by the flat dial finished with radial brushing, instead of the guilloche that’s typical for Cartier.

Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra flat white gold 1

Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra flat white gold 2

Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra flat white gold 4

Inside is the calibre 430 MC, a small, hand-wound movement that’s actually the Piaget 430P. This is available in pink gold, priced at US$15,600 or S$21,500.

It’s also offered as a limited edition of 200 pieces in white gold, priced at US$16,700 or S$23,000.

Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra flat white gold 3


The Drive de Cartier Moon Phases is even more affordable. Powered by the in-house automatic 1904-LU MC, the Drive de Cartier Moon Phases indicates only the time and the age of the moon. A pusher on the side of the case advances the moon disc.

Cartier Drive de Cartier Moon Phases 1 Cartier Drive de Cartier Moon Phases 2 Cartier Drive de Cartier Moon Phases 3

Available in pink gold or steel, the Drive de Cartier Moon Phases is 41mm in diameter, with a guilloche dial and blued steel hands. The case is 12.15mm high, leaving the watch feeling more substantial than it looks.

This costs US$7850 or S$10,900 in steel, and US$21,200 in pink gold.


The Drive de Cartier Panther Décor uses the cushion-shaped case as a canvas for hand-engraving and enamelling that depicts a vividly drawn panther.

Cartier Drive panther decor 1

Cartier Drive panther decor 2

Finely engraved lines represent individual hairs of the animal, coming together to create a textured surface. The panther is in relief, rising up ever so slightly from the dial, and continuing on the bezel and side of the case.

Cartier Drive panther decor 5

Cartier Drive panther decor 3

Large enough to suit a man or woman, the case 41mm in diameter and yellow gold. Inside is the 1904 MC automatic movement.

Cartier Drive panther decor 4

This is priced at S$103,000, or about US$72,000.


Decorated similarly lavishly and intricately is the Clé de Cartier Watch Panther Décor, which uses the ovoid case with a key-shaped crown that Cartier introduced two years ago. This is a ladies’ watch, being 40mm in diameter with a diamond set bezel.

The panther decoration is more elaborate, with the create set against a dial made of aventurine, a type of quartz with sparkling mineral inclusions, and set with green emeralds for its eyes. While this may be fancier, the Drive de Cartier Panther Décor has more instinctive appeal.

Cartier Cle de Cartier Panther Decor 1 Cartier Cle de Cartier Panther Decor 2

Like all the other Cle de Cartier watches, this has inside the 1847 MC movement. It’s an in-house calibre but the most basic of the range.

This is priced at S$109,000, or about US$76,000.


Another panther-themed metier d’art timepiece is the Ronde Louis Cartier XL Flamed Gold watch.

A panther depicted in Impressionistic colours and strokes is actually the result of a lengthy process that begins with the solid gold dial disc being heated until it turns blue (a bluish-purple to be exact).

Cartier Ronde Louis Cartier XL flamed gold 1

Parts of the panther motif are then scratched off the dial – the blue is only surface oxidisation – and the disc is then heated again to transform the exposed part into another colour. This is done in stages, over and over, until the full panther is formed.

Cartier Ronde Louis Cartier XL flamed gold 2 Cartier Ronde Louis Cartier XL flamed gold 3

The white gold case is 41mm in diameter and set with diamonds on the bezel, while the movement inside is the 430 MC. That’s the same manually wound, Piaget-sourced calibre inside the Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat.

The Ronde Louis Cartier XL Flamed Gold watch is limited to 30 pieces and the price is on application, but don’t expect it to be any less than low six figures.


Another artisanal technique is used for the Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hour Marquetry watch.

The geometric pattern on the dial is actually composed of tiny tiles of semiprecious stone, cut and laid by hand.

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hour marquetry 1

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hour marquetry 2

The movement inside is the 9984 MC, a hand-wound movement with a mystery time display.

Both the hour and minute hands are mounted on clear sapphire discs with teeth on their rim, which are in turn driven by gears hidden on the perimeter of the dial. In fact, the bulk of the movement is squeezed into a crescent-shaped area around the sapphire dial.

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hour marquetry 3

The case is white gold and set with diamonds on the bezel. This is a limited edition of 50 watches, priced at S$112,000, equivalent to US$78,000.


Featuring the open-worked version of the same movement, the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour Watch reveals much of the clever movement inside.

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour 5

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour 4

The base plate on the front and bridges on the back – which are all made of German silver – have been open-worked into large Roman numerals, a Cartier signature.

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour 3

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour 1

This leaves the mainspring visible at two o’clock, while the balance wheel sits under the four o’clock numeral.

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour 2

The 42mm case is made of palladium, a dense, white metal from the same family as platinum. It’s priced at S$103,000, or about US$72,000.


Also mysterious but far more complicated (as a name this long always implies) is the Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon.

Big, ambitious and very complex, this feels like a creation from the times before the watch business started its decline. But as such complications go, the new repeater is well executed.

Cartier Rotonde Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon 1

The look is modern, with an open dial that shows off the striking mechanism of the minute repeater and the wheel train for the time. All the moving parts contrast with the bridges and base plate finished in black rhodium.

Cartier Rotonde Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon 2

At 11 o’clock sits the Mysterious Double Tourbillon”. “Mysterious” because it sits on a clear sapphire disc, seemingly floating in midair, and “double” because the tourbillon cage rotates once a minute, while the sapphire disc below makes one revolution every five minutes.

Cartier Rotonde Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon 3

Despite its 45mm diameter, it is slim (at 11.5mm high) and light, being titanium, giving it good balance in the hand. And the size and lightness of the case improve the sound of the chimes, since there is greater acoustic resonance with larger cases made of less dense materials.

Cartier Rotonde Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon 4

Cartier Rotonde Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon 5 Cartier Rotonde Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon 6

Limited to 50 pieces in titanium (as well as several versions with diamonds), the minute repeating double tourbillon will cost approximately US$440,000.


The other very complicated watch unleashed at SIHH 2017 is a new variant of the Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendar, now in pink gold.

Cartier Astrocalendar pink gold 1

It’s a tourbillon with an “amphitheatre” perpetual calendar, named after the stepped, concentric layout of the calendar.

Cartier Astrocalendar pink gold 2Cartier Astrocalendar pink gold 3

Conceived to be robust and easy to set, the calendar on calibre 9459 MC can be set backwards and forwards with no ill effect on the mechanism. This will cost approximately US$200,000.


 

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Ralph Lauren Introduces RL Automotive Tourbillon & Double Tourbillon

A pair of tourbillon wristwatches with burl wood bezels, inspired by a 1938 Bugatti coupe.

The latest from Ralph Lauren Watch & Jewelry Co., the joint venture between the American apparel maker and Richemont, are a pair of tourbillon wristwatches, including the brand’s first double tourbillon.

With its signature amboyna burl wood bezel, the Ralph Lauren Automotive watches are inspired by the flowing lines and wood-panelled interior of the 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe owned by the eponymous fashion designer who’s also a noted car collector.

The RL Automotive Double Tourbillon is 45mm with a steel case coated black. The dial is a matte black, matched with ivory-tone Super-Luminova on the hands and numerals, a look derived from the instrument panels of the Bugatti.

Ralph Lauren RL Automotive Double Tourbillon zoom

Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe interior

Identically sized with the same case type and dial size is the RL Automotive Tourbillon that’s equipped with a single tourbillon.
 Ralph Lauren RL Automotive Tourbillon

Both are equipped with manually-wound movements produced by Le Cercle des Horlogers, a Le Locle-based builder of complicated movements that also supplies brands like Graham and Corum.

Price and availability

The RL Automotive Tourbillon is priced at US$62,500, while the RL Automotive Double Tourbillon is US$99,000.


Correction January 27, 2017: Movements are made by Le Cercle des Horlogers, and not Création et Développement Horlogers (CDH) as stated earlier.

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SIHH 2017 Personal Perspectives: Baume & Mercier – The Most Affordable Watches of the Fair

Baume & Mercier keeps it simple, affordable and traditional looking.

After a handful of mundane years, at least in terms of mechanical men’s watch, Baume & Mercier had a good showing at SIHH 2017, keeping it compact and simple with a range of affordable additions to the Clifton collection.

Though the high profile announcement before SIHH was of a pricey perpetual calendar in red gold, the key product at SIHH was the extremely affordable Clifton Club that starts at SFr1950, or less than US$2000.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club 1

Rated to 100m, the Clifton Club is sensibly sized and conservatively designed, a sports timepiece with the look of a typical dive watch, that is to say a rotating, 60-minute elapsed time bezel.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club 2

Though the watch is not small, it feels smaller and slimmer than it is; the dimensions are 42mm in diameter and 10.3mm high. Inside is the low-cost and robust Sellita SW200, a clone of the ETA 2824.

The watch is well executed, to a quality commensurate with the price, including applied indices and alternating brushed and mirrored surfaces on the case.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club 3

Several dial colours are available – all have orange accents and Super-Luminova – while the case can be had in polished steel or ADLC-coated steel.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club 5

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club ADLC

The Clifton Club starts at SFr1950 for the steel on a leather strap, rising to SFr2250 for the ADLC version on a rubber strap.


Baume & Mercier also continues its partnership with the estate of famed American sports car builder Carroll Shelby with the new Clifton Club Shelby Cobra chronographs.

Inspired by the championship-winning, V8 Shelby Cobra, the chronographs come in three guises. The top of the line is the Clifton Club Shelby Cobra CSX2299 (ref. M0A10344), a 196-piece limited edition that’s named after the chassis number of the Shelby Daytona Coupe that won Le Mans in 1964. Its silver and blue dial is inspired by the paintwork on the Daytona Coupe.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra CSX2299-1

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra CSX2299-2

The case is 44mm and titanium, with a steel bezel and back. A sapphire back reveals the movement’s rotor that’s shaped like a wheel rim.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra CSX2299-4

The movement inside a La Joux-Perret movement, which is essentially a Valjoux 7750 upgraded to feature a flyback function.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra CSX2299-3

This is priced at SFr7100.


The other two chronographs are each limited editions of 1964 pieces. The Clifton Club Shelby Cobra are both stainless steel and 44mm in diameter. Inside ticks a Sellita SW500, which is a clone of the Valjoux 7750.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra blue  Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra silver

The first version has a silver dial with dark blue registers for the chronograph (ref. M0A10342), while the second inverts the colour scheme with a blue dial and silver sub-dials (ref. M0A10343).

Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra back

Both are priced at SFr3900.


And the last of the new line-up is the Clifton GMT Power Reserve that was previewed before SIHH. Priced at SFr3400, this is a 43mm stainless steel watch with two practical complications.

Baume & Mercier Clifton GMT Power Reserve blue 1

The somewhat sub-dial at 12 o’clock indicates a second time zone, while that at six o’clock shows the power reserve.

Baume & Mercier Clifton GMT Power Reserve blue 2

The movement inside is an ETA 2892 modified by Soprod to include the complication module on top. It’s been dressed up with blued steel screws, pearling on the bridges and stripes on the rotor – decoration that is industrially applied but something that justifies the open case back.

Baume & Mercier Clifton GMT Power Reserve blue 3


 

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