Cartier is one of those very few luxury Swiss watch brands that, for an extended period of time, has maintained both an extremely strong array of main collection offerings and a genuinely sophisticated, unique, and diverse line of haute horlogerie ultra high-end pieces. That arguably puts a lot of pressure on the company and Cartier’s head of movement creation department Carole Forestier-Kasapi, as each year, they must up the ante and surprise the world with complicated “high mechanics” and stunning “high jewelry” watches. Let’s see six new high-complication watches that Cartier freshly developed or modified and will officially debut at SIHH 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland, in January.
The Cheap Replica Watches was originally released at SIHH 2014 with a stunning lapis lazuli blue stone dial. The Earth and Moon is a prime example of Cartier’s approach to high watchmaking: when it comes to its most technically complex and function-packed pieces, for Cartier, there usually has to be a blend of traditional complications and design elements, creative new twists on some other traditional features, and last but not least, some genuinely useful indications.
First, the in-house developed and manufactured Calibre 9440 MC movement packs a tourbillon – ticking the box of traditional complications. The movement is a massive 40mm wide, but only 5.65mm thick, and comprises 362 individual parts. Second – and here comes the twist on a historical feature – the Replica Watches displays the phase of the Moon on a meteorite stone disc that, with the pusher at four o’clock, can be moved right over the six o’clock position to cover up the tourbillon underneath it. By another press of the button, the disc will move in a way that its position corresponds with the phase of the Moon.
The Earth, meanwhile, is represented by the sub-dial in the upper center of the face of the watch. Also crafted from meteorite, it displays the hours and minutes with two blued steel hands pointing to the large, skeletonized Roman numerals on the Cartier Replica Watches periphery of the dial. Around the sub-dial is a 24-hour indication disc that can be adjusted individually with the pusher at 2 – bringing a genuinely useful indication into the picture. All three boxes are ticked: tourbillon, proprietary Moon phase display, 24-hour indication… All set inside a large, 47mm-wide and 16.65mm-thick pink gold case, limited to just 15 numbered pieces.
The Cartier Replica, and since then, the collection has already seen the addition of a mysterious hour complication at Watches & Wonders in Hong Kong. While thus far, this latter iteration is probably my favorite Cartier watch design ever, the Cartier Clé de Cartier Automatic Skeleton also appears to be a stunner. With its 41mm-wide and 11.45mm-thick palladium case, the key design elements of the Clé – including the “key-like” rectangular crown – are very much present, while the dial and in fact the movement itself have been skeletonized in typical Cartier fashion.
The Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Day / Night Retrograde Moon Phases is a piece that may be familiar to those who have been following Cartier’s ventures into haute horlogerie for some time now. Originally called the Cartier Rotonde Jour et Nuit, it was a stunning watch that had a central minute hand but used a large, semi-exposed disc to indicate the hours – do not mistake the central hand for a retrograde hour hand.
The disc below features a pointed ray coming from the Sun to show the hours on the scale and as the AM/PM indicator turns into night, the Cheap Cartier Replica has a shining star above it to mark the hours. In the upper half of the dial, Roman numeral indices for 6-8-10-12-2-4-6 are placed with diamonds for the odd numbers on the hour scale. The rhodium finished 18k white gold dial is set with 118 brilliant cut diamonds and with 28 blue sapphires – and despite all this, remains quite legible.