Cartier, which continues to make breakthroughs in the luxury watch market, showed up with its new Haute Horlogerie model: The Cartier Rotonde De Cartier Minute Repeater with Mysterious Double Tourbillon, just weeks before SIHH 2017.
When the subject got to traditional watchmaking, Cartier was not among the first brands we recall a few years ago. Today, the brand continues to add new models with a horologically significant identity to its current collection, along with its recent investments in the luxury watches division. The latest jaw dropping example of innovations in this category is the Cartier Rotonde De Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon model, which redefines the art of movement engineering.
Before I move on to the movement, which I believe is the most important feature of the model, I want to talk about the case. For this very special model, Cartier has chosen the Rotonde series, which broke its long time silence recently. Not having made much of a major headway in the past few years, I believe Cartier choosing Rotonde for such an important model is a precursor of other versions which will follow in the near future.
Let’s get to the movement. This new timepiece is powered with La Maison’s in-house Caliber Ref. 9407 MC. The most important feature of this design wonder is the two heavy hitters in the league of complications: namely the Minute Repeater and Tourbillon, have found themselves housed under the same roof. The Tourbillon escapement, which completes a full rotation in 60 seconds, was fixed with a sapphire crystal disc rotating every 5 minutes.
Inspired by the brand’s Mystery Clock models debuting in 1912, the Tourbillon escapement is perceived as floating in the space. In addition to this great feature, we have the Minute Repeater function which gives a melody that can be heard with perfect clarity thanks to the hammers produced from hardened steel. If you are still not satisfied with the level of movement design the Cartier engineers have come to, I would gladly remind you that they are capable of putting 448 individually finished components into a case measuring only 11.15mm thick and 45mm wide.
“I believe Cartier choosing Rotonde for such an important model is a precursor of other versions which will follow in the near future.”
I have mentioned about the necessary knowledge and experience to bring two important complications together in one movement but with Cartier, it is inevitable to deal with visual details through the same level of sensitivity. To put it briefly; the bridges of the movement are coated with black rhodium and applied with circular Cotes de Genève pattern in contrasting form. I think it is a good time to mention that the movement holds the "Poincon de Genève" certificate, which is held only by the 0.01% of the watches produced within the Swiss Watch Industry.
I would also like to mention the dial but, in fact, there is no dial to talk about. All I can say about the dial lay out is that it’s designed in skeleton form. The hour and the minute hands are placed asymmetrically at 10.00 o’clock. Obviously this is not a strange situation for this particular model, which lives far away from conventional designs. Meanwhile, I do not know how it’s going to look like in person, but I think that the Tourbillon cage, which is located in the opposite direction (and seems to be floating in space), makes the overall image quite balanced.
Let me talk about the Minute Repeater feature a little bit. All the acoustic principles for "sound quality" were considered while creating the most important feature of the Minute Repeater function: “the tune”. The Rotonde style case is made of titanium so that the sound can be heard on a satisfying level. Hardened stainless steel is used in the construction of the hammers, which are designed in square form instead of round to maximize the impact’s surface area.
Still not satisfied with such fine details, Cartier engineers have made separate notes for the gongs playing at the beginning of the hour strikes and the beginning of the minute strikes making the indications clear. I hear you say "Well, that’s enough ..." but Cartier engineers did not call it a day yet... A flywheel (visible at 7.00 o’clock) is added to keep the energetic stability of each strike playing to provide the same acoustic clarity from the first one to the last one. The only pusher that controls the whole system is located at 4.00 o’clock.
With a price of $ 449,400.00 (US list), it’s hard to find anything else to say about this particular model that will attract collectors only. But the truth is that Cartier became amazingly capable of making the elites of haute horology take their hats off, thanks to its investment in luxury watchmaking.