It's quite obvious that Cartier effected a great progress with their in-house calibers for the last decade. Complications were presented one after another at the SIHH in Geneva. If I am not mistaken, with the recently launched Clé de Cartier which is powered by their new automatic 1847MC movement, the total number of the brand's in-house calibers exceeded 40 pieces already.
Beside the progress regarding the in-house caliber manufacturing, there are many things I like about Cartier. The first thing is the cult luxury synonym status of the name. More than a century, Cartier symbolizes the elegant, luxury watches and accessories. The second thing is the details and the brand's great connection to it's glorious past. The red box set design, baby panthers on the ads, sames screws on the Santos watches and Love bracelets.. Those details made me respect the brand.
Regarding watches, I like their timeless designs. I owned a Santos Galbée TwoTone and I enjoyed every moment I wore it. The first watch I gave to my wife as a gift was a Cartier 21 TwoTone. I had a Cartier Pasha SeaTimer at the past which was a stunning watch.
Since the beginning of 1900s, Cartier created many beautiful watch cases which are mostly still in production. A majority of them however, were rectangular or square shaped and fairly small. Now the brand holds a remarkable number of in-house movements at hand and the need for round shaped and modern sized men's watch cases is at it's top level. Not to mention the fact that men nowadays prefer round watches to rectangular ones.
During the latest SIHH in Geneva, Cartier released the brand's new model Cle De Cartier as a product line for men and women. Well, it seems “ La Maison “ is following the same marketing approach they did with the Ballon Bleu. However, Ballon Bleu was a huge success among women not men. Though the product line offered some very nice and complication men's models, men's demand for the model was not that much compared to women's.
Frankly speaking, I am not a big fan of unisex concept. I do not like women wearing big men's watches either. However, it's obvious that Cartier has been very successful in this regard at the past. The Santos that I used to have for instance; with it's 33mm diameter, it was more than perfect in this regard.
The trend for the over sized watches is somewhat started to lose it's attraction and hype compared to it's early years. Actually, I am pretty happy about this. I wear a 36mm diameter ROLEX DateJust on a daily basis and it's far more beautiful than it's younger brother on steroids; DateJust II.
On the other hand, while ladies tend to wear any watch they like, these days, no matter if it’s a ladies or a mens watch, men still don’t dare to wear watches that are too small. Therefore it was definitely a good move for Cartier to launch the Clé de Cartier with up to date 40mm & 41mm cases, what I think are very modern sizes for most men. The series feature 35mm and 31mm diameter versions as well which I strongly suggest to ladies only.
The Clé de Cartier is completely a different design. The 18K rose gold case has smooth and round lines. I believe anyone related to watches at some level would call that a retro designed case. In fact, it shows great resemblance with the 70s Omega Cosmic and Constellation models with their elliptical case form.
The crown however, offers a cubic and strong shape as well as the sapphire mounted on looking quite masculine.
The model is presented on a beautiful brown crocodile strap. The integration between the case and the strap is superb. The leather is smooth and it's accompanied with a deployant clasp in 18K rose gold as well.
The dial is beautiful and elegant to the end as we expect from a Cartier watch. While it bears a partly round form, the inner part looks like a key hole. We see the trademarks; blue colored Roman numeral indexes and the guilloche surface, scream out the Cartier look.
The Clé de Cartier is the first model featuring that new 1847MC automatic caliber. While in the past the brand used, for the same category of watches, movements supplied by ETA, Cartier has now developed new, in-house calibers. The 1847MC has a power reserve of 42 hours and the diameter is smaller than the 1904MC automatic caliber, which makes this new movement ideal for the smaller models in Cartier’s catalog, like the Santos Galbée or medium sized Ballon Bleu, that are still powered with ETA calibers.
I enjoyed wearing the watch. It was very comfortable on my wrist. The retro case shape was surely an eye catcher. The crown was a neat feature. I believe Cle De Cartier would be sporty enough to match any casual style too with it's leather strap.