Each year brings fresh proof of an enduring reality: Cartier approaches Fine Watchmaking in its own way that puts it aesthetically and technically in a league of its own. Its R&D team has become one of the most prolific on the current watch industry scene, as is vividly confirmed by the new models presented at this SIHH 2014. By way of example, the Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendar reinvents the layout and operational mode of the perpetual calendar. Instead of the classic fixed apertures and hands, this broad 45 mm-diameter watch equipped with a flying tourbillon displays the date through rotating apertures. Their fine blue structure frames day, date and month indications that are tiered like the terraces of an amphitheatre. Nonetheless, the smartest feature of all in this perpetual calendar is its smooth and flexible handling based on an innovative mechanical system enabling the user to adjust the calendar indications via the crown and in both directions – thereby replacing the rather impractical traditional correctors that can only move the date forward.

 

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Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendar. © David Chokron/Worldtempus


Alongside this technical innovation, Cartier also invents new ways of reading the time and its various related expressions. In this instance, the Rotonde de Cartier Earth Moon has a truly unique moon-phase display. Its night star is a disc that can be activated on request via a pusher to descend over the tourbillon aperture. The crescent shape thus formed reproduces the shape of the crescent moon visible in the night sky. The sidereal metaphor is pursued right the way through to the dial in lapis lazuli, a mineral symbolising the earth; as well as in the constellation-like structure of the movement. Instead of linking far-distant stars, the pattern runs from jewel to jewel and from gear to gear.

 

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Rotonde de Cartier Earth Moon. © David Chokron/Worldtempus


However, Cartier also knows how to make watches that are quite simply beautiful. The Tank Louis Cartier Skeleton Sapphire (nom anglais à verifier, car n’ai pas trouvé ceci dans les previews où il est question de Cartier Tank MC) is an extremely slender, almost transparent watch featuring a skeleton movement specifically designed for this model. To increase the sense of lightness, it is surrounded by a transparent sapphire frame that makes it appear to be levitating. In a less ornamental and sophisticated mode, Cartier is interpreting its Manufacture 1911 MC movement in an ever-increasing number of models.
 

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Tank Louis Cartier Skeleton Sapphire. © David Chokron/Worldtempus


The Ronde de Cartier now equipped with this sturdy and efficient calibre that is spearheading the development of the brand’s watch ranges and embodying its steady progress towards entirely in-house production. This model with its 43 mm pink gold case proclaims its simplicity and its inimitable Cartier personality through open-tipped hands, Roman numerals and a dial stamped with a distinctive motif. It once again proves that Cartier can do absolutely everything, including simple round watches.
 

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Ronde de Cartier Automatic Manufacture © David Chokron/Worldtempus