Ronde Louis Cartier 42-mm watch, toucan
The toucan on the dial of this watch, introduced last year, is created by the technique of plique-à-jour enamel. The toucan is traced using a thread of soldered gold, with a layer of silver or copper placed across the bottom of each cavity formed. Then comes the enamel work. Enamel in its raw state is a combination of silica, alkaline components and lead, similar to lead crystal. These are melted at a high temperature and then ground into a colorless powder called flux. By adding metallic oxides, the craftsman creates a wide range of color tones. Once placed on the metal, the enamel powder undergoes several successive firings at temperatures exceeding 800 degrees C. Each color has its own firing constraints. The dial of this watch has 21 different enamel colors. When the enamel work is completed, the bottom surface dissolves. The translucent enamel is held in place by the extremely thin gold partitions. The watch is a limited edition of 40 pieces. Its case is made of white gold with a rhodium finish and set with brilliant-cut diamonds. The manufacture movement is Caliber 430 MC. Price: $126,000.
Rotonde de Cartier 42-mm watch, tiger
The tiger on the dial of this watch is created using the grisaille enamel technique. The base of the 18k-white-gold dial is covered with a layer of black enamel, which is fired. Then Limoges white enamel is applied with a needle or thin brush. With the white enamel, the craftsman produces different color tones to create the tiger. It takes more than 40 hours of work to create this dial. Cartier will produce 100 pieces of this watch. It has a white-gold case and a manual-wound manufacture movement, Caliber 9601 MC. Price: $92,500.