Cartier’s ultra-complicated models, such as this year’s Grand Complication, have garnered much of the watch industry spotlight in recent years, but not to be overlooked is the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, introduced at SIHH 2013, the first timepiece in the Rotonde de Cartier family to combine these two popular complications.
The watch, which comes in a 42-mm-diameter case of rose gold (pictured) or white gold, is powered by Cartier’s automatic manufacture caliber 9423 MC, which includes a new, in-house, dial-side module for the perpetual calendar functions. The calendar mechanism, which is designed to compensate for the irregularities of the Gregorian calendar, such as 30- and 31-day months and leap years, is a complex system of snails and cams that has at its heart a wheel that completes one revolution every four years. The wheel has 48 indentations of various depths on its circumference that indicate, via a feeler, the length of the current month (30, 31, 28, or 29 days). A retrograde hand, mounted on the dial at 6 o’clock, indicates the days of the week, and another center-mounted hand indicates the date by pointing at the numerals 1 through 31 along the edge of the dial. All the calendar displays are easily controlled — and, if necessary, reset — by quick-correction pushers in the case middle. (Click on photos for larger images.)
The Perpetual calendar Chronograph is built on the base movement (Caliber 1904-CH MC) of Cartier’s existing Calibre de Chronograph watch and includes all of its functions, including a skeletonized rotor and two barrels that provide the watch a power reserve of 48 hours. The movement also incorporates an in-line, flexible lever that reduces stress on the bearings of the hand shafts when the chronograph counters are reset to zero. It also boasts the latest generation of vertical clutch, which helps the chronograph to start with no hand jump and to run continuously without affecting the torque.
The dial features openworked areas and guilloché and sunray patterns, both Roman and Arabic numerals, and sword-shaped (for the hours and minutes) and hammer-shaped (for the date and day) hands in blued steel. The caseback features a sapphire window offering a view of the movement. The beaded gold crown is accented by a sapphire cabochon. The watch comes on a black or brown alligator strap with a gold double-adjustable folding clasp. The rose gold model is priced at $74,000, the white gold at $79,000.
This article was originally published on March 22, 2013, and has been updated.