Cartier built upon its long tradition of elegantly shaped watches in 2016 with the introduction of an entirely new men’s collection, called Drive de Cartier. This year the watch-and-jewelry maison expands the series with new variations whose cushion-shaped cases feature a slimmer profile for an even more understated look: the Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat.
The watch includes all the design codes of the original Drive de Cartier models, many of which trace their origins back to other iconic Cartier models like the Tank and Santos, including Roman numeral hour markers, a railroad minute track, blued, sword-shaped hour and minute hands, highly defined (i.e., non-round) case proportions, and an octagonal crown set with a blue sapphire cabochon. In 2017, Cartier introduced the first Extra-Flat models in the Drive collection, in white gold and rose gold. The 2018 models, both with silvered dials, add two additional case materials: stainless steel and yellow gold, the latter of which appears to be making a quiet comeback in the luxury watch world. The case dimensions are 38 x 39 mm, similar to those of the first Drive de Cartier models, but the thickness is a modest 6.6 mm, reduced from its predecessors’ 11.25 mm height by 40 percent.
Inside the case is a manual-winding movement, Cartier’s Caliber 430 MC, which uses a Piaget movement, Caliber 430P, as its base. (As Piaget is Cartier’s stablemate in the Richemont luxury group, and is renowned for its ultra-thin movements, this sharing of resources is entirely sensible.) Measuring 20.5 mm in diameter and a wafer-like 2.1 mm thick, the Cartier-branded version of the movement is made up of 131 components, including 18 jewels, beats at a frequency of 21,600 vph (3 Hz), and stores a power reserve of 43 hours. The steel model of the Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat (priced at $5,600) comes on a blue alligator strap, the yellow gold model ($15,400) on a gray alligator strap; both fasten with ardillon buckles in case-matching materials.