Cartier drives home its iconic design codes in the Drive de Cartier, its new shaped men’s collection, introduced this week at SIHH 2016 in Geneva. The cushion-shaped case of the Drive de Cartier is the latest creation designed to reinvigorate the brand’s longstanding tradition of shaped watches. The collection has all the Cartier design codes: guilloché inner dial, railroad chapter ring, Roman numerals, highly defined proportions and an element of fine watchmaking mechanics.
Aside from the elegant case shape, two outstanding features place the Drive de Cartier definitively in the category of elegant dress watches: the slim tapered profile, or galbe as the French call it, makes it look like an ultra-slim watch, even though it is a fairly standard 11.5 mm thick; and the pattern of the guilloché center, which is uniquely repeated on the outside of the chapter ring, adds elegance. Drive is a full collection, with seven references, including two complications. The Fine Watchmaking version is a flying tourbillon, with the manual wound Caliber 9452, a Geneva Seal movement. It is priced at $89,500 in rose gold. A small complication model, with large date and retrograde second time zone and day/night indicators, contains Caliber 1904-PS MC. This one is particularly inspired by vintage automobile dashboards, and the guilloché is meant to resemble a radiator grille.
In the regular automatic models, steel or rose gold are paired with either white or gray dials. The gray dial is stamped with gold numerals and is therefore priced a little higher on both steel and gold versions. Prices range from $6,200 in steel with a white dial to $19,600 in rose gold with a gray dial. They contain the automatic Caliber 1904 MC with hours, small seconds and small date.
Another new complication from Cartier’s Fine Watchmaking division is the Rotonde de Cartier Astromysterieux (below), with an entire movement suspended between crystals to make it appear as if it floats on air. While previous “Mystery” watches have suspended hands or an escapement between two crystals, this new invention displays the entire movement, Caliber 9462 MC. It works by employing four crystals that house elements of the movement, including the balance, the gear train, the escapement and the barrel. Thus, the entire movement is on full view, where it completes a full turn of the dial in one hour. Cartier holds three patents on the mechanism. The Astromysterieux will be produced in a limited edition of 100 numbered pieces in a 43.5 mm platinum case.