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Cartier - Fine Watchmaking - Rotondes Watches

Cartier Fine Watchmaking - Rotondes Watches

Cartier fine watchmaking under the influence of design

Pure lines and accuracy of shape, these are the two constraints that guide each Cartier creation. Because the Maison’s watchmakers see watch design as a comprehensive whole, they integrate the complexity of their technical developments into increasingly sophisticated, yet subtle, watch designs. This year, Cartier presents three watches that clearly demonstrate this.

Cartier displays time around the Tourbillon, with three ultra-stylish mechanisms illustrating this true classic of the watchmaking repertoire. Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux, Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon, Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon – each revealing how time is showcased through the architecture of a skeleton movement, the hypnotising mysterious model, or in the complexity of a Double Tourbillon.

At the centre of this vision are two complications dear to Cartier: the mysterious and the skeleton. Cartier’s mysterious movement appeared in 1912 on a clock called “Model A” whose completely transparent dial showcased two hands that appeared to be suspended in mid-air. An unprecedented innovation, perfected at the beginning of the 20th century by Maurice Couët, one of the Maison’s watchmakers. Inspired by the work of the illusionist Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, Maurice Couët perfected an exclusive system that was brought to life on this first clock.

Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux Watch

The watchmakers at the Cartier Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds are turning the spotlight onto the Astromystérieux in an unprecedented interpretation which combines the Tourbillon with the mysterious, a source of expression for Cartier since 1912.

Haute Horlogerie - Montres Rotondes

Rotonde de Cartier Astromysterious Watch © Cartier

The design is spectacular, displaying the entire movement floating in weightlessness. This watchmaking accomplishment is made all the more remarkable by the fact that the space dedicated to the hidden gears has been reduced to the bare minimum.

The tourbillon carriage integrates not only the watch’s regulating organ but also the entire wheel train from the barrel to the balance which is all carried by a sapphire disc. The elongated carriage ensures the function of the minute hands and completes one revolution of the dial every hour.

Amplified in this way, the visible trajectory of the movement evokes the path of a celestial object orbiting in space, like a star suspended in the void, with no apparent connection to the mechanism.

Cartier associates one of its most classic watchmaking codes with this complication which is both fixed and mobile at the same time: Roman numerals.

The winding crown is set with an aquamarine cabochon matching the colour of the alligator-skin strap.

Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon Watch

With the Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon skeleton watch, Cartier explores a movement conceived and developed by the Maison’s master watchmakers in 2016 after five years of development at the Cartier Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland.

Haute Horlogerie - Montres Rotondes

Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Astrotourbillon Watch © Cartier

Today, Cartier places it at the centre of an ultra-graphic dial with a grey case back and silver-coloured transferred numerals.

Due to its complex structure, the tourbillon lends itself to a play of geometry and transparency. This fascinating movement presents two major peculiarities that make it a unique tourbillon. First and foremost, the tourbillon carriage has a specific rotation axis situated at the centre of the movement. The design process was therefore totally different in comparison with that of the gear train, from the two barrels of the movement to the minutes and hours display. Secondly, this tourbillon carriage is positioned “above” the movement and not directly integrated into the movement, as is the case with a classic tourbillon. These precise mechanics form the basis of a signature aesthetic that takes its shape from the principles dictated by the Maison’s design vision: clean lines, radical design, and the importance of aesthetics.

The entirely skeleton movement displays oversized Roman numerals, a Cartier signature, acting as bridges. The winding crown is set with an aventurine cabochon matching the colour of the alligator-skin strap.

Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon Watch

Fitted at the heart of the Rotonde Mysterious Double Tourbillon, this double flying organ appears to defy the universal laws of gravity. The magical mechanism of the mysterious double tourbillon stays true to the aesthetic of Cartier mysterious movements inherited from the mystery clocks first created in 1912.

Haute Horlogerie - Montres Rotondes

Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Skeleton Double Tourbillon Watch © Cartier

Unlike the classic tourbillon, the flying tourbillon has no upper bridge. It effects a complete rotation in 60 seconds and appears to be floating completely free in space, with no visible connection to any gear train. The illusion becomes even more striking when the same tourbillon carriage performs a second rotation, completing an orbit every five minutes.

To create the illusion of a levitating carriage, the watchmakers at the Cartier Manufacture used a sapphire disc with a space cut out of it, matching the tourbillon’s dimensions to give the most flawless possible effect.

An expression of virtuosity and style that Cartier has been mastering since 2013, when the first calibre of this genre appeared. Today, the watchmakers have moved it to the heart of an entirely skeletonised dial, whose XL Roman numerals structure the space. Stretched around the area left empty for the Mysterious Double Tourbillon, they allow the movement’s raw edges to peek through.

The winding crown is set with a jade cabochon matching the colour of the alligator-skin strap.

The Box

Cartier has designed an extremely precious, lacquered wooden box for these three exceptional watches, celebrating a craft that is dear to Cartier: wood marquetry.

Fine Watchmaking - Rotondes Wacthes

Rotonde de Cartier Precious © Cartier

On very fine pieces of wood in six different shades, the marquetry craftsman applies meticulous shading with an airbrush to create movement, depth and relief. The result is a gradation of green, blue and grey.

Once assembled, these tiny pieces of wood form a pattern made of three interlocking spirals. At the centre of each one, an optical lens reveals the dial of a watch. The result is astonishingly vibrant, between the movement of the design, the wood veining, and the chromatic gradation. The shade palette chosen is reminiscent of the watch straps.

The wooden marquetry box also includes a travel pouch in alligator leather and a pair of white gold cufflinks with three interchangeable stone bars in sodalite, jade and blue quartz.

A prestigious and ultra-exclusive edition limited to 5 boxes.


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The brand

Characterised by audacity and inventiveness, Cartier’s watchmaking history reflects a unique state of mind: “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”. Its renown is bound up in the tradition of excellence to which it is heir. Cartier was a forerunner in the use of platinum in jewellery and one of the pioneers of watchmaking.

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