Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch

A new era

The Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch will be officially unveiled at SIHH 2013 in steel and gold variants. However, it is the stainless steel version which has the most appeal for me.


Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch - dial

 

The name “Cartier” conjures many thoughts in my mind. I always think of Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. I visualise the onyx and diamond panther bracelet she wore and her much admired flamingo diamond clip from the 1940s.

 

Cartier is the epitome of Parisian savoir faire. The house-style is luxurious, indulgent but always elegant and refined.

 

Louis Cartier created the  first modern wristwatch for his close friend and renowned aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont back in 1904. The brand has never ceased creating graceful horological forms. Some have subsequently become lore within the design world.

 

At SIHH 2012, the maison revealed a stunning array of novelties including some high complications to challenge the finest available. However, the Tank family was the focal point, with several new models being launched including the Tank Anglaise. It revisited the design language of former models and delivered it in a fine blend of contemporary and traditional details.

 

The industry is now frenetically preparing for SIHH 2013. Towards the latter part of January 2013, in a suburb of Geneva, retailers and journalists will convene at the exhibition centre adjacent the International Airport.

 

Timepieces will enter the horological coliseum and face the gladiatorial challenge resulting in success or failure. Some models will have been years in the planning and will either be exalted by the trade or scurry away into obscurity.

 

The Calibre de Cartier was launched in 2010 and has proved a hit for the brand. It has a masculine persona with bold aesthetics. All details coalesce wonderfully and work in appealing accord.

 

Cartier have not rested on its laurels and clearly remains ambitious, exploring new horological territory. The movement within this latest model represents a first for the prestigious brand, a manufacture self-winding chronograph. It is presented in the now familiar, Calibre de Cartier model, but, with the added complication of a stop watch.

 

The Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch will be officially unveiled at SIHH 2013 in steel and gold variants. However, it is the stainless steel version which has the most appeal for me.

 

The dial

A silvered opaline dial is cool, refreshing and pure in appearance. It quenches my tastebuds like fresh, mountain spring water. But, this is hardly surprising, as despite the Parisian DNA of Cartier, the brand produces its timepieces in the clear air of Switzerland.

 

 Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch

There is calmness when you look at the dial. This appears to be paradoxical in a watch designed for the speed obsessed wearer. But, this multi-faceted persona heightens its appeal, making it incredibly versatile and eminently suitable for daily wear.

 

Roman numerals are used to mark the hourly integers at the top of the dial. Yet, simple batons are favoured for the hours towards the southerly aspect of the face. The different forms of presentation are subtle, innovative and work harmoniously.

 

At 3 o’clock, a 30 minute chrono counter resides. It is snailed. The concentric circles provide interest and delight in a hushed tone. There is nothing outré, vulgar or showy about this watch.

 

A 12 hour chrono counter is located at 9 o’clock, repeating the design language of the subdial opposite. Sublime symmetry is pleasingly presented.

 

Above 6 o’clock there is a date aperture. It is framed in a silver coloured border. A triangular shaped index points to the current date.

 

The black hands are sword shaped. The hour and minute hands are lined with luminous coating.

 

The bezel is engraved with a rail-track. Integers are marked with Arabic text in modern font, save for the quarter hours which utilise simple squares.

 

The case

Cartier accurately hit its target audience with the Calibre de Cartier back in 2010, thanks in part to a refined case design. They have repeated the successful interplay of polished and satin brushed surfaces with this latest model.

 

Polished surfaces can add a richness to the calorific value of a timepiece. However, as any child knows, consuming too much rich food at your friend’s birthday party can leave you feeling nauseous. This is not the case with the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch. It satisfies a craving for calories without excessive volumes of cream and custard detracting from the subtle nuances of its flavour.

 

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch - dial

 

I like the highly polished finish of the bezel and the rectangular shaped push-pieces. However, it is the crown which is particularly noteworthy. It is seven-sided, highly polished and features a blue synthetic spinel.

 

The movement

The sapphire caseback affords a view of the Calibre 1904-CH MC. Cartier is rightly proud of the movement and indulges the wearer with a wonderful spectacle, sadly absent from many sports watches.

 

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch - caseback

 

The self-winding rotor is decorated with Côtes de Genève motif and runs on ceramic ball-bearings enhancing durability.

 

The Côtes de Genève motif is repeated on the bridges and perlage is visible on the mainplate, adjacent the balance wheel. The finishing is to a high standard.

 

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch - movement

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch - movement

 

Another indication of the quality of this movement is the column wheel chronograph, a vertical clutch and two barrels. This is found only on the finest chronographs and Cartier makes sure you do not overlook this aspect courtesy of the openwork of the upper bridge.

 

A C-shaped index adjuster resides on the balance bridge and reinforces the painstaking attention to detail we have grown to expect from this prestigious brand.

 

Conclusion

Like many people I will embrace 2013 with the best of intentions, recording my New Year resolutions to paper. I have already diarised my new fitness regime and macrobiotic diet. This will be a new era, when I morph into a svelte male model.

 

As I peruse my own watch collection, I note my historical predilection for watches with leather straps. I need a sports watch which can be worn in the shower post workout.

 

I require a watch with a sporting persona congruent with my prospective sprightly character.

 

The all-steel version of the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph would be a worthy choice. It is water resistant to 100 metres. Moreover, it is versatile, complementing casual attire or black tie ensemble.

 

My virtuous plans may wane with the onset of spring. However, ownership of this watch will confer neoteric style and engineering excellence which won’t diminish with the passage of time.

 

Technical specification

  • Model: Calibre de Cartier Chronograph
  • Reference: W7100045
  • Case: stainless steel; diameter 42.00 mm; height 12.66 mm ; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; date; chronograph.
  • Movement: Calibre 1904-CH MC, self-winding; frequency 28,800vph (4Hz); 35 jewels; power reserve 48 hours; 269 parts.
  • Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet.

 

Images

  • Laziz Hamani © Cartier 2012

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