Calibre de Cartier Diver

Angus Davies get hands-on with the Calibre de Cartier Diver in pink gold, featuring the self-winding Manufacture movement 1904 MC. This in-depth review looks at each element of this luxurious diver’s watch.

This detailed review of the Calibre de Cartier Diver includes live images and specification details.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Earlier this year, I attended SIHH and saw some amazing timepieces from various exhibiting brands. There was much to admire. To procure several of the new watches released would have been magnificent, but fiscal propriety reigned in any avaricious thoughts I may have held.

One timepiece, the Calibre de Cartier Diver, particularly stood out and remains one of my personal highlights of the annual trade fair.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Image: Nils Hermann @ Cartier 2013

This diver’s watch is available in both steel and gold variants. At the exhibition, Cartier showed the steel model, presented both on a stylish bracelet and also on a very attractive black rubber strap. While both models werw appealing, the belle of the ball was, without doubt, the 18-carat pink gold model, delivered on a patterned rubber strap. Its stunning design usurped its siblings and elicited words of undying love from myself and several other journalists attending the fair.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Diver’s watches, as I have said on several previous occasions here on ESCAPEMENT, are a particular genre of watch which I find very appealing. Whilst I harbour no desire to explore deep seas, I admire the practicality of diver’s watches. They have a robustness that makes them suitable for daily wear and a no nonsense honesty that makes a compelling case for acquisition.

However, Cartier has made me look at diver’s watches in a different way. This latest model is most definitely a genuine diver’s watch, with an impressive water resistance of 300 metres, prerequisite unidirectional bezel and excellent nocturnal legibility. But, it offers an unprecedented degree of style and sophistication often absent from this market sector.

Cartier has always had an innate talent for creating elegant watches that retain eye appeal, despite the onset of years. This latest timepiece is drop-dead gorgeous and, based on previous experience with other Cartier models, I suspect it will not suffer the indignity of changing fashions.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The dial

In 2010, Cartier launched the Calibre de Cartier model containing the Manufacture movement 1904 MC. My colleague, Dr. Edwina Davies, has previously reviewed a pink gold version of this model.

The dial of this new diver’s watch shares much in common with the styling of the Calibre de Cartier. However, whilst there is a notable commonality to some of the design language, the Calibre de Cartier Diver is very much a new and very original design.

The dial canvas is black, partially snailed and provides optimal contrast with the white numerals presented. Cartier has employed Roman numerals for hour markings in the upper portion of the dial, whilst employing rectangular batons in the southern region of the dial area. The resultant blend is both aesthetically attractive, harmonious and eminently legible.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Pink gold, sword-shaped hands, lined with Superluminova, further enhance ease of read-off. They exhibit a green emission in restricted light, a trait in common with the aforementioned numerals and hour markings.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Image: Nils Hermann @ Cartier 2013

The elongated date aperture at 3 o’clock is framed in gold, employing arcing lines which shadow the profile of the bezel. At all times, style has not led Cartier to abandon usability.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Located at 6 o’clock, a subsidiary seconds display again employs black and white hues and frames its comely form with a gold border.

Cartier has masterfully blended elegance and functionality.

The case

The pink gold case measures 42 mm in diameter. The size should have broad appeal, potentially suiting an array of different wrist sizes.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Interestingly, the watch does not sit particularly high on the wrist, measuring just 11 mm in height. Whilst I would not describe this watch as ultra-thin, it is slim compared with many other diver’s watches. This is a key attribute of the Calibre de Cartier Diver; it is suitable for sub-aquatic use but, despite its sturdiness, would also perfectly complement a black-tie sartorial ensemble.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The crown is faceted, with each flank engaging with light to pleasing effect. The vertical surface of the crown is adorned with a faceted cabochon. Whilst the latter may seem to some a little excessive for a diver’s watch, I am besotted by this delicious design flourish.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The bezel is unidirectional, meeting the technical requirements of ISO 6425. Moving it, the wearer is rewarded with a positive action and an audible click with each turn. Human touch is once again rewarded by feeling the fluted edge of the bezel, it confers much tactile delight. The pink gold bezel features ADLC resulting in a shiny, clean appearance.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

I recently chatted to a friend who is a well-known watchmaker and we talked about diver’s watches. We have differing views. I like exhibition case backs, even on diver’s watches, because I like to see the beauty of the movement within. However, my friend insists that a diver’s watch should always have a solid case back if it is to respect tradition and appeal to purists. It would seem Cartier subscribe to the latter view.

The movement

Discussion about solid case backs and exhibition case backs ultimately leads to the movement. The Calibre 1904 MC is a self-winding Manufacture movement and all of the images I have seen whet my appetite for fine finishing.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Image: Vincent Wulveryck @ Cartier 2013

The oscillating mass is adorned with Côtes de Genève motif and the bridges below are similarly decorated. The mainplate features perlage, paying due reverence to traditional watchmaking craft.

Calibre de Cartier Diver - an in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Image: Vincent Wulveryck @ Cartier 2013

The bi-directional rotor sits on seven ceramic ball-bearings and, according to Cartier, provides “excellent shock-resistance and ensures its durability.”

The balance cock features a stylised “C” shaped index adjuster. Cartier has imbued this timepiece with a significant quotient of savoir-faire, even to areas which will never be seen.

Twin barrels feature within the movement, delivering a 48 hour power reserve. Ideally, it would have been more impressive to see a greater power reserve from two barrels, however, this may have resulted in a more cumbersome movement rather than the current Calibre 1904 MC which measures a svelte, and highly impressive, 4 mm in height.

Closing remarks

At SIHH, the culmination of each day would be a chat with few fellow professionals from around the globe over a well-earned glass of wine. Invariably, discussions would steer towards those timepieces which stood out as exceptional.

Some virtuous watches would be overlooked, briefly forgotten until note books and pictures were reviewed back at home. However, some timepieces readily rolled off the tongue, such was their profound appeal. The Calibre de Cartier Diver was one of those models and I was one of many who fell for its compelling blend of attributes.

Traditionalists may argue the Cartier watch is too luxurious for diving. However, with an impressive specification and  chiselled good looks, I would argue the contrary. The Calibre de Cartier Diver admirably fulfils its diver’s watch remit as well providing much versatility in an array of social settings.

This timepiece is one of my own personal favourites of SIHH 2014.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Calibre de Cartier Diver
  • Case: 18-carat pink gold; diameter 42.00 mm; height 11.00 mm; water resistant to 30 bar (300 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds seconds; date.
  • Movement: Calibre 1904 MC, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 27 jewels; Power reserve 48 hours.
  • Strap: Black rubber strap with pink gold pin buckle.

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