Think Cartier and you visualise that red leather box, embossed in gold and within an exquisite piece of jewellery or in my case a small perfect lady’s wrist watch. The name of Cartier brings to mind diadems for royalty, extraordinary jewels and panthers! After all as Marilyn sang, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”.
But I am afraid that at our dining table the talk will not be of fabulous jewels but of watches and Cartier will be amongst those makers of beautiful men’s watches about whom my son constantly waxes lyrical.
That was the year in which Cartier produced its first man’s watch, however, it is as a jeweller that Cartier has earned greatest renown. That is about to change. The acquisition by the Richemont group of Roger Dubuis manufacture in Geneva has added significant expertise in haute horology to the brand.
To have its own completely in-house movement is quite obviously a landmark for the company and takes it forward in its watch making ventures.
Having previously obtained its movements from ETA, Cartier has now produced a watch with its first in-house made movement, the Cartier Calibre 1904, recalling their first man’s watch. That was designed by Louis Cartier for his friend and early aviator, Alberto Santos Dumont. The Santos name continues proudly in the current Cartier collection.
Calibre de Cartier: W7100007, the face
The rose gold version is particularly attractive and its appeal rests for me in the chocolate-brown face which is unusual amidst the silvers, whites and blacks more commonly seen.
The Roman numerals are in the familiar Cartier form. The stamped XII is oversize and actual numbers only appear in the upper half of the face, that at 3 o’clock being halved to accommodate the date aperture. The latter is quite large and unusual, showing three numbers, yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s dates.
The hour markers in the lower face are simple strokes, again reduced by the presence of the sub-dial which sits at 6 o’clock and which is large and recessed, with a discrete flange surrounding the whole.
Minutes are marked off around the circumference of the face in railtrack form, as they are on the sub-dial’s circumference. Both have the minutes marked off in tens. At four points, 3, 6,9, and 12, luminescent markers are set in the railtrack of the principle face.
Indicating the hours and minutes are luminescent sword shaped steel hands which have a pink-gold finish.
I love the thin strips of the polished metal which are placed around the brushed surfaces. The flange ring around the faces also adds interest.
Quite contemporary in its design, the rose gold case is not overstated but pleasingly elegant. As might be expected of a watch of this quality it has the sapphire case back through which the inner movement, the rotor and the bridge, can be viewed.
The pink gold faceted crown, set in the conventional 3 o’clock position, so not disturbing the balance of face and case, is set with a faceted synthetic sapphire cabochon.
The case is 42 mm wide and has a depth of 14 mm. It is bold, classical almost, in its lines, sculpted, and yet has a sporting edge, quite strong and masculine. The lugs are quite fat and the crown guards are robust. There is a solidity and strength in the watches appearance, an image which is reinforced by the visible screws in the crown guard.
The strap, however, whilst sitting wide in the lugs is quite thin, of alligator skin and with a double adjustable deployant buckle in 18ct pink gold.
The 1904MC movement is simple but robust. It is automatic and largely unadorned. The central rotor sits on ceramic all bearings. The escapement is conventional and adjusted by excenter screw.
It has a bi-directional winding movement. It has 27 jewels and it is water resistant to 100 feet. Full specification details are given on the reverse which displays Côtes de Genève motif. The main plate has been circularly grained.
In addition it has a 48 hour power reserve .
This is quite an exciting offering and one which leads to anticipation as to what might come next from Cartier.
- Movement: Automatic; 1904 MC; bi-directional winding movement
- Jewels: 27
- Case: Pink Gold, Sapphire Crystal back
- Face: Chocolate-brown
- Power reserve: 48 hours
- Strap: Alligator skin
- Clasp: Double adjustable deployant buckle in 18ct. gold.
- Water Resistance: 100 feet