Cartier really showed its colors at this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH)—both literally and figuratively. With new manufacture movements under its belt and new designs, perhaps most expressively rendered in its richly hued ladies pieces, the brand continues to make tracks as an innovative player among today’s high-end watchmakers. Following are a few highlights from the vast array of watches Cartier introduced at this annual trade show, which this year was held January 20 through 24 in Geneva, Switzerland.
In particular, two timepieces from the Fine Watchmaking collection captured the imaginations of watch lovers for both their technical excellence and their intuitive design: the Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendaire and the Rontonde de Cartier Earth and Moon watch. The 45 mm limited edition Astrocalendaire was designed like an “amphitheatre,” according to the company, with the intention of clarifying the perpetual calendar’s indications and thus overcoming readability issues. Arranged three dimensionally, the display of the perpetual calendar’s functions is spread over concentric levels: the day is indicated on the first, followed by the month on the second, then the date. The perpetual calendar’s final function is indicated by a hand located on the back of the watch, showing whether the given year is a leap year or not. The movement of the new platinum-cased Poinçon de Genève-certified Astrocalendaire (9459 MC) is a successful attempt at solving the functional and ergonomic problems associated with this type of complication. The lever and spring mechanisms have been replaced with a new gear train mechanism that limits the risk of breakage if the watch is overwound; the traditional design of a perpetual calendar prohibits any manual correction during the hours before and after midnight at the risk of breaking the mechanism. In addition, the crown controls the date and month indicators as well as the setting of the hour and minute.
The limited edition Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon watch combines a tourbillon, moon phase, and a second time zone in one gorgeous 47 mm platinum watch. In a fascinating example of creativity, when the push button at 4 o’clock is pressed, a “panel” descends and partially obscures the tourbillon carriage. The crescent thus formed is exactly the shape of the moon at its current phase. Polished lapis lazuli is used for the dial and the moon panel. The movement (9440 MC) features semi-skeletonized bridges that are structured in a star shape to echo the terrestrial nature of the piece.
Cartier also introduced this year the thinnest diver’s watch on the market. Based on the Calibre de Cartier, launched in 2010, the slim-cased 42 mm Calibre de Cartier Diver features the manufacture self-winding movement 1904 MC, with small seconds and a calendar. In true diver style, the watch has a unidirectional bezel, water resistance to 300 meters and SuperLuminova-coated hands, small seconds counter, and indexes. The case, just 11 mm thick, combines polished and satin finishes, and the bezel is coated with ADLC. The watch is available in all steel, 18-karat pink gold or steel and gold, on a black rubber strap or metal bracelet.
For the ladies, the L’Heure Envoûtée de Cartier Collection is all about poetry and magic, according to the company, and each timepiece showcases the brand’s eye for beauty and talent for stone setting and enameling. The collection comprises high jewelry secret watches and Les Indomptables de Cartier brooch watches. The former features watchmaking sleight of hand made famous during the Art Deco period: the dial of the watch is artfully hidden (hence the term “secret”) beneath a gemstone-set cover. One stunner, a unique piece in rhodium-plated 18-karat white gold, is set with brilliant-cut diamonds and a single 33.51-carat emerald. The style of the watch is pure art deco, while the spirit is utterly Cartier. The 18-karat yellow gold Les Indomptables de Cartier has a green enamel dial with a crocodile scale motif. A gem-set crocodile perches contentedly at its top, awaiting transformation into a lovely brooch. This quartz-driven timepiece is an edition of 50 pieces, each hand decorated with brilliant-cut diamonds and emeralds. It comes on a green alligator strap.
The Ballon Bleu de Cartier Floral Marquetry Parrot watch, also created for women, is a brightly colored piece. The dial is decorated with flower petals transformed into the parrot’s yellow, blue and green plumage via a delicate marquetry technique. The bird’s beak is crafted from onyx, and an emerald creates the eye. As if this weren’t enough, the 42 mm white gold case is set with 1.80 carats of round diamonds, and the white alligator skin strap features a white gold folding buckle set with 43 diamonds. Inside is the self-winding Cartier caliber 049. This limited edition comprises 20 pieces.
The new Ballon Blanc, as well as various pieces from the Tortue and Tank collections also made their debut, each a fine example of just what makes Cartier, well, Cartier.
SIHH 2014 Cartier – Photo Report
More resources about SIHH 2014 Cartier on the Official Cartier Website.