104 NOT FOR DISPLAY
Haute horlogerie and surefire commercial successes at SIHH 2016
Essential style items of the moment
The centre of attention at SIHH 2016 was tenably the largest presenter at the exhibition and its most anticipated innovations of the year: two new case shapes, one for each gender. Cartier has challenged itself to innovate one new shape a year, and this has seen the brand create 10 new case forms in as many years, along with almost 50 movements since its Fine Watchmaking Department was established. The Drive de Cartier for men is a watch collection that looks certain to be a commercial bestseller for the brand. Cartier’s focus on creating new icons in the company apart from the Tank, Santos and Calibre reminds us that it is not only technically proficient in watch movement design, but also in creating case shapes. The litmus test is if you can visualise yourself wearing the case through the decades of your life. We can.
The Drive de Cartier is a sort of cushionshaped case, though the brand prefers not to identify it in a such a manner. A curved quadrilateral, it has a vintage-esque feel but this is not deliberate. It is more angled than a standard cushion and definitely appeals to the style conscious. The smallest size is the 40mm three-hand model. Thanks to its slim bezel, it sits really well on the wrist. A small seconds counter is positioned at six o’clock. There is a discreet stamped guilloché treatment on this as well as on the centre of the dial. Cartier’s Roman numerals encircle these. It’s easy to imagine a skeletonised version of the watch, which we think would be another great hit should it appear sometime. The movement is, of course, the calibre 1904 MC in-house workhorse, ticking steadily away and visible through the case back. Three models, including a dual time zone and a tourbillon piece, have been presented. This watch is without a doubt targeted at the modern urban exec across the board. The rose gold case paired with an anthracite dial is our top pick, but if that’s a tad hefty on the pocket, the stainless steel model starts at a very reasonable price. The tourbillon model is also very alluring, to some extent because the case and cage seem to mirror each other in style, giving it a delicate sense of symmetry.
For the artistic individual, Cartier has several interesting new options including an innovation on the micro-granulation in gold, which is based on the ancient art of Etruscan granulation. Combining enamel with the technique, its artisans have created a watch that bears a fully coloured and granulated dial, bringing the panther to life-like relief.
But our choice pick has to be the Clé de
Cartier Automatic Skeleton, the first automatic skeleton movement and one that’s so well executed, the rotor is virtually invisible from the front. Carole Forestier-Kasapi, head of Fine Watchmaking Department at Cartier, explains that “although a peripheral winding system would have been an option, our skeleton movements are all fitted exactly to the case
Cartier Drive de Cartier Tourbillon in pink gold; a small seconds edition of the watch in stainless steel, pink gold with an anthracite dial and a white dial alternative; the Drive de Cartier with a second time zone and day/night indicator