World of Watches (Singapore) - - Features -


artier has an en­vi­able his­tory of sup­ply­ing the most ex­quis­ite jewellery to roy­alty, and com­mer­cial suc­cess as a lux­ury pur­veyor to, well, the whole world. Its time­pieces, too, have staked their place in watch­mak­ing his­tory. The San­tos cre­ated in 1904 is one of the ear­li­est true wrist­watches (as op­posed to pocket watches bound to the wrist by leather straps) for men, orig­i­nally made for Al­berto San­tos-du­mont who flew the first true (pow­ered) aero­planes.

Still, for too long, Cartier hadn’t got­ten the re­spect it de­served, not least for its Parisian (not Swiss) ad­dress, and that its most daz­zling time­pieces and com­pli­ca­tion cre­ations, par­tic­u­larly those pro­duced be­tween 1998 and 2008 un­der the “Col­lec­tion Privée Cartier Paris” (CPCP) la­bel, used move­ments from com­pa­nies like Jaeger-lecoul­tre and Pi­aget, though Cartier did the fin­ish­ing.

The snig­gers stopped when Cartier in­tro­duced its first Geneva Seal watch in 2008, the Bal­lon Bleu Fly­ing Tour­bil­lon. How­ever, it is a more mun­dane watch that is the real hit­ter into the heart­land of Swiss watch­mak­ing: the Cal­i­bre de Cartier, launched two years later. Though a hum­ble three-hand with date, it is as piv­otal as first love, con­tain­ing Cartier’s first self-wind­ing man­u­fac­ture move­ment, de­signed, de­vel­oped and made in-house: the Cal­i­bre 1904 MC.

Cartier now has a base move­ment from which to ven­ture into higher com­pli­ca­tions, while broad­en­ing its reach tremen­dously, in bring­ing to mar­ket rea­son­ably priced watches with au­then­tic man­u­fac­ture move­ments. To this end, the 1904 MC was en­gi­neered for re­li­a­bil­ity, ease of ser­vice, and ef­fi­cient mass pro­duc­tion. Per­for­mance also fac­tored promi­nently in its de­sign – though the 1904 MC boasts two main­spring bar­rels, they are ar­rayed in par­al­lel, achiev­ing only a mod­est power re­serve of 48 hours, but en­ergy de­liv­ery is made more con­sis­tent over a broad spread of its state of wind, con­tribut­ing sig­nif­i­cantly to ac­cu­racy. The 1904 MC is also used in 2014’s Cal­i­bre de Cartier Diver, which meets the ISO 6425 in­ter­na­tional qual­ity stan­dard for diver’s watches.

Au­to­matic move­ment beat­ing at 4Hz, with twin bar­rels and 48-hour power re­serve Di­men­sions: 25.6mm x 4mm Num­ber of parts: 186

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