Haute hor­logerie and sure­fire com­mer­cial suc­cesses at SIHH 2016

Augustman - - Contents - WORDS DAR­REN HO

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

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