Pre-SIHH 2019 —which is less than two months away—, Cartier has just unveiled a brand new collection with a tonneau-shaped watch. With its shape both strong and pure, the dial is on the cusp between a rectangle and an oval just as the case curves slightly, tendering one of the first significant modifications aimed at fitting it better to the wrist.
This year, Cartier celebrates this legendary watch shape with a redesigned hours and minutes model and a skeleton dual time zone model, taking watch aesthetics to another level. Two brackets in pink gold or platinum create an oblong, curved shape that follows the contours of the wrist. Roman numerals, a railtrack, a cabochon on the winding crown, leather strap and screws on the lugs, the codes of Cartier watchmaking are all there. The watch is undeniably true to the original 1906 model, even though everything has been reworked to fulfill modern-day demands such as ensuring the watch is perfectly water-resistant.
The bezel on this Tonneau watch is formed from one block, with no overhang or breaks in the plane. Its contours and lugs melt into the watch case. Polished, rhodium-plated numerals stand out against the dial background —champagne-coloured on the pink gold version and silvered on the platinum model. Available in pink gold or in platinum with a ruby cabochon and issued as a numbered limited edition of a 100 pieces for each metal, all models are fitted with the new 19-jewel manual wound Manufacture calibre 1917 MC with a power reserve of 38 hours.
Cartier Privé Dual Time Skeleton
The second watch is a dual time zone watch. Call it a revival or a comeback —Cartier elevates the Tonneau watch to the ranks of designer object. With this new watch, Cartier pays tribute to the Tonneau XL dual time zone model in the CPCP collection, which initially had two separate mechanisms for the home time and the second time zone. Selecting a curved case, placing a dual time zone in it, making the whole run on one single movement with the new Manufacture calibre 9919 MC and fitting the geartrain in a line: all this called for every iota of technical mastery and spirit of innovation that Cartier can demonstrate.
Two complex feats were required in order to remain true to the original shape. Firstly, to retain the watch case’s elongated form, all the wheels of the geartrain had to be aligned between 12 and 6 o’clock. Then the shape of the movement underwent modification, being made to curve so it fits within the curved contours of the Tonneau watchcase. The geartrain features angled cutting on its barrel and escapement wheel.
This concern for comfort and ergonomic design required a feat of watchmaking prowess in ensuring the watch follows the curve of the wrist. Lastly, in the pursuit of aesthetics, the two time zones were linked to create an impressive display combining the useful with the pleasurable: the time is easy to read on the skeleton bridges, and the second time zone is set by pressing on the crown at 4 o’clock and by one-hour jumps. Cartier adds its own watchmaking signature by skeletonizing the movement, bringing lightness and nobility to a traditional complication: a demonstration of how to perfectly balance form and function, case and movement.
Available in pink gold or platinum, the watches are numbered editions of 100 pieces, while there is a third model in a limited run of 20 pieces available with a baguette-cut diamond-set platinum case. Pricing and live images of the new watches to follow once we get to the SIHH 2019 in January 2019. Stay tuned!
Sticker Price TBC at the SIHH 2019. For more info on Cartier click here.