SIHH 2016: Presenting the new Cartier Ballon Bleu de Cartier Enamel Granulation Limited Edition. Hands-on Live Pictures & Pricing.

You all know, that we rarely feature ladies' watches here. However, when it comes to this new watch from Cartier, we just had to. This new Cartier Ballon Bleu de Cartier Enamel Granulation in 18K yellow gold presented at the SIHH 2016 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, is definitely worth talking about because of the special Etruscan enameling technique utilized on its dial. This new watch, presents a new enameling technique that takes five steps and almost a month to complete. Available in a limited edition of 30 pieces, this new watch is definitely a must have for those ladies that like kitty cats and enamel dials. A newcomer in the repertoire of Cartier artistic crafts, enamel granulation relies on a combined mastery of both the art of enameling and the art of Etruscan granulation, a goldsmith’s technique dating back to the first half of the third millennium B.C. The Ballon Bleu de Cartier Enamel Granulation watch with panther motif has been entirely handmade at the Cartier Maison des Métiers d’Art in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

First, the master enameler at Cartier needs to create minuscule beads of gold. Then, following a similar process, the enamel has to be first worked into pieces or in powder form, then stretched out into delicate threads which are chiseled off into fine flakes and heated by blowpipe, until they are also formed into beads one by one. The size of these beads depends on the original diameter of the enamel thread from which they have been made. Then, the solid 22K yellow gold dial is engraved by hand to create the different compartments where the enamel granules will be placed to give the design the desired look. Afterwards, the solid background enamel layers are created using the traditional techniques. Lastly, enamel granules are then disposed using different techniques like gradation. Each color has its own fusion temperature; therefore, the order in which the granules are placed on the dial has to be predetermined. This last step, perhaps the most labor intensive, requires up to 30 firings of the enamel in order to obtain the correct shades and hues in the final product.

Nearly a month of work was required to complete this spectacular piece, the new Ballon Bleu de Cartier Enamel Granulation Limited Edition. The result is utterly stupefying: a panther’s head that is strikingly lifelike in appearance and expression, in which Cartier reproduces the volume required, the depth of its gaze, the prickle of its whiskers and the smoothness of its coat.

This exceptional piece bears witness to the creative vitality of the Maison des Métiers d’Art and its ability to encourage collaboration between engravers, polishers, enamellers, jewellers, gemsetters and watchmakers to create a single spectacular piece. The new Ballon Bleu de Cartier Enamel Granulation features an 18K yellow gold case measuring 42 mm in diameter and 14.35 mm in thickness, and is set with 124 brilliant-cut diamonds.

The watch is equipped with a dark blue alligator strap with double adjustable folding clasp also in 18K yellow gold and set with 43 brilliant-cut diamonds.

The watch is powered by the Cartier in-house automatic calibre 049. Unfortunately the movement cannot be seen as the watch is fitted with a solid case back.

Sticker Price 140,000 Euros. For more info on Cartier click here.