The Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Flying Tourbillon watch represents a newer form of design and mechanical complication from the brand, but embodies enough hallmark features to firmly attach a Cartier spirit to the timepiece.
Decades of watch making success have inspired Cartier to finally open up a new—and complex—door in its house of horology. This could be the antithesis of what fashion-forward brands like Cartier are expected to have, which are nice looking but mechanically simple watches. Without abandoning its current collections, Cartier has been slowly adding a number of highly complex watches (mostly in very limited editions) to its product line. As a complement to its high-end haute jewelry watches for women, Cartier’s men’s line is brimming with complex pieces that are as beautiful aesthetically as they are mechanically.
In addition to the introduction of new timepieces, Cartier is supplementing a number of the current men’s lines, such as the Santos and Rotonde, with top-end complication models. These collectors’ watches are unique, not only because they are flagships in their respective collections, but also because their familiar Cariter beauty is enhanced with clever mechanical twists.
Take the provocative Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Flying Tourbillon watch. In the newer Rotonde-style case, Cartier has developed a thin movement suspended in the middle, with edges cut out to create the distinctive Cartier Roman numeral hour markers, which are actually all part of the movement plate. The gears and working components of the movement are artfully amassed close together along with a flying tourbillion escapement. It would not be a true Cartier without the iconic C-shaped bridge over the tourbillion as part 9455 MC caliber movement. The thoroughly Swiss progression even bears the illustrious Seal of Geneva, marking its origin and caliber of construction and decoration. Sandwiched between two sapphire crystals, the cut-away portions of the movement provide a view right through the watch. Nevertheless, legibility reigns, as blue steel hands remain easy to read via the hour and minute indicators located on the functional chapter ring around the dial.
What further helps identify the watch as a Cartier is not just the name on the dial, but the crown. Circular and grained with a prominent sapphire crystal cabochon, the crown suggests Cartier more than anything on the watch itself. Its thin case is trendy, measuring 45 mm wide, and is polished with 18-karat white gold and comes with a matching white gold buckle on the black alligator strap.
The Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Flying Tourbillon watch represents a newer form of design and mechanical complication from the brand, but embodies enough hallmark features to firmly attach a Cartier spirit to the timepiece. It is limited to just 100 pieces worldwide, with each piece individually numbered. In time, you’ll begin to associate Cartier with good looks as well as complex micro-engineering prowess—a mix of values the “new” Cartier would not have been able to boast just a few years ago.
$130,000 | www.cartier.com