SIHH 2010: Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton Swiss Watches

Cartier, a French-based jewelry icon that is rapidly transforming into a serious watchmaker, as well as one of Richemont’s precious few core brands is going to unveil its new Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton (ref. W1580031 in white gold & ref. W1580046 in rose gold) limited edition watch at the upcoming SIHH 2010 trade show that starts on 18 January 2010. Crafted from 18-carat white gold, the gadget will cost like a German executive saloon, but that’s not why the watch is so interesting.

Besides an obvious, but beautiful flying tourbillon complication (the device seems to hovering above the bridge,) there is even more interesting complication.

As you can see on the photos, the watch’s exclusive Cartier Caliber 9455 MC hand-wound movement -a mechanism that was just presented by the Swiss-based brand and is supposed to power their most compact timekeepers- rests not behind, but inside the skeletonized dial!

Stamped with the famous Geneva Seal of the Geneva School of Horology (it basically means that the movement was manufactured in the City or Canton of Geneva and that the caliber meets all the specifications of the Specific Regulations for Geneva Seal Watch Movements law) and is delivered with a numbered certificate of origin. Besides the usual bragging rights that come with the paper, it also guarantees the highest build quality that money can get in this price niche.

Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton watch

The dial, which is machined out of a solid chunk of precious metal and is about four or five millimeters thick, makes the visible parts of the movement look even smaller and more fragile.

Trying to make the watch as legible as possible, Cartier’s designers added a number of “spokes” between the inner and outer parts of the dial to serve as hour indices. However, that was a terrible, unforgivable mistake. Every “spoke” is made in the same style as Roman numeral “I”, so at 12 o’clock, we now see an impossible number of IXIV, instead of XII.

Well, that is, perhaps, watch’s only problem, since it leaves an impression of a very well-balanced job. Even the winding crown with its blue jewel cabochon looks pretty much in place here.

Cartier plans to limit Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton watch‘s production at only 100 watches significantly increasing its future value on collector’s market. As usual, the only downside to this watch is its outrageous price. Set to arrive to the brand’s United States stores wearing a price tag of $130,000 USD, the gadget will be out of reach for approximately 99 percent of the brand’s faithful followers. Perhaps, this is what makes it even more desirable, eh?

Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton (ref. W1580046 in 18-carat rose gold) hand-wound watch

Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton watch (detail, tourbillon carriage)

See also: Chronoswiss Zeitzeichen (Signs of the Times) collection by Jochen Benzinger

Photos: Cartier

Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton (refs. W1580031 & W1580046) hand-wound watch specification

Price range: $130,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Cartier Caliber 9455 MC, in-house, marked with Geneva Seal, Swiss Made
Winding: Manual (hand-wound)
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, flying tourbillon
Power reserve: 50 hours
Case material: 18-carat white gold (also available in 18-carat rose gold)
Case size: 45.00 mm
Case height: 12.40 mm
Dial: Skeletonized, 18-carat gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black authentic leather strap; Deployment clasp with push button in white gold
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Sapphire

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