The French jeweler will soon officially present its new Cartier Tourbillon and Crocodile Calibre 9458 MC (ref. HPI00414) ladies watch. As it is often the case with high-jewelry watches, the new model is presented in an oversized case that not only provides its hand-wound movement with a voluminous interior, but also leaves enough space for the large reptile, which is crafted from white gold and set with dozens of diamonds.
It is always a great pleasure to see a jewelry watch that also has a serious complication on board. The pleasure is even greater if the movement is made totally in-house and show real technical ingenuity behind it. Such is the new Cartier Tourbillon and Crocodile Calibre 9458 MC ladies watch that will be presented in metal next January at the annual SIHH 2011 event.
The Calibre 9458 MC manual-wind movement that animates the watch is made totally in-house and represents another step for Cartier towards becoming a real Manufacture.
Well, being a subsidiary of the well-known Richemont Group that owns such legendary Swiss brands as Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, and the German A. Lange & Söhne, it was only a matter of time before the necessary know-how and technical expertise would be transferred to the French jeweler. Measuring 39 mm in diameter and 5.6 mm thick, the movement is by no means small. However, it must feel totally home inside a 44.5 mm case made of rhodium-plated 18-carat white gold.
The case was made so large in order to provide adequate living quarters for a generously-sized crocodile. Also crafted of white gold, the beast looks suspiciously akin to the reptile that swallowed Captain Hook’s right hand and also demonstrated good appetite towards mechanical clocks. As you can see, the emerald-stud crocodile feels itself quite comfortably lying on the black mother of pearl dial among enameled water lilies (the enameled parts are only those in green and red: the petals seem to be crafted from exquisitely cut colorless diamonds.)
The only source of annoyance for it may be the flying tourbillon, which is suspended above the dial and also serves as a small second indicator using a C-shaped carriage as a pointer. Well, at least the croco can always eat the rotating thing if it gets really irritated.
P.S. Cartier plans to produce and sell only 50 numbered units of this beautiful watch. The price is predictably high. In fact, it is predictably prohibitively high: the French brand plans to charge as much as €260,000 for each of this plus-size beauties. Of course, it is not just the sheer volume of gold and diamonds that went into making this timekeeper: with all the high-skilled manual labor that was invested in the watch, I am, frankly, surprised that it isn’t even more expensive than it is.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Cartier Tourbillon and Crocodile Calibre 9458 MC (ref. HPI00414) manual-wind watch specification
Price: €260,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Cartier Caliber 9458 MC, 39.00 mm in diameter, 5.58 mm in height, 167 parts, in-house, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 21,600 vph
Winding: Manual (hand-wound)
Functions: Hours, minutes, flying tourbillon
Power reserve: 50 hours
Case material: 18-carat White gold
Bezel material: 18-carat White gold
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 44.50 mm
Case height: 10.00 mm
Dial: Black Mother-of-Pearl
Hands: Blue, sword-shaped
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black brushed canvas, ardillon buckle in rhodium-plated 18 carat white gold, set with diamonds
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire