The French luxury jeweler keeps introducing skeletonized timepieces. The latest in the series is the new Cartier Santos Dumont Carbon Skeleton Titanium (Ref. W2020052) hand-wound watch that was officially presented last week at SIHH 2011 trade fair. Featuring their signature “full skeleton” dial, the watch looks like a step in the right direction from their previous attempts.
As you can see on the pictures, the new watch continues the trend that started last year when the French brand has unveiled its Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton timepiece.
Like the last year’s model, the new Cartier Santos Dumont Carbon Skeleton lacks any dial in its usual meaning. Instead, it has the back-plate of its in-house movement machined to the point when you can see your own hair behind the timekeeper’s sapphire back.
Even the stylized Roman numerals are in fact skeletonized bridges of the Cartier 9612 MC manually-wound movement.
Still, given its styling, I would say that this open-worked wonder is fairly easy to read, at least when lighting is good. The hours and minutes indicators are crafted from polished and rhodium-plated brass and are wide enough for you not to be confused when there is a need to check time in a hurry.
As usual, I subtract a whole point out of final legibility rating due to the fact that this blacked-out watch lacks a single drop of Superluminova on its dial. Still, it is at least whole 3 out of 5.
The manufacture-made caliber is so extensively skeletonized, that the gear train, as well as the mainspring barrel seem to float in thin air: a difficult task to accomplish when you have to make the watch look cool while preserving its structural rigidity.
The movement is built on 20 rubies and comprises 138 parts, while offering at least 72 hours of continuous operation when fully wound.
Like the elegant titanium body, the movement is subjected to ADLC treatment, which is more flexible and scratch-resistant than “traditional” DLC coatings, but looks like an overkill when applied to watchmaking.
Well, at least it sounds cool.
On the other hand, when you are buying an expensive piece of art like this one (and Cartier, by the way, plans to retails this black beauty for whole $50,000, although there will probably be all sorts of discounts for loyal customers,) you never have too much protection, especially if you, like me, tend to run into things while in a hurry.
Official specification states that the titanium case of the timekeeper measures 47 millimeters in length and 39 mm in width. That, of course, includes its pair of integrated lugs, so in reality this beast is not larger than a normal 42 mm dress watch with normal horns.
Thanks to its hand-wound mechanism, the case is also relatively thin, so wearing it with a suit will never be a problem.
Another good thing about this timepiece’s design is, of course, the girth of its nut-shaped crown that seems to be quite easy to operate and the way the side of the body is machined-out in order to make natural crown-guards that help to protect the delicate mechanism from all sorts of shocks.
Cartier Santos Dumont Carbon Skeleton Titanium (Ref. W2020052) manual-wind watch specification
Movement: Hand-wound, Cartier Caliber 9612 MC, 20 jewels, 28.60 mm x 28.60 mm in width, 3.97 mm in height, 138 components, 28,800 vph, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power reserve: 72 hours (3 days)
Case material: Titanium
Bezel material: Titanium
Case shape: Cushion
Bezel shape: Cushion
Case size: 47.00 mm x 39.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: No data
Hands: Sword-shaped, rhodium-plated brass
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Alligator skin with double adjustable deployant buckle in 18-carat white gold and ADLC coating
Case back: Sapphire