At the last SIHH 2011 industry event that gathers crème de la crème of the Swiss watchmaking community, the French jeweler that also rapidly becomes a serious Manufacture, has presented the limited-edition Extra-Flat Ballon Bleu de Cartier collection. The one that is -regretfully rather briefly- reviewed here, is the version that features a precious platinum case and comes with a reference number of W6920059. With its daringly huge diameter of 46 millimeters that is nicely contrasted by a hair-thin profile, it will surely attract attention to its owner, whether they want it or not.
There is still no info regarding the mechanism that powers the Ballon Bleu*, but it is clear that the new Extra-Flat Ballon Bleu de Cartier (ref. W6920059) is a simplified -or, rather, streamlined- version of the original model that was presented last year at SIHH 2010.
Compared to the predecessor, the new watch will arrive sans the central second hand and will also lack the small date window at 3 o’clock.
However, at least in this particular case, simpler is better than more complicated. Without the omitted elements the Ballon Bleu’s dial now looks even more sober and elegant.
Also, the removal of the date aperture has allowed to better focus the attention of an observer on the smooth bend of the minute track done in order to provide extra space for the fluted winding crown, which is traditionally adorned with a cabochon, a blue one in this particular case.
As you can see in the picture, the platinum version features a deep-blue dial that is decorated with a pertinent sunburst finish and provides the Ballon Bleu with even more visual depth.
The elegance and exclusivity come at a price, though. According to the company, the Extra-Flat Ballon Bleu de Cartier in 950/1000 Platinum will bear an impressive price tag of $32,500.
* UPDATE ON MOVEMENT: Okay, it’s been confirmed that the watch is animated by Cartier caliber 430 MC: the same ultra-thin movement that powers the gorgeous Le Cirque Animalier collection that, too, was revealed this year at SIHH 2011. Based on the well-known Piaget Caliber 430P, a technological marvel that measures just over two millimeters thick and offers superb build quality and accuracy, the mechanism is elegantly and discreetly re-finished by Cartier’s own artisans and, surprisingly, looks a lot better than the original, although this is a matter of personal opinion.
Extra-Flat Ballon Bleu de Cartier (ref. W6920059) in 950/1000 Platinum specification
Movement: Cartier Calibre 430 MC (base Piaget Caliber 430P,) Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 21,600 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power reserve: 43 hours
Case: 950/1000 Platinum (there are also versions in rose gold and white gold)
Size: 46.00 mm
Case height: 7.00 mm
Dial: Deep blue, sunburst pattern
Hands: Sword-shaped, rhodium-plated steel
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Blue alligator leather strap with a double adjustable folding clasp in 950/1000 platinum
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective