At the international watch fair SIHH 2012 the French jeweler, which is gradually becoming a major watchmaker, presented its hand-wound Rotonde de Cartier Cadran Love Tourbillon (ref. W1556214). Featuring a new take on their concept of a skeletonized dial (a thick pluck of metal with cut-through Roman numerals that is actually thick enough to hold a hand-wound movement,) the watch is, as usual, daringly large and irresistibly beautiful in its own rugged way.
According to initial information that we have, the new watch will be presented in an oversized round case more than 46 millimeters in diameter. Crafted from mirror-polished 18-karat white gold, the watch signifies another resolute step in the rapid evolution of Cartier as a watchmaking brand.
Thanks to an unusual bezel flange with huge Roman numerals that are not simply applied, but cut out from solid gold, the dial of the watch resembles a miniaturized Roman amphitheater.
The “arena” is totally occupied by a pair of blued hour and minute hands and a meticulously crafted flying tourbillon complication that also serves as a small seconds indicator.
As usual for Rotonde de Cartier series, the watch lacks dial in the common meaning of the word. Instead, it has the movement’s baseplate serving as a background for the hands and the tourbillon carriage.
If the layout seems somewhat familiar to you, don’t be alarmed: it is not a case of Deja Vue and the Matrix didn’t change anything.
It is just because the new Rotonde de Cartier Cadran Love Tourbillon is powered by the same Cartier Caliber 9458 MC hand-wound movement that we have already seen early this year when the French jeweler presented its gorgeous Cartier Tourbillon and Crocodile high-jewelry ladies watch.
Manufactured in-house (yes, financially and technologically backed by the great and terrible Richemont Group that also owns Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC and A. Lange & Söhne, the French watchmaker has a good foundation to built its own watchmaking business) and decorated by hand, the movement measures impressive 39 millimeters in diameter, is almost 6 millimeters and comprises 167 components. Its main selling point is, of course, the flying tourbillon complication, which is suspended above the dial.
As you can see on the press photos, the new Cadran Love Tourbillon also features a signature winding crown, which is beaded and is set with a blue cabochon sapphire. Well, it looks like the new timekeeper perfectly balances visual elegance and refinement with a flawlessly designed and executed mechanism. A true horological chef-d’oeuvre, that.
Of course, given the materials used and the complexity of the mechanism that animates the piece, the recommended price of €146,000 seems justified, especially if you can afford one.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Rotonde de Cartier Cadran Love Tourbillon (ref. W1556214) specification
Movement: Cartier Caliber 9458 MC, hand-wound, 39.00 mm x 5.58 mm, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 19
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Movement decoration: Skeletonized, guilloched
Functions: Hours, minutes, flying tourbillon
Power reserve: 50 hours
Case: 18-karat white gold
Crown: White gold with cabochon sapphire
Size: 46.40 mm
Case height: 12.70 mm
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Blued, sword-shaped
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather strap with folding clasp in 18-karat white gold
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective