Set to be unveiled in flesh at SIHH 2013 trade show, the new Calibre de Cartier Chronograph (refs. W7100046 and W7100044) automatic watch features everything you would expect from the French jewelry brand’s watchmaking division: the Roman numerals with an oversized “XII”, a pair of sword-shaped hands and, of course, the seven-sided winding crown either in rose gold or steel decorated with a blue cabochon.
As usual, there is a little twist to the timekeeper’s design.
As you can see on the photos, the silvered opaline dial of the watch features a rather unusual layout with the higher part marked with black Roman numerals, while the lower sporting a set of five applied rectangular hour markers. Thanks to this approach, the dial of the new chronograph doesn’t look as heavy and is in fact easier to read!
Although the numerals and indices are neither luminous themselves nor accompanied by luminous dots, the watch is still readable at night: crafted from oxidized black steel, its sword-shaped hour and minute hands are covered with white Superluminova.
The new Calibre de Cartier Chronograph is powered by their fresh Caliber 1904-CH automatic movement that features 48 hours of power reserve and is equipped with vertical coupling mechanism that not only makes the chronograph second hand run “cleaner”, but also allows the chronograph to run for long hours without affecting the accuracy of the watch itself.
Manufactured solely in-house*, the movement is nicely decorated with brilliantly executed Geneva Stripes pattern.
Measuring just 42 millimeters in diameter (I mean, the watch is relatively compact if you compare it to other “sporty” chronographs with similar price tag,) the watch is quite compact, but surely looks huge thanks to its massive lugs and chunky (well, as chunky as such tiny parts can be) chronograph push-pieces that are mounted on a solid-looking “pedestal” of the crown guard. Well, that’s a sports watch, it is supposed to look massive.
According to the brand’s press release, the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Automatic is going to be released both in stainless steel and rose gold.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
* UPDATE ON THE MOVEMENT: Well, I think that it needs to be clarified what Cartier regards as an “in-house movement” here. The mechanism was actually developed by ValFleurier: a Swiss-based maker of fine mechanisms. Since the company is owned by the same Richemont International SA holding company that also happens to own Cartier, all their mechanism that are installed in timekeepers by brands owned by Richemont can be rightfully (or, perhaps, technically) called “in-house” by respective brands. Just don’t imagine that the Caliber 1904-CH is manufactured by Cartier’s employees.
Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Automatic watch specification
Price: From $10,000 USD (MSRP, ref. W7100046 in steel on leather strap) to $29,000 (MSRP, ref. W7100044 in rose gold on brown leather strap)
Movement: Automatic, Cartier Caliber 1904-CH, in-house, 26.18 mm x 5.71 mm, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 35
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Movement decoration: Geneva Stripes
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, chronograph
Case material: Stainless steel / 18-carat rose gold / Two-tone rose gold and steel (ref. W7100042 on two-tone steel/gold bracelet)
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case, decorated with blue synthetic spinel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 12.60 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Silvered opaline
Hour markers: Applied
Hands: Sword-shaped, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black authentic leather strap (ref. W7100046 in stainless steel) or bracelet with safety clasp (ref. W7100045 in stainless steel)
Case back: Sapphire