Downsizing is a trend that is clearly growing in the industry since the previous editions of the SIHH and Baselworld. After years of watches sized over 42mm and more, large brands are coming back to more reasonable cases’ dimensions. Following this trend, Cartier updates its Rotonde de Cartier Annual Calendar and introduces a 40mm edition, alongside the already existing 45mm version. Furthermore, this new Rotonde comes with several technical improvements.
The main objective of horology had always been miniaturization. The most demanding challenge is not to create complications but to implement them into the smallest case possible. Except when an incredible level of technology requests a large case – like in the 48mm HYT H1 or the 47mm Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime – a watch should not be sized over 42mm or 43mm, especially when talking about a dress watch. First, it contradicts the main reason of horology. Then, it ruins two of the most important factors of the wearing experience: comfort and elegance. Furthermore, markets such as Asia (not a minor market for the watch industry…) are not really big fans of oversized timepieces.
For those reasons, we’re more than pleased to see brands coming with smaller watches – one of the latest examples was IWC with its Portofino Midsize, a 37mm collection created both for women and men. The announcement by Cartier of a Rotonde de Cartier Annual Calendar in 40mm follows this trend and brings back the idea of elegance.
This new Rotonde de Cartier Annual Calendar comes now in a case measuring 40mm (case available in 18k pink gold and 18k white gold), a tremendous reduction of 5mm compared to the existing edition. It features design codes typical of the Rotonde de Cartier, a collection used by Cartier for extremely complicated watches, such as the Rotonde De Cartier Astrotourbillon Skeleton (also part of the SIHH 2015 novelties): a round case fully polished, straight lugs with screws on the sides and the iconic beaded crown with a blue sapphire. Cartier could have stopped here, by just modifying the size of the case, but instead, they also made several changes to the layout of the dial and thus, to the movement.
As you can see, the 45mm edition was using two rings, with red pointers, to indicate both the day and the month. On the new 40mm edition, the month is displayed by a rotating disc visible through a circular window at 6 and the day is indicated on an external ring, pointed by a red-hammer (just like the 45mm edition). The last indication is the date at 12 o’clock, using two numerals independently displayed. This new layout clearly improves readability and elegance, as the dial feels more balanced and less overloaded with inscriptions. The base movement remains the same, the calibre MC 9908, an in-house engine that boasts 48 hours of power reserve and visible through the sapphire crystal back – another advantage of downsizing is to have movements that fit the cases.
Another improvement is the quick-set date feature, that allows to instantaneously change the date – and thus the day and month indications – by a rapid rotation of the crown. This interesting feature will however be helpful only once a year (February 28th/29th) as an annual calendar takes into account the months with 30 or 31 days. The dial – in silvery-white on the 18k pink gold edition and dark grey on the 18k white gold – has a guilloché finish in the central part and a circular satin pattern on the hour ring, contrasting with the blued hands.
This Rotonde de Cartier Annual Calendar 40mm is another proof of Cartier’s capacity to create complicated watches, together with a superb sense of elegance, thanks to this reasonable size. Price is to be announced during the SIHH 2015, but considering the price of the 45mm edition (33.600 Euros in pink gold and 35.900 Euros in white gold), expect approximately 30.000 Euros for this 40mm edition.
For more details, please visit Cartier.