Alongside the consumer oriented watches, Cartier has another field of mastering: extremely complicated watches. Just take a look at the Astrontourbillon Skeleton, the Tank MC Skeleton, the bunch of Tourbillon, minute repeaters or perpetual calendars in the catalog. We’re far from a simple – but highly cool – Tank or Santos. For the 2015 edition of the SIHH, Cartier comes with something truly spectacular, mixing 3 of the main complications – tourbillon, minute repeater and Perpetual calendar – in a very slim movement. Here is the Rotonde de Cartier Grand Complication Calibre 9406MC.
What we have here is haute horlogerie at its finest. Not only three of the main complications are brought together in the Rotonde de Cartier, but to the package is added a skeletonized dial, an automatic winding mechanism into a slim – 5.49mm – movement (which is, considering the level of complexity, impressive). The Rotonde de Cartier Grand Complication Calibre 9406MC proves once again how serious Cartier is in terms of matchmaking.
Inside a case made of Platinum – the case measures 45mm x 12.6mm – we find the calibre 9406MC. On the front are visible the Tourbillon (at 12), the 3 sub-dials of the perpetual calendar and the hammers (at 6) and its gongs around the dial. The dial – at what can be seen as a dial – allows to see all the innards of the movement and all its main point of interest. Extremely complicated at first sight, legibility remains very good (for this type of watch) as the sub-coutners are well highlighted and blued hands contrasts well with the full silvery context.
The back also reveals a superb show, with all the levers and gears of the minute repeater visible thourgh the sapphire crystal. As expected in such a watch, the finishing is exquisite, with a full range of anglage, circular graining, black polishing and hand-made details everywhere. It’s complex, technical, superbly overloaded – in a word, one of Cartier’s nicest movement ever. One of the surprises is the tiny micro-rotor, something Cartier is not known for but that allows the movement to be thin – not the case, which is actually surprising. Movement measures only 5.49mm but the case remains quite thick at 12.6mm. We know that inure repeaters need some space to sound well but a 10mm case would have been more refined and elegant.
On the wrist, the Rotonde de Cartier Grand Complication is certainly not the easiest watch to wear, because its size and complexity. However, the strength of the Rotonde is to have very short lugs that allows large cases to feel comfortable. The neutral colors provides the elegance and discretion expected by a Cartier.
In the end the Rotonde de Cartier Grand Complication Calibre 9406MC is technically really impressive, visually superb creation and a wholly it proves how Cartier can achieve superb watches.