If there was only one thing to embody about Cartier Watches it could easily be how the brand masters shapes. Round, Square, oval, rectangular, deconstructed… There are many variations at Cartier and most of them are full of elegance, somehow eccentric but never overdone. The Old Maison is good at it, as we’ve seen recently with the Clé de Cartier of the Crash Skeleton. For the SIHH 2016, a new variation, more masculine, slightly vintage-oriented has been introduced and then again, it doesn’t disappoint the senses. Hands-on with the new Drive de Cartier, in its simplest, 3-hand automatic edition.
Last year, Cartier launched a new watch, with a brand new design, elegant and balanced, called the Clé de Cartier (that, for your information, is now available in stainless steel too and not only in precious metals). The Clé is definitely an interesting offering but it is intended to be a unisex watch, as available from the start in several sizes (31mm and 35mm for women and 40mm for men – and some feminine or complicated editions also sized at 41mm, like the recent Heures Mystérieuses). However, in terms of novelties, there was a clear lack of pure men’s watches, as Cartier was more or less relying on the icons – Tank or Santos – or the sporty Calibre. In terms of elegant, men’s oriented watches, the Old Maison had to react. And the answer came this year with the new Drive de Cartier.
As we told you, Cartier is all about shapes and the Drive de Cartier is no exception to the rule. Don’t expect a classical round watch. For their new collection, the brand chose a quite retro inspiration, a slightly vintage automotive inspired watch. The case is special. it isn’t round, it isn’t squared… it’s a masculine rounded cushion shape, with elegant and slim lines. The case of the Drive de Cartier measures a reasonable 40mm, which could be seen as short on paper by some but do consider the shape. A squarish watch will always look and feel bigger than a round timepiece. Thus, it has a rather pleasant presence on the wrist, without being massive. The case isn’t that slim at 11.25mm but its construction virtually reduces the height, due to very thin casebands (all the thickness is absorbed by the caseback).
Just like some other Cartier watches, the Drive de Cartier has this unique strength; having a shaped-watch that boasts some originality without being once inelegant or too visible. It sits well on the wrist, it is masculine and you can easily imagine wearing this watch during the week with a suit or during the weekend with a pair of sneakers. The dial is pure Cartier, with a central guilloché part surrounded by Roman Numerals on a sunburst flange. The swords hands are, as usual, blued. It will be available in this classical silver dial / stainless steel proposition but also with a black dial on steel and in gold, with a choice of silver or dark grey dial.
Inside the Drive de Cartier ticks an in-house automatic movement… but not the entry-level movement found in the Clé de Cartier (the calibre 1847 MC). Here, Cartier made the choice of the Calibre 1904MC-PS (for petite seconde). The 1904 MC is a visually simple movement that displays the hours, the minutes, a small second and a date. It was the first movement entirely made in-house by Cartier. It is shared with the sporty Calibre de Cartier. However, as said, this movement sits in the upper range of the 3-hand calibres of Cartier, mainly because of its finishing (slightly more detailed than the 1847 MC) and because of the double barrel, which will help accuracy (better distribution of the torque) and slightly increase the power reserve to 48 hours. This movement is visible through the caseback of the Drive de Cartier. It shows a pleasant execution, with Geneva Stripes on the bridges and on the rotor.
The Drive de Cartier is a rather refreshing novelty, with an inspired design that will please men that wanted to see more masculine watches from Cartier. Considering the price, the offer becomes even more attractive. The Drive de Cartier will start at 5,950 Euros in stainless steel and 18,500 Euros in 18k pink gold. Also note the existence of a Dual Time edition (8,400 Euros in steel) and of a tourbillon edition (86,500 Euros in pin gold). Available in stores in April 2016. More details on cartier.com.