New Watch: Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Annual CalendarBy
The annual calendar is a love/hate complication. Unlike the perpetual calendar, which only needs an adjustment once per century, the annual calendar must be corrected each year as February gives way to March. Purists might scoff at anyone who doesn't splurge for the perpetual, but for those of us less inclined to horological polemics (which, let's be clear, should be everyone), the annual calendar presents incredible value and practicality. Cartier has had an in-house annual calendar since 2012, but this rendition finally has me looking twice. And a third time.
First Thoughts: An annual calendar packs a lot of data onto a dial and often they're harder to read than that Pynchon novel you've been "getting ready to start" for the last decade. This Rotonde de Cartier is more like Hemingway. The display has been cleaned up from previous iterations, with the month display moving to a disc with three-letter abbreviations -- there's absolutely no need to have all twelve months spelled out around the edge at all times -- and the day of the week display's red hammer indicator has been streamlined and slimmed down. There's less guilloché work, cleaner numerals, and a little more je ne sais qoi (French for "makes me want to buy one immediately").
Cocktail Party Fact: Cartier is best known for being a jeweler and design house, but the fine watchmaking department has been doing truly top-tier work for the better part of a decade now. Led by Carole Forestier-Kasapi, one of the greats in contemporary watchmaking (an achievement made more impressive as a woman in a conservative, male-dominated field), Cartier has been cranking out new complications, scrapping ebauche movements in favor of in-house replacements, and giving us genuinely interesting new takes on Cartier classics. If you don't consider Cartier a "real" watchmaker at this point, it's because you don't know watchmaking.
- Case Diameter: 40mm
- Case Thickness: 13.26mm
- Case Materials: White or pink gold case, sapphire caseback
- Dial: Dark grey or silver with guilloché center
- Strap: Black or brown alligator with gold folding clasp
- Complications: Annual calendar, with month, day, and date displays
- Reference Number: WHRO0003 (white gold), WHRO0002 (pink gold)
- Caliber: 9908 MC
- Parts: 291
- Power Reserve: 48 hours
- Winding: Automatic
- Finishing: Côtes de Genève on the rotor and bridges, beveled edges, perlage baseplate, and Cartier engraving on the winding rotor
- Availability: April 2015
- Price: $34,000 (white gold), $31,000 (pink gold)
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