Apart from the Cadran Love Tourbillon Watch, Skeleton Grand Complication Pocket Watch and Masse Secrete Panther Décor Watch we previously reviewed, Cartier has prepared another supreme timepiece for the upcoming SIHH 2012. The famous watch and jewelry manufacturer from France will also be presenting its first ever product with the minute repeater, one of the most beloved and prized complications.
It took half a decade for Cartier to complete the construction of Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon timepiece which demonstrates all the complexity of the new wristwatch. However, after five years, Cartier is finally ready to unveil its accomplishment and it comes as no surprise that many people from the industry consider it to be among the most noted pieces at the exclusive watch show in Geneva.
Cartier’s first minute repeater is enabled by the development of the in-house made hand-wound 9402 MC movement whose creation was supervised by Carole Forestier, the brand’s head movement designer, often called “queen of the tourbillon” for her impressive craftsmanship and skills. The new mechanism with Geneva seal certification is comprised of 447 components and 45 jewels, and it features a flying tourbillon and a minute repeater. The latter complication, which is immensely rare and therefore equally cherished in modern timepieces, dates from the late 17th century. It enables the watch to show the correct time with the series of chimes (with different gongs for hours, quarter of hours and minutes). The function was developed before the artificial illumination and nowadays, it is rarely used due to the modern alternatives that allow the correct time to be displayed in the dark. Still, because of its intricacy, the minute repeater remains highly sought by the true watch enthusiasts. The French watchmaker has managed to bring the function to an even higher level.
Loud & Clear
The sound of the activated minute repeater is extremely clear and surprisingly loud (68 or 65 decibels, depending on a version). As the representatives of the company explained, the loudness of the sound of gongs depends on the size and its weight. In order to produce a more powerful sound, it is necessary that the watch is bigger and lighter at the same time. This is exactly the reason why the titanium version of the new Cartie Retondo Minute Repeater Watch reaches 68 decibels, three decibels more than the pink gold version (titanium is lighter than gold). However, the sheer volume is not enough, because the gongs need to produce clear sound. Therefore, the precision and the complexity of constructing this feature can be compared to the manufacture of a musical instrument. Another great detail is the fact that Cartier’s minute repeater will not be producing a soft grinding noise that is common for watches with this complication. This was made possible due to the inclusion of the silent air governor. Unlike in most timepieces with the complication, the minute repeater in Carier’s new product is activated with a push-button, instead of the usual slide, which is done to reduce the weight.
The previously described formula is also the reason why this model has a relatively large diameter of 45 mm. As it was mentioned, there are two different types of cases for this limited edition timepiece. The first one is constructed with grade 5 polished titanium housing, while the second one is made of 18K pink gold. Cartier has announced its plans to make just 50 pieces in each of those casings. The exclusivity of the limited edition rises, because only 20 of these watches can be made during the course of a year. The production of a version with baguette diamonds is also in plan.
Price Tag Just Below $300,000
Besides, the design of the dial exudes the sophistication. The color of the dial matches the case in which it is made. It is supplemented with blue hands and Roman numerals. Two of the watch’s technological marvels can be gazed upon through its face. Its flying tourbillon is situated at the top of the dial, and two hammers that chime two hardened gongs made of steel can be seen at the six o’clock position. In order to insure the practicality and the safe use of this micro-mechanical marvel, Cartier has made sure that the Rondo Flying Torbillon Minute Repeater timepiece has water resistance to 30 m.
Such high quality and exceptional features are the reason why this product is worth a lot of money. All potential buyers will have to pay around $287,000 for the titanium version, and seven thousand more for the pink gold variation. The highly anticipated wristwatch was recently previewed in New York, while its official unveiling is scheduled for SIHH 2012.