The most anticipated watch by Cartier which will be seen at the upcoming SIHH 2016 event is called Clé de Cartier Automatic Skeleton. It is a truly minimalistic and captivating piece whose movement’s bridges are at the same time used as numerals of the dial. The watch set in a typical Clé de Cartier styled housing made of rare palladium will be the first ever timekeeper by the brand to be equipped with a skeleton self-winding caliber. Its price is yet to be officially announced, but some reports set it at around $61,000.
At the last edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlegerie, Cartier unveiled its Clé de Cartier collection, named after the distinctively shaped crown which resembles a key (Clé is French for crown). The entire collection features crowns with a built-in sapphire jewel set in an unorthodox manner to make it seem like an integrate part of the metal that surrounds it. Apart from this crown that evokes the type of winding of olden times, there are several aesthetic elements that are common to the series. Some of them are a curved profile for its case-back (which makes the watch more ergonomic), as well as a specific curved look of a bezel.
Each of these mentioned elements are once again visible in the new addition to the collection – Clé de Cartier Automatic Skeleton. In addition to this, the novelty will also come with a self-winding skeletonized movement. New Caliber Cartier 9612 MC is the first ever in-house movement to combine this set of features which makes the new timekeeper even more appealing.
‘Invisible’ Oscillating Weight
Interestingly, the exposed movement has its bridges in a form of Roman numerals at four of its cardinal points. This way, the structural elements of the movement in the same time serve as the hour markers of its skeleton dial. It is not the first time that the brand has done so, since there are examples of movements with four or two “bridge numerals” of this nature. However, none of them up until now was combined with automatic winding as it is the case with the newcomer.
The major challenge to make all of this possible is to create a winding rotor which would not disturb the skeleton structure and, fortunately, the brand succeeded to surpass this obstacle by creating a rotor which perfectly fits to its surroundings. In fact, it seems almost invisible when it is not moving and it perfectly reaches the periphery of the caliber and thus fits it in an optimal manner. The oscillating is likewise skeletonized and made of 22 K gold.
Novel proprietary Caliber 8621 MC is comprised of 165 parts in total which includes 28 jewels that are integrated into its construction. It possesses the diameter of 31.05 mm and the flat profile of 5.66 mm. Its power storage provides a reserve of 48 hours once fully wound. Its operational frequency is 28,800 vph.
Cartier Clé de Cartier Automatic Skeleton is placed inside an ovoid shaped case made of rare palladium 950/1000 material. This shape of the housing is, along with the tapered horns, also one of recognizable visual elements of the watches from the collection. In this instance, the palladium case is 41 mm wide and 11.45 mm thick. The structure of the timekeeper guarantees water resistance to 30 meters.
Minimalistic and Legible
Surrounded by a fixed bezel there is a sapphire crystal which is once again present on the rear side of the casing. As for the skeleton dial, it features blue sword-shaped hands (made in the same shade like the sapphire in the crown), the mentioned bridges in the form of Roman numerals, as well as other bridges in the form of spokes (eight of them). The dial includes nothing else, so it does not impair the vision of its novel movement and its functional components.
Carier Clé de Cartier Automatic Skeleton piece is paired with a black alligator leather strap. It fastens with a double and adjustable folding clasp which is not made in the same material as the housing, as it is usually the case. In this instance, the scarce palladium is replaced with 18 K white gold.
The new watch which will undoubtedly become the flagship of the collection will also have an even more lavish version. This variant will be made with brilliant-cut diamond setting on its case. It is still unknown what the exact weight of these gems will be. However, it is obvious that the precision stones will further raise the price of the ground-breaking model whose “regular’ price will be set at around $61,000.