WATCH & LEARN: CARTIER SKELETON WATCHES

A tradition of fine watchmaking in every timepiece

Cartier’s arsenal of fine timepieces includes a large variety of forms and styles dating back to the beginning of the 19th century. In its early watchmaking days, Cartier made pocket watches for gentlemen and jewellery watches for ladies adorned with onyx, pearls and enamelled figures that were worn as brooches or chatelaines.

In 1904, Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont remarked to his friend Louis Cartier that while he was flying with both hands on the controls, it was impossible to read the time on his pocket watch. In response to his friend’s predicament, Cartier designed a prototype wristwatch dubbed the Santos. It was first sold in 1911 and it marked the beginning of a long legacy of innovation and fine watchmaking from Maison Cartier.

Fast forward to 2015. The pioneering spirit and design codes that have defined Cartier watchmaking have remained intact for more than a century. They can be seen in abundance in the brand’s creation of timepieces for this year’s edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) that took place in Geneva earlier this year.

Included in Cartier’s much-acclaimed SIHH collection is a selection of skeleton watches that reveal the beauty, intricacy and precision of each piece’s geometric structures and delicate movements. The traditional ancient expertise of skeletonization consists of cutting out certain non-essential metal components in a movement such as the bridges, plates and wheel trains, allowing the very heart of the mechanism to be seen and admired.

Like all Cartier watches, the skeleton pieces represent an impressive combination of innovation, heritage and art. Although not usually one to pick favourites, The Reserve found three standouts within this year’s SIHH collection.

ROTONDE DE CARTIER GRANDE COMPLICATION WATCH CALIBRE 9406 MC

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Of all Cartier watchmaking creations, the Caliber 9436 MC timepiece is the most complex. Drawing on all of its watchmaking expertise, this ultra-thin timepiece features a number of rare technical characteristics. The Caliber 9436 MC’s self-winding mechanical movement brings together three of the most prestigious fine watchmaking complications: a perpetual calendar, a minute repeater and a flying tourbillon. If it is wound once a week, this movement will indicate the date, day and month with no correction needed until the year 2100.

Cartier says the watch took five years to develop. The intricate process of creating this masterpiece required nearly eight months including 15 weeks spent on creating the components, ten weeks decorating and finishing plus an additional five weeks for assembly by a master watchmaker.

ROTONDE DE CARTIER ASTROTOURBILLON SKELETON WATCH CALIBRE 9461 MC

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Created by Cartier in 2010, the Astrotourbillon has been the subject of a great deal of watchmaking research since its very conception. Thanks to this watch with its spectacular dial, it today stands as one of the emblematic watchmaking compilations of the Cartier fine watchmaking collection. Unlike classic tourbillons that rotate around their own axis, the Astrotourbillon is distinguished by its elongated cage that enables the balance to make a complete circle of the dial in a minute.

Entirely skeletonised, the main plate of the 9461 MC movement rests on just two Roman numerals: XII and VI. In this unique architecture, these bridges powerfully structure the calibre, defining its appearance and supporting the construction.

TANK LOUIS CARTIER SKELETON SAPPHIRE WATCH, CALIBRE 9622 MC

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In keeping with the watchmaker’s innovative philosophy, the elegant Caliber 9622 MC timepiece upholds the Tank’s original bold aesthetics while adding the uniqueness of skeletonised transparency. Worn by Louis Cartier himself, the Tank Louis Cartier watch sets the standard for all Tank watches. To embody Louis Cartier’s contribution to modern style – later known as Art Deco – the tops of the lugs were rounded in contrast to the previously fashionable rectangular form and proud lines.

Still undecided on which Cartier skeleton watch is right for you?

You won’t want to miss Cartier’s much-anticipated presentation of watchmaking prowess on display at this year’s Watches & Wonders, the biggest haute horlogerie exhibition in Asia taking place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 30 September to 3 October. To request an invitation, please contact us at RSVP@thereserve-asia.com.

To be included in upcoming activities and events featuring Cartier, be sure to register your interest in this brand by visiting Reserve me here.

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T: +852 3620 3157 | F: +852 3753 1811
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16/F Chao's Building  |  143-145 Bonham Strand  |  Sheung Wan  |  Hong Kong
T: +852 33620 3157  |  F: +852 3753 1811  |  thereserve@infonation-asia.com  |  Data Policy  

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