Cartier’s headliner launch was the Clé de Cartier Replica collection, an entirely new family of timepieces whose case design incorporated a key-operated winding crown. Today Cartier unveiled the first skeletonized watch in that collection, which also features Cartier’s first-ever skeletonized automatic movement made in-house.
The movement in the Cartier Clé de Cartier Automatic Skeleton is Cartier’s brand-new Caliber 9612 MC, whose openworked architecture showcases bridges in the shape of Roman numerals III, VI, IX, and XII— a motif that Cartier has used previously in skeletonized versions of its Santos-Dumont, Tank MC, and Astrotourbillon Skeleton Fake watches, the last utilizing only the VI and XII numerals. The difference here is that the movement is self-winding rather than manual-winding. Cartier’s watchmakers met the considerable challenge of blending a skeleton structure with an automatic winding mechanism by developing a skeletonized rotor, made of 22k gold, that maintains a delicate balance between thickness and diameter; it is nearly invisible when not in motion, as the periphery of the rotor hugs the edges of the movement.
Caliber 9621 MC measures 31.05 mm in diameter and 5.66 mm thick. It is composed of 165 parts, among which are 28 jewels, and has a balance frequency of 28,800 vph. When fully wound, it holds a minimum power reserve of 48 hours, according to Cartier.
The Copy Cle de Cartier Automatic Skeleton watch is offered in a case of 950/1000 palladium, measuring 41 mm in diameter and 11.45 mm thick. The sword-shaped hour and minute hands are in blued steel, matching the blue sapphire that serves as the “key” in the winding crown. Sapphire crystals in the front and back of the case display the skeletonized movement from both sides. The watch, which is water-resistant to a modest 30 meters, comes on a black alligator strap with a double adjustable folding clasp in 18k white gold.
The Rotonde de Cartier Replica Astromystérieux, introduced at this year, is Cartier’s third “mystery” wristwatch, after the Mysterious Hour and Mysterious Double Tourbillon. In this one, central hour and minutes hands appear to be floating in a 25.7-mm space in the center of the watch, while rotating around the dial. Floating with them are the escapement, balance wheel, gear train and barrel, arranged along a central axis.
The revolving escapement makes the Astromystérieux a very unconventional tourbillon. Fake Cartier calls it “a groundbreaking and ingenious new interpretation of the tourbillon.” The “mysterious” part of the watch consists of four stacked sapphire disks, all made in-house: an hour disk, a tourbillon disk, a winding disk and a fixed disk. In conventional tourbillons, the escapement and balance wheel are in a cage, which rotates to counteract the effects of gravity on the movement. Here the rotating disks replace the cage.
A sapphire disk with a large diameter serves as the lower bridge, together with two upper bridges, one holding the balance wheel and the other the escapement, gear train, and barrel. The Charming Fake Cartier uses the same principle as Cartier mystery clocks do: in a mystery clock, the hands are not linked directly to the movement but to the disks. The disks are fitted with serrated metal edges and are turned by the movement. In the case of clocks, the movement is hidden at the base of the clock; in watches, the movement’s components are assembled around the four disks at the edge of the dial. The hour disk is linked to the tourbillon disk, which completes one rotation per hour.
The new hand-wound movement is made in-house and consists of 408 parts, including 188 ball bearings. It has a power reserve of about 50 hours.Swiss Cartier Watches has registered patents for the movement’s winding system, time-setting system and brake lever system.The Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux watch has a palladium case that is 43.5 mm. in diameter and 12 mm thick.