Watches: Cartier Rotonde Annual Calendar

By Thierry Ané on January 7, 2015

Two days ago, in my presentation of IWC's new Portugieser Annual CalendarWatches: IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar collection, I was arguing that the "Annual Calendar" has become a very popular complication among the major players of the watch industry. With a sneak peek of its 2015 collection, Cartier is another stronghold of Haute Horlogerie to prove me right with the "Rotonde de Cartier Annual Calendar" available in pink gold or in white gold.

This renowned Maison is not experimenting for the first time with this highly useful complication, though, and back in 2012, they already presented a "Rotonde de Cartier Annual Calendar" in pink gold or white gold.

A comparison of the 2012 and 2015 models in pink gold

At first sight, both models are extremely similar and one needs to scrutinise both pictures long enough to discover the subtle changes. One has to see both timepieces first hand, though, to tell the biggest difference: the size of the watch’s case. Indeed, the 2012 versions sported a generous 45 mm diameter making for a nice presence on the wrist and a beautiful surface on the dial to display the annual calendar information and set the “Cartier style”.

Following the recent “smaller is better” trend, the 2015 models offer a much more modest 40 mm case with a thickness of 13.26 mm. It retains the usual characteristics of a “Rotonde” watch: a round fully polished case with straight lugs bearing apparent screws and the iconic beaded crown adorned with a blue sapphire.

Some may say that the reduction in size represents a return to classic elegance but I personally have a hard time getting excited for a watch I consider too small for today’s tastes (people can say whatever they want but once you have worn 44 mm watches and above, the smaller models always look slightly ridiculous and outdated on the wrist).

The new watches are equipped with the same self-winding 9908 MC calibre that was powering the 2012 releases. This sophisticated in-house movement offers an annual calendar in addition to the time of the day. The display of the calendar indications has been slightly altered with the newest renderings: we still have two large windows at noon for the date indication but the month that was previously given on the outer edge of the dial thanks to a centrally-mounted hammer-shaped red hand is now read in a semi-circular-shaped window at 6 o’clock that leaves the previous and forthcoming months apparent.

A central red hammer is still used for the day-of-the-week indication that has moved one circle outward. Overall, I find the new layout much neater although I regret the openwork on the large Roman Numerals adorning the dial. The pink gold version features a silver-coloured guilloché work and is paired with a brown alligator strap while the slate-coloured guilloché of the white gold model is beautifully completed by a black alligator strap.

Since most movements are relatively small in diameter, an obvious advantage of reducing the size of the case is to achieve a better fit and a nicer view from the sapphire crystal of the back of the case. There, you will be able to admire the large “Côtes de Genève” decorations adorning the oscillating weight and the bridges.

Overall, this is an extremely well-crafted model with a useful complication and a stunning Cartier design. Although I would stick to the 2012 version just for the size, I have no doubt this new Rotonde de Cartier Annual Calendar will have a successful future.

For more information please visit the Cartier web site.

For a technical description of the timepieces and additional pictures: