Watches: Cartier Rotonde Astrocalendaire

By Thierry Ané on December 18, 2013

When they are not creating unheard-of functions and other world-firsts, the talented watchmakers of Cartier Fine Watchmaking still manage to surprise us by reinterpreting classical complications from an entirely new perspective. In late January, during the 24th SIHH exhibition, Cartier will officially introduce the Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendaire. Today, let us have a first glance at this fine timepiece that fits perfectly into Cartier's unmistakable style.

Some people may think it is always pointless to reinvent the wheel. I don’t know your position on this, but as far as I am concerned, when the goal is to create an amazing and absolutely unique visual effect as it is the case with the Rotonde Astrocalendaire, I bow down to the genius of the watchmakers responsible for this aesthetic feast.

In this instance, the raison d’être of the inventive design is to put the refined flying tourbillon in the limelight. A large circular aperture, positioned at 6 o’clock, occupies about two-third of the dial and showcases a magnificent flying tourbillon with a Cartier C-Shape bridge at its core. It overlaps with the off-centred hours and minutes display located at 12 o’clock to form a huge figure “8” on the otherwise silver guilloché dial.

It seems as if no room was left for the perpetual calendar, a complication with multiple displays that more often than not creates a cluttered dial. This is where the creativity and aesthetic sense of Cartier’s watchmaking team comes into play. All the important calendar functions are displayed concentrically around the flying tourbillon over different levels, thus creating a sensational 3-dimensional effect. Moving down from the main dial level to the embedded tourbillon, the date, the month and day-of-the-week are indicated by blue PVD windows moving on concentric rings positioned on different levels. It gives the impression of looking at an amphitheatre from above with the tourbillon on the central performance area and the calendar informations on different levels of the bleachers.

The last important information of the perpetual calendar, the leap year indication, appears on the back of the movement. The sapphire case back also gives you the opportunity to gaze at the self-winding 9459 MC calibre. Realised in Cartier’s new workshop in Geneva, it bears the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva.

This beautiful watch features a 45 mm “Rotonde” case made of platinum and is fitted with a black alligator strap. Only 100 pieces of this exceptional watch will be produced and the retail price is set at €150,000. An outstanding timepiece in pure Cartier style!

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: