Cartier just released two very interesting ‘Rotonde de Cartier’ models and I was very pleased that I had a chance to see and handle them last week, in the Amsterdam Cartier Boutique. The ‘Rotonde de Cartier’ is one of the newer models, in the Cartier collection and dates back to 2006, when Cartier introduced this new case design. At the time the ‘Rotonde de Cartier’ was introduced, the men‘s watch collection needed an all round and universal case, to house the high end calibers that were already in final stage of development.
Today, eight years later, the ‘Rotonde de Cartier’ has become the ultimate model for Cartier’s complicated men’s time pieces. Housed in strong masculine, but still elegant cases, varying in sizes from just 40mm up to a hefty 47mm and always made in 18k gold or palladium. Cartier’s decision to produce the watches in precious metals only, made the ‘Rotonde de Cartier’ watch not affordable for a large audience and maybe not always as easy to use as a daily wearer, in an office environment, for everyone.
This has now all been changed, since Cartier decided to release two new small complication models, in an all steel case!
When I handled the new watches I was excited. I absolutely love the feel of steel as a material for watches, since it is strong, easy to wear and good looking. Both watches look impeccable and when compared to their counterparts in pink gold, Cartier has certainly not skimped on quality.
The dial finish is just gorgeous and so are the steel blued hands. The looks of these steel watches is different from the rich pink gold versions, but certainly no less attractive or cheap looking.
ROTONDE de CARTIER, CALENDAR APERTURE and POWER RESERVE
This is my favourite of the two. Very slim 40 mm case with closed back. Mechanical hand wound 9753MC caliber, developed by Piaget for Cartier. Very nice power reserve meter @ 6 and triple date window @ 12, not touching the second indexes. It is a very smart looking and elegant watch and the perfect match for a cuffed shirt and suit.
ROTONDE DE CARTIER, LARGE DATE RETROGRADE SECOND TIME ZONE, DAY & NIGHT INDICATOR
For roughly Euro 800.- or US$ 1000.- more, there is the 42mm Rotonde with a more complicated caliber. The case is larger, thicker (11,96mm) and it has a sapphire glass back to show Cartier’s own automatic 1904-FU MC caliber.
A beautiful feature is the coloured day & night indicator that can be adjusted by pushing the crown. Located at 6 is the petite seconde, that could have had a bit more attention during the design stage; I find it a little too plain and too clean looking for this gorgeous and classic looking dial. The retrograde second time zone, that is also easy to adjust by pushing the crown, is located at 10 o’clock and is very smart looking and clear solution to show the time of another continent.
Both models have the typical fluted Rotonde crown, decorated with a synthetic cabochon-shaped spinel and both watches have silvered guilloché dials.
Some may feel that these two steel Rotonde watches are a bit of a downgrading of the ‘Rotonde de Cartier’ series; I see it as a great opportunity, to obtain a top of the line Cartier time piece, for an excellent price, since both models will set you back roughly Euro 7000.- but for exact pricing in your territory, please check cartier.com and select your country.