If you want to see one of the top ten watches in the world, then the 21st edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is the place to be in January 2011. While this is a strictly by-invitation event, don't be disappointed, because we are bringing you all the previews this year.
At SIHH 2010, Cartier launched the perfectly-round Calibre de Cartier. This year, the fine watchmaking maison goes a step further and launches the Calibre de Cartier Astrotourbillon watch, equipped with Calibre 9451 MC. There are quite a few innovations that Cartier has come up with. First, the tourbillon carriage is in the centre of the movement with a special rotational axis. Second, the balance and escape wheel are set to one side of the carriage for added visual drama. Third, the tourbillon is placed above the movement between two dials, which draws even more attention than a classic tourbillon integrated inside the movement.
As the name suggests, the astrotourbillon makes one revolution of the dial every minute, while the off-centred balance bridge indicates the seconds. To balance the weight of the carriage, a platinum counterweight hidden under the central dial has been added to the opposite side of the carriage. And since the carriage cannot be too heavy, titanium is used so it weighs only 0.39g.
The robust case measures 47 mm. If you think this watch is going to be heavy, think again, because titanium makes the brand new Calibre de Cartier as light as can be. Yet, it is still impressive, powerful and comfortable. 100 individually numbered pieces will be available.
What about something for the ladies? The tourbillon and crocodile Geneva Seal watch is it! This is a beautiful, and in some ways, unexpected, grand complication timepiece for women. The inversed, individually-numbered movement and the diamond crocodile are just two of the main features. The Calibre 9458 MC is a Cartier-manufactured flying tourbillon movement with the Geneva Seal. It features a C-shaped carriage, which also indicates the seconds. What's special is that the carriage appears to fly over the bridges, as if hovering above the dial. Cartier's watchmakers have made sure the carriage can withstand shock in this vulnerable position.
Entirely set in diamonds, the little crocodile is sculpted in white gold with emerald eyes. It seems to guard the time, gracefully surrounded by a bed of water lilies in translucent red and white enamel. One can really get lost admiring the beautiful craftsmanship. This timepiece is a great example of Cartier as a fine jewellery and watch maison.