Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication
The most complex of all Cartier watches
The Watch Quote™ - January 22nd, 2015
The Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication watch is an incredible feat of watchmaking. 578 components, 5 years of development, 15 weeks of production at the Manufacture, 10 weeks of decorating and finishing and 5 weeks of assembly. The result is measured in millimetres. A thickness of 5.49 mm for a self-winding mechanical movement that brings together three of the most prestigious Fine Watchmaking complications: a perpetual calendar, a minute repeater and a flying tourbillon.
Of all Cartier watchmaking creations, this timepiece is the most complex. Equipped with the self-winding calibre 9406 MC, this “Poinçon de Genève”-certified timepiece combines the elegance of a platinum case with the excellence of an extra-flat skeleton movement.
Three complications for a major challenge
Combining the mechanisms of a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar and a flying tourbillon requires unique expertise at the crossroads of several different crafts. The Manufacture’s watchmakers devoted themselves to the design of a rich and pure chime, to the analysis of comprehensive time measurement and to the quest for perfect timekeeping. The minute repeater: a visible, clear and precious sound
The minute repeater function is considered one of the most prestigious complications in Fine Watchmaking: behind its magic and its complexity it transports the reading of time into the world of sound and enables the wearer to hear the time on demand.
Cartier focused its ultra-creative passion for watchmaking on the calibre 9406 MC’s minute repeater, endowing it with two remarkable features. On the one hand, the minute repeater is prominently displayed on the dial, with gongs and hammers in full view. On the other, its inertia fly-wheel is freed of its upper bridge, making it truly “fly”.
These two creative elements are complemented by a technical approach that involved adopting the type of watchmaking mechanism known as “all or nothing”. This essential development makes it possible to avoid partial activation of the minute repeater, thus avoiding an inaccurate acoustic indication of the time.
The technical knowledge acquired by Cartier watchmakers, including most notably the study of acoustic harmonics and tonalities, has allowed them to combine the nobility of a platinum case with the richness of a unique sound that is at once clear and precise, pure and soft. The flying tourbillon: between gravity and lightness
The flying tourbillon on the Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication watch is located at 12 o’clock and represents a signature feature thanks to the delicacy of its design.
From a technical point of view, this tourbillon boasts a titanium carriage that, thanks to its lightness, optimises timekeeping by countering the effects of gravity.
From an aesthetic point of view, the complete absence of the upper bridge enhances the rotation of the calibre 9406 MC’s “flying”» tourbillon. The perpetual calendar: requires setting once every 100 years
This complication indicates the date, automatically recognising not only whether a month has 30 or 31 days, but also the month of February - even in leap years, which occur once every four years.
Taking into account both calendar and astronomical time, this calendar is designed to provide for the lag inherent in the Gregorian calendar, which dictates that a year contains 365.25 days. It therefore requires adjustment once every four years, whereas the Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication watch only needs adjusting once every 100 years.
The specific features of an extraordinary watch A play of transparency
The Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication watch plays with transparency in a myriad of different ways, thanks to its precious openwork dial in 18-carat gold and its masterfully skeletonised movement.
The skeletonisation of the calibre 9406 MC allows the observer to measure the beauty and complexity of this prestigious movement, on which the minute repeater, perpetual calendar and flying tourbillon are fully apparent.
These three complications contain a significant number of skeletonised components, an aesthetic approach that is especially challenging at the level of excellence required to obtain the “Poinçon de Genève”. On this movement, the chamfering on the bridges, the drawing on the flanks, the setting of the jewels and the polishing on the countersinks is even more important as they are immediately visible.
As for the openwork dial, it forms a harmonious arrangement of the three grand complications, displaying the perpetual calendar’s counters (the date, days, months and years), the flying tourbillon and the minute repeater’s gongs and hammers. The minimal dimensions of an exceptional calibre
With a thickness of 5.49 mm, the calibre 9406 MC boasts incredible fineness and elegance, making the technical prowess of is composition all the more exceptional.
Cartier’s watchmakers revisited the interactions of these three complications watch so that the gear trains and racks, star-wheels and snails are housed in a space of just a few millimetres, designed with a thorough, inventive and creative approach to watchmaking. High-speed self-winding
The calibre 9406 MC gets its energy from a platinum micro-rotor with “guilloché” and “Côtes de Genève” finishing. The innovative construction of this two-level micro-rotor enables a reduction in winding speed while limiting energy loss. The prestigious “Poinçon de Genève”
The Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication watch is certified “Poinçon de Genève”. The self-winding calibre 9406 MC is assembled and set in the Maison’s Fine Watchmaking workshops, which are located in Geneva, just above the Cartier boutique at 35 rue du Rhône. Its finishes have been executed according to the standards of excellence set down by this celebrated seal of watchmaking quality.
From its design to its final assembly, the Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication is the ultimate expression of exceptional craftsmanship perfected by Cartier’s master watchmakers.By combining the three most prestigious Fine Watchmaking complications in an extra-flat self-winding movement, and by making this technical prowess visible with incredibly fine skeletonisation, Cartier reaffirms its leading role as a creator of watches boasting ambition and excellence.