Cartier pulled out all the stops at the Salon International d’la Haute Horlogerie show in Geneva this week with its unveilings of the Cartier Crash Skeleton and the Louis Cartier Rotonde XL watches. While these timepieces won’t make their way to the market until later this year, we wanted to bring you a close-up look at them.
Cartier Crash Skeleton (Photo: Laziz Hamani © Cartier)
The new Crash Skeleton features the famed Crash case that made its debut in 1967 and was inspired by the Salvador Dali’s painting “The Persistence of Memory.” The new version, crafted in platinum, houses the existing caliber MC 9618 skeletonized movement that had to be completely modified to fit within the Crash shape. The result is a beautiful rendition of gears, wheels and finishing that captures attention and challenges the imagination.
The other impressive timepiece is an artistic one. This brand has brought us mosaic tile dials, dials made of rose petals, wood and straw marquetry dials and now — filigree dials — with the beloved panther motif. The Louis Cartier Rotonde XL watch with mother and baby panthers on the dial is created using the ancient art of filigree — where gold or silver wires are soldered together in order to create an openwork lace-like design with a desired motif.
Louis Cartier Rotonde XL Panther Filigree (Photo: Nils Hermann © Cartier)
To accomplish the design, Cartier’s master craftsmen at the Maison des Métiers d’Arts work with beaten gold and platinum micro-wires that are twisted, rolled, curled and cut into little rings. They are then assembled using the openwork filigree technique that allows the elements to be attached on the sides but not to the base. Each watch takes more than a month to bring to fruition.
The pair of panthers feature black-lacquer-spotted coats woven from fine filigree of gold and platinum. They’re set with diamonds, and feature made-to-measure emerald eyes. A manual-wind mechanical movement powers the yellow gold, 42mm watch. Just 20 numbered pieces will ever be made.