I had a sneak peek of this watch when I was at the Cartier manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds in early December, and thrilled to see the brand’s very first diver’s watch. Aesthetically, the Calibre seems tailor-made to serve as a sports watch (or “tool” watch), with its wide lugs and crown protector, while retaining the brand’s signature look: Roman numerals and railroad chapter ring. With an oversized numeral at 12 o’clock, as well as a small seconds at 6 o’clock and a date window at 3 o’clock, the watch still looks uncluttered, even on a relatively small 25.6mm dial.
It also accommodates a wide, notched unidirectional bezel, the trademark of a real diver’s watch. In fact, the watch does not just meet the standard diver’s watch criteria or aesthetic, it meets the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches – giving it a rare technical authenticity among dive watches.
Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Cartier’s talented director of movement development, has set a new standard for Cartier watches, and it comes as no surprise that she has over-achieved with the new dive watch. She took me through a lengthy slide show outlining the criteria for this certification, which is extensive.
It includes everything from adequate visibility from a distance of just under 10 inches in total darkness (hence the extensive luminosity on the hands and indexes); extraordinary magnetic, shock and water resistance; a salinity test to ensure the watch and strap’s durability in sea water (including a mixture of sand); and an indication that the watch is running in total darkness – hence the luminated small seconds dial and hand. It also has an extra-thick crystal, yet the watch remains only 4mm thick, keeping it in good proportion to the width. After extensive testing, Forestier-Kasapi says the crystal was increased in size by only 1.2mm from the traditional crystal thickness.
The watch contains the brand’s first in-house caliber, the 1904 MC, with a 48-hour power reserve. It is water resistant to 300 meters. There are five references, including red gold and steel versions, with rubber strap or bracelet.
The watch will be formally introduced next month at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, along with a few other surprises, including the “Arena” a unique perpetual calendar, and a tourbillon chronograph in the Rotonde collection.
Photos courtesy Cartier.