While today many might view Cartier as a very traditional brand, they have actually built this reputation on a tradition of being very avant-garde. The Tank and Santos for example, are classics but both watches pushed the boundaries of watchmaking further when they were first introduced. That Cartier hasn’t lost this magic touch is evident from the Rotonde de Cartier Day and Night.
In many ways, this watch is the embodiment of a classic Cartier: Roman numerals, beaded crown with sapphire cabochon and blued hands, yet the way it tells time is distinctly different. While the blued, Breguet styled minute hand follows to the railroad track to tell you the minutes, an engraved disc, displaying the sun and the moon, shows you the hour on the top part of the watch. It is a very artistic and enticing way of telling time, as well as indicating whether it is day or night. As novel as this way of showing the hour might seem, it is not, as it is quite similar to what Cartier already did in the 1920’s with their Comet clocks!
This complication is not all that the Rotonde de Cartier Day and Night has in store for us, as the bottom part of the dial is dedicated to a moon phase indicator. The moon is displayed not in the traditional sense of a window with a disc moving below it, but rather with the different moon phases printed on the dial, indicated by a blued, crescent shaped hand. The hand is retrograde, and the moon phase itself is only off a day, every ten and a half years.
Inside the Rotonde de Cartier Day and Night we find caliber 9912 MC, which is, in fact, Cartier’s automatic manufacture movement 1904 MC with an added module for the complications. With a diameter of 43.5mm the watch is rather large, especially for a Cartier, but as it puts all this space to such good use, we can hardly complain about this!