Eccentric, luxurious, and technically flawless
After its public debut at Geneva’s SIHH watch fair in 2016, the Drive de Cartier line went on to attract widespread popularity. Its cushion-shaped case continues Cartier’s decades-old tradition as a specialist for cases that are not round. One model that springs to mind in this context is the quadratic Santos with rounded corners and screw-mounted bezel, which Louis Cartier developed in the early twentieth century for his friend Alberto Santos Dumont. Incidentally: no other wristwatch has remained on the market in nearly unaltered form for a longer time than the Santos. The new Panthère, making its debut in 2017, references this superlative design. But let’s return to the Drive line, whose fans are naturally not restricted to automobile aficionados. The famous manufactory put a flying tourbillon in the latest addition to the top-of- the-line product, something that is by no means new for Cartier: Caliber 9452 MC has proven itself in numerous wristwatch models since 2008. It was originally developed in the Roger Dubuis workshop, which came under the aegis of the Richemont Group ten years ago. This movement appealed to Cartier, after which it underwent an extremely thorough optimization process. Love’s labors were by no means lost because this miniature mechanical marvel is perfectly brilliant. Its 142 components combine to create a movement with a diameter of 23.3 mm and a height of 4.5 mm. It will continue to run for approximately 50 hours after being fully wound. The escapement and balance make their revolutions inside a rotating carriage whose shape was inspired by Cartier’s familiar “C” logo; as it is borne only from the back it is of the flying variety. The balance completes 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour, meaning it swings to and fro at a moderate frequency of three Hertz. The Geneva Seal guarantees precisely defined quality and a weekly deviation from perfect timekeeping of no more than one minute. Cartier currently delivers the top-of-the-line Drive only in a red gold case.