Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Watch Hands-On

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Watch Hands-On

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

Cartier has made it pretty clear that the Calibre case is going to enjoy a lot of life. It has served as the base for everything from mainstream luxury to ultra-high-end Cartier models, and continues to have a promising future as Cartier currently prefers the Calibre as their premier men's model. One of my personal favorite aspects of the Calibre is that no one has ever referred to it as "unisex." Many Cartier timepieces have that fluid sense of French polish that makes them good enough for a man, but appropriate for a woman. The Calibre is "all dude." Earlier in 2013 the collection was extended with the Calibre Chronograph model (debuted here).

I was pretty happy with the original Calibre watch when Cartier released it in 2010. Later, I offered an aBlogtoWatch hands-on review of the Calibre here. What many people don't recall is that Cartier chose the Calibre as the first watch to house their in-house made movement known as the caliber 1904MC. This wasn't their first in-house made movement - Cartier started with ultra-luxury stuff a few years before. The 1904MC was not only a new movement, but meant to be the base of many future movements. Designed to be flexible, the 1904MC is what all in-house movement-based Cartier timepieces contain. So here it is with a chronograph. In the Calibre Chronograph, the movement is known as the 1904-CH MC.

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

The 1904-CH MC automatic is similar to the pure base movement without the chronograph module but with a slightly different dial layout as well as a 30 minute chronograph offered in a bi-compax layout. Frequency is 28,800 bph and the power reserve is 48 hours. It also has the date located at 6 o'clock. The enduring controversial element of the Calibre's dial design is the "open" date window. I have to admit this design feature looks much worse on some other watches, but it sticks out as something offered purely to be quirky.

I've heard two things about the chronograph sub dials. Some people believe that the dials are too close together, and others really appreciate their positioning because it allows for a relatively unobstructed view of the hour markers which allow for optimal legibility. Who do I agree with? Well both I suppose. Legibility is rather good but with the ring around the sub dials, their placement toward the middle of the dial is perhaps too emphasized. Having said all that, I love the symmetry of the dial and feel that compared to the original Calibre dial (with subsidiary seconds dial) the Chronograph is much better balanced and appears more comfortable. So while it perhaps isn't the world's most perfect dial, it is nice and attractive enough to proudly bear the Cartier name.

Calibre de Cartier Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

8 comments
spiceballs
spiceballs

I think that Cartier generally do a good job with their watches (eg, Tank) and this is no exception.  I personally think that the "open date" window works in this case.  Its not a watch I'd buy, but my wife might - if it were a lot smaller.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

Quite a handsome watch.  I love the mix of finishes.  The mix of different hour markers ruins it for me though.  I don't like Roman numerals normally but compared to those stumpy stick markers they're preferable and more in keeping with the style of the watch.  The open date shows how crowded the date wheel is, which is true of any date wheel, but we shouldn't have to see that.  It seems to be a "thing" some watch makers do to try and appear a little more daring, but it's an old trick that most people don't seem to like.  Cartier is a brand I believe will one day converge on a set of features that will make me really want one of their watches, but they still have some annoying details to iron out.  For now i'll have to continue to admire them through the window and sigh at the same old flaws.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

The Cali dial bothers me. I'd prefer all roman numerals on this watch. And date window, well you know....

Outside of the inward sloping  minute chapter ring on the bezel and crown guards (both of which are nice), what is so special about this case? Nothing wrong with it, but I don't see this as a signature feature. I don't see the price as completely out of line, but for $10K USD, there are lots of choices these days for watches with manufacture movements. So you have to really dig the style of this piece to put it on your personal buying/wish list.

milanese
milanese

it does exist in black dial for steel versions, they were launched in November! ;)

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

Fraser has it right - this is a seriously handsome watch, and I think very worthy of the 10+K pricetag (looks 10x better in steel than gold). 


I did notice the hodgepodge of hour markers right away, but the "Cali" dial think didn't pop into my head because of the batons. That's my least favourite part - I'd prefer all numerals, and I'm not someone that whines when a numeral gets cut off to accommodate a subdial, etc. I actually kinda like that look when it's done correctly. 

Fraser Petrick
Fraser Petrick

Very handsome watch. Normally I don't like roman numerals - we all have out funny ways - but this, I could live with (if I had $11,000)

aworon
aworon

@Ulysses31 I'm liking the date window on this - just because it's more to look at.  My watches with less busy dials always get less wear time.  If I'm kicking back sometimes I'll take my watch off and just look closely then lose myself in it.  The more little details the longer I can spend spacing out and enjoying it.