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Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

For fans of Cartier who happen to be guys, this watch has been a long time coming. Don’t get me wrong, Cartier makes a host of men’s watches, but the Cartier Drive de Cartier watch is a piece that I could confidently say is a watch that can successfully broaden the brand’s appeal in a way that hasn’t been done for quite some time. The reason for this may very well lie in the fact that it offers a range of options from steel, to gold, to a flying tourbillon model. That being said, it’s the steel version that is both the most affordable and has me the most excited.

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Before I get into the technical aspects of the watch, I want to talk about the shape of the Cartier Drive de Cartier watch. It’s a new design for Cartier, looking like a cushion-shaped watch with a defined dial that has soft corners rather than a circular dial. It works, and it works very well. The dials all have a richness of depth to them, with a focus on the interplay between visual texture that contrasts the varying guilloche designs, flat surface dial, and even “skeletonizing” the space between the roman numerals in the flying tourbillon model to expose the guilloche below.

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

There are three versions of the Cartier Drive de Cartier watch. The base steel model comes in a white or black dial, both running on the 1904-PS MC movement. This is the in-house Cartier automatic movement that operates at 4Hz and has the time with a subsidiary seconds dial and date. It is the same trusted movement used in watches like the Cartier Tank MC. Are people going to whine about the date window? Probably. I’m actually one of those people who would prefer the option to not have it there, but it doesn’t really take away all that much from this watch. In fact, I could learn to like it but would much prefer this next one.

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The steel and pink gold versions that run on the 1904-FU MC are the “small complication” watches. These offer a second time zone dial at 10 o’clock and a day/night indicator at 4 o’clock. As fatigued as I am of the date window conversation, I must say the large date window at 12 o’clock here looks great and is definitely nicer than the smaller one at 3 o’clock in the 1904-PS MC model. I know that’s a matter of taste, but if you must have the date window, then this one is it.

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Finally, there is the Cartier Drive de Cartier Flying Tourbillon watch. This watch runs on the manual 9452 MC movement, which only shows the time and the tourbillon. It also carries the Geneva Seal, which is a sign of some of the highest level and quality watchmaking known. It’s an undeniably beautiful piece that is sure to get the attention of collectors who are looking for something new from the “Fine Watchmaking” workshops of Cartier.


Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

It is interesting that Cartier has managed to release a brand new line that somehow appeals to both collectors as well as a vastly different subsection: the casual, or even first-time, watch buyer who has long dreamt of, and saved for, a fine luxury mechanical watch that really speaks to them. Of course, there are watches like the Cartier Tank and Cartier Santos, but the weight of all that history and provenance makes it pretty hard for someone in their 20s or 30s to really relate to their storied histories. They’re the kind of watches where you know a lovable and affable octogenarian will spend the better part of an evening talking your ear off about. Of course, I am mostly referring to the steel models of this watch for this example.

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Cartier could probably lose some of the macho vintage car origin myth of this watch’s design and be perfectly fine. The guilloche is allegedly inspired by the design of a radiator grill on a car, and the bolt shaped crown is designed to illicit a similar automotive theme. Sure, and I really do see where they are coming from here. But in a way, the best compliment I can pay this watch is that I really don’t care about the design’s backstory that much. With the Cartier Drive de Cartier watch, the brand has created a fantastic and handsome piece that I could wear every day and be proud of with both the design as well as the quality in-house movements.

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Cartier Drive de Cartier will be available this May 2016, except for the small complication models that will be available in September. Earlier on, I said I was most excited about the steel versions of this watch. The reason for that, of course, is that the price of the Cartier Drive de Cartier with the 1904-PS MC movement in steel is very competitive at $6,250 for the white dial and $6,500 for the black dial. If you want it in the pink gold, you’ll be paying $19,300 for the white dial and $19,600 for the black dial. The 1904-FU MC “small complication” watches are priced at $8,750  for the white dial, and $22,700 for pink gold. Finally, the flying tourbillon model is priced at $89,



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  • Yup, I’m going to complain about the date window at 3. If they can move it to 12 for one reference, then they can do it for another. And should. But I won’t complain about the price of the steel models. Very nice!

    • Sevenmack

      The date window is fine. Doesn’t get in the way and is well designed. I’d wear all of them, except for the gold versions.

    • Since the date at 3 uses a concentric, full circle date wheel/ring (unlike the big date mechanism), the (non-big) date at 12 would cut into the XII (just like it does the III). Yes it could be done but is it better or worse?

  • Lawrence

    Looks good,but since I’m sub 35 years old I tend to prefer sports models.

  • funNactive

    The firs Cartier watch that I’ve looked at & thought, “I like it, I could see myself wearing that”. I like the case design, shape & the way it flows. If I were to get one, it would be the basic SS model – but I really like the depth of the dial on the flying tourbillon (after seeing the flying tourbillon, I wish the roman numeral design around the dial was the same on the rest of the line).

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Mmmmmm,…………am a sucker for a Cartier. In this instance the base model in silver ( 1904-PS MC movement ). The price of this piece is at the very top end for an automatic that i would pay. Referring to an earlier comment i made about roman numerals on the face not having seen IIII for the number four…………..i have now.

    • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

      It’s more wide-spread then you would think. I believe all Cartiers use IIII. Just be careful no to look for them too much, otherwise you end up too obsessed with them. 😉

  • johnwithanh

    Why why why a day night indicator? A moonphase is just as superfluous and scores more interesting.

    • iamcalledryan

      It’s a pretty useful supplementary complication to the big date. It allows you to set the time to the correct am/pm so that the date doesn’t transition at midday and it also allows you to avoid the danger zone of a quick date change (when the mechanism is engaged).

      Primarily, however, it is designed for life in a post-apocalyptic underground bunker, when the surface is inhabited by a race of zombies/vampires that attack during the day/night.

      • Timestandsstill

        I thought it was to tell you day or night for the second time zone and the date would also correspond to this?…. i.e. home time a.m. or p.m. and if date had changed there ….the main time is set to the time zone you are in at the moment

        • iamcalledryan

          Good lord you are right – I fell for the power-reserve decoy!

          Well that is even MORE of a good call for the day/night.

  • DanW94

    My favorite is the small seconds in the pink gold. It’s a handsome watch. Not entirely sold on the case shape though, it’s caught between two design styles and it comes off a bit odd.

    • Perhaps, but the transition from case body to lugs is outstandingly good.

  • HectorAsuipe

    Nicely done, Cartier. This goes on my long list.

  • spiceballs

    Like Cartier but not my fav, possibly ’cause the indices seem thick compared to the hands?

  • Paul Reeves Bruening

    With the Drive, Cartier has really done a wonderful job of capturing the modern spirit while also evoking an aesthetic that reaches across time periods and wearing occasions. Fantastic! I want one~!

  • Berndt Norten

    I think Cartier has struck a fine balance between masculinity and elegance. These are classy without being boring or too traditional.

  • madddskillz

    Looks fantastic. Classy watch


    Piaget Emperador comes to mind.

  • Antjay

    Not usually a fan of gold watches but I would have that gold tourbillon in a heart beat ( lottery win permitting ) .

  • Dan Baxter

    These are beauties! I’d be very happy to wear any of them.

  • Ulysses31

    Keep going, Cartier; you’ll eventually design a watch where all the parts look like they want to be together, instead of looking like they are unwillingly imprisoned in a precious metal case. Still, these are more elegant than previous attempts. Always end on a positive, right?

  • Brian Marker

    I had been seriously considering a Santos 100, but now I think this has surpassed the Santos for me. I really do love everything about it. Looking forward to my AD getting one and me trying it on.

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    Nice watches for a good price point. Not too sure about the target demographic though. I would assume most 20s-30s are not too keen to have Roman numerals on their dial (especially with the IIII). But maybe there is a retro wave coming and they will sell like candies. Anyways, good to see a mayor player providing more offerings in the affordable range.

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