In the past couple of years, under the guidance of Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Cartier’s Director of Movement Creation, Cartier has established itself as a major player in haute horology. Some notable recent pieces include the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendaire watch, the Cartier Rotonde De Cartier Grande Complication, and the watch you see here, the very special Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Earth And Moon Tourbillon watch. The Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon Tourbillon watch was actually first introduced in 2014, with this being a pink gold version.
The Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon Tourbillon watch in pink gold is identical mechanically to the one released in 2014 except for the case material and dial styling. The first Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon Tourbillon watch came in a platinum case and had a striking lapis lazuli dial. It was also limited to just 50 pieces, so not everyone who wanted one could have one.
This version comes in a pink gold case. Case dimensions are unchanged at 47mm wide and 16.55mm thick. The case is expertly designed and the gently curved lugs mean it will even fit quite well on thinner wrists. It also helps that the brown alligator strap is so well-made, which is something that maybe does not need to be clarified with a watch that costs about a quarter of a million dollars. The case finishing is also top notch, with perfectly polished surfaces and well-defined lines throughout. Another noteworthy feature of the case is the beaded crown, also rendered in 18K pink gold, and set with a blue sapphire cabochon.
However, the highlight for me has got to be the dial. While the original Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon Tourbillon watch in platinum had a lapis lazuli dial, this new model in pink gold has an "openworked" dial with two gorgeous meteorite discs. The use of meteorite is fitting because it calls to mind the surface of the moon since this is, after all, a watch with a moon phase complication. That aside, the meteorite dial has this ethereal quality and invokes the adventure of space like few other watches can.
The first meteorite disc at the upper portion of the dial forms the subdial for telling time. Time is told simply by reading off the two blued steel hands that point toward large skeletonized Roman numerals that are formed using 18k white gold on the periphery of the dial. Look closely and you will notice a 24-hour ring around the subdial. This is for telling time in another timezone and can be independently adjusted simply by using the pusher at 2 o’clock. This makes the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon Tourbillon watch very practical for frequent travelers.
However, the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon Tourbillon watch’s pièce de résistance is its on-demand moon phase indicator. Activating the pusher at 4 o’clock will cause the second meteorite disc to swing into position to indicate the current phase of the moon. The phase of the moon is read by telling how much it obscures the tourbillon. A full moon would mean that the tourbillon remains completely exposed, while a new moon would mean that the meteorite disc completely covers the tourbillon. It’s also worth mentioning that the moon phase indicator is accurate to a single day every 126 years. All in all, it’s a very creative take on one of the oldest horological complications.
The caliber 9440 MC that powers the watch has been excellently finished. On the dial side, there is expertly applied perlage, and flipping the watch over to its sapphire case back exposes an intricate series of bridges that resemble stars and have been finely beveled. The wheels have circular graining and the jewel sinks have been polished. Caliber 9440 MC is hand-wound and is made out of 362 parts, including 40 jewels. It beats at 3Hz and has a power reserve of 72 hours.
The Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon Tourbillon watch is an excellent demonstration of Cartier’s watchmaking abilities and it is a creative take on the moon phase complication. It’s one of the most impressive and whimsical watches that Cartier makes. This Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon Tourbillon watch is limited to just 15 pieces and is priced at $231,000. cartier.com