Cartier uses very nicely made blued steel sword-style hands which allow for excellent dial legibility. There are times when I feel that Cartier makes their hands a bit too thin (proportionally) for some of their dials, but here the hands feel very appropriately designed given the overall case and dial size. Over the dial is a very slightly domed AR-coated sapphire crystal and the Drive Extra-Flat case is water-resistant to 30m.

Even with its limited surface space Cartier imbues the Drive case with attractive finishing. The steel bezel and lugs are polished, along with the angled edge of the screw-secured caseback. The rear of the watch is given an excellent brushed finishing which Cartier always happens to pull off very well. Overall I feel that Cartier deserves a lot of credit for their watch case finishing practices – especially when you compare their products with some of the competition.

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Inside the Drive Extra-Flat is the “manufacture caliber” Cartier caliber 430 MC. It is produced within the Richemont Group of companies for Cartier. As I mentioned above this movement is manually wound and offers just the hours and minutes. It operates at 3Hz (21,600 bph) with 38 hours of power reserve. The lack of complications to adjust means that wearing the watch is as simple as winding up the crown for several turns and then setting the time. Sure an automatic movement would have been nice, but I don’t think people need to spend an additional several thousand dollars for some exotic ultra-flat automatic movement when for the majority of users, a simple manually-wound movement in such an elegant dress-style watch is entirely acceptable (especially given the very thin case).

Additional appreciated details include the signature Cartier-style ardillon buckle on the matching blue-colored alligator strap. Blue is a popular color these days for watches and Cartier decided to have this strap match the blued-steel hands on the dial. If you wanted to swap out the strap for a black or even brown one, it would work just as well depending on what clothing items you wanted to match the timepiece with. Cartier does tend to manage a decent “fancy casual” look as well. Meaning if you wanted to wear the Drive Extra-Flat with a pair of jeans, you could probably get away with that as well. Having said that, I still think this watch probably looks best when paired with long sleeves.

With steel now joining 18k white, pink, and yellow gold for the “Drive de Cartier” Extra-Flat collection, I think watch lovers have a new non-round dress watch to think about. I think Cartier offers a solid value because even though there are lots of other dress watches available, at this price there aren’t too many from brands with the prestige of Cartier. Consider a Breguet, Blancpain, Piaget, Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, or Patek Philippe dress watch price and then come back to this Cartier to see how they match up. You might be getting a more interesting movement in other options, but I think when it comes to a dress watch, it’s mostly about appearance and presentation (something Cartier typically succeeds in). Retail price for the Cartier Drive Extra-Flat steel reference CRWSNM0011 is $5,600 USD.

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Necessary Data
>Brand: Cartier
>Model: Drive Extra-Flat steel reference CRWSNM0011
>Price: $5,600 USD
>Size: 39mm wide, 6.6mm thick, 44mm lug-to-lug distance
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Anytime I need a versatile dress or formal watch that has a bit of visual interest to it, and when wanting to impress onlookers (or myself) by wearing a product from a famous luxury “maison.”
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone bored of round-cased dress watches seeking something for regular duty when paired with a suit, and who also happens to like the look of a thin timepiece.
>Best characteristic of watch: Beautiful proportions and excellent wearing comfort. Proof again that Cartier really knows how to make a wearable and noticeable mainstream luxury timepiece product.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Simple by some standards – although that comes with the territory in a watch like this. Price is competitive in the space but some will argue it is high given the simple movement. Still far less than the gold models with the same movement.

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