In making a watch that’s engineered in such a way that the workings of all those complications are visible, and submitting the movement for the Seal of Geneva inspection and certification, Cartier is showing that they can stand toe-to-toe with the elite of traditional Swiss watchmakers. A slight aside from this particular watch, but the growing reputation at the highest end presumably reflects well on their entry-level in house movements, which is where the company will make up the bulk of their sales.

Buyers who care about the provenance of the movements in their watches and who are shopping around the highly-competitive $10,000 mark do tend to take into consideration what any given brand is capable of “off-limits,” and Cartier has been really strong at making unique and interesting halo-pieces – like those we mentioned further above. The Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Grand Complication is a nod towards traditional horology and to have an in-house movement of such complexity at hand sure helps strengthen one’s claim to being a blue-blooded haute horology manufacture.

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For anyone not sure about what it is, the Geneva Seal, or Poinçon de Genève is a way of further enforcing the notion that the movement, bearing the tiny seal inscribed somewhere on one of its plates, has met the strict criteria of the Geneva Seal – which in turn, as seen here, requires painstaking decoration work on all visible and non visible components. We won’t get into all twelve of the criteria of this inspection here; what it boils down to is ensuring that the workmanship of the movement and all its parts meet certain standards.

Since June 2012, the Seal includes accuracy tests as well, where cased-up watches are put on machines for a course of seven days to simulate the watches being worn. After the seven-day test, every timepiece must not have a deviation of more than 1 minute. That is about 9 seconds per day, which is considerably looser than COSC requirements – but then again, the submitted watches are usually extremely complicated and, ironically but not unexpectedly, are bound to be less accurate.


Beyond its rather stunning looks and the attention to detail found upon a closer inspection, the remarkably smart layout and compact size of the movement demands to be appreciated. Regardless its more modern feats – you know what they are: the busy dial, compromised legibility, and substantial form factor – Cartier has really tried to show what they are capable of when they have a go at traditional horology. Taking a few steps back from the Astro- watches, Mysterieuse watches, and the Crash watches – all of which feature terrific in-house movements – was a neat idea from the masterminds at Cartier, and they have taken it all the way here and executed it very admirably, indeed.

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The Cartier Rotonde De Cartier Grande Complication serves a very important purpose for the brand because, as a halo-piece, it further proves the capabilities of the manufacture. Like the “Grand” name in its title should imply, this result of five years of research and development, and months of production comes with a Grand price tag: price for the Cartier Rotonde De Cartier Grande Complication is $620,000.

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