Cartier’s booth is the largest one of the SIHH by far – which is only fair since the Geneva-based icon is also the most prolific watchmaker there. Last year, for example, the brand introduced no less than 116 new watch models; this year there were 94. At the 2016 SIHH, the French jeweler introduced an amazingly complicated watch, the Rotonde Astromystérieux, in addition to two new lines, Drive and Hypnose. The Astromystérieux counted among our favorite new Cartier watches becauseof the amazing technology that made it possible to put a mysterious revolving movement into a wristwatch. This watch is a marvel as the movement revolves around its own axis entirely within the case. Thanks to four discs made out of sapphire, there is no visual contact between the movement and the case, which makes it appear as if it were literally floating in weightlessness. In addition, the movement makes one rotation in one hour, which is why the minute hand is fixed upon it.
The other breathtaking new product from Cartier is an entirely new line called Drive. Cushion-shaped cases are challenging to create because of the mix of volumes, angles, and curves involved (check out Laurent Ferrier, who blew us away with the Galet Square!), but the Drive is a respectable challenger even if it competes in another category. For us, the harmony of the shape, the size, the choice of the various complications, the design, and the patterns on the dials, and finally the price for a steel model showing hours, minutes, seconds, and the date for about 5,000 Swiss francs turns it into a revelation.
And then there is the new Hypnose collection, which is dedicated to women. Cartier is famous for its ability to invent unusual and original new shapes for watches — like the Crash, the Baignoire, the Tortue, and even the Santos. The Hypnose’s interesting feature is an arrangement of oval rings positioned vertically and at different angles, which allows interesting gem setting possibilities and vibrant harmony in terms of design.