Cartier Rotonde De Cartier Grande Complication Watch Hands-On

Released last year at SIHH 2015, the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication made a powerful debut, claiming the title of the most complicated Cartier watch ever produced. After numerous impressive and unique ventures dedicated to pushing the boundaries of watchmaking – just think of the Cartier ID2 watch with a vacuum inside its case or this Astrocalendaire – Cartier really is flexing its muscles here in an effort to show off its capabilities and knowhow in more traditional segments of haute horlogerie. The result is a symphony of 578 parts that took five years to develop and required fifteen weeks to complete.

The result is a symphony of 578 parts that took five years to develop and required fifteen weeks to complete.
The result is a symphony of 578 parts that took five years to develop and required fifteen weeks to complete.

To really appreciate how far Cartier has come as a watch manufacturer, let’s take a brief look at the company’s history. The Cartier Rotonde De Cartier Grande Complication is supposed to act as a critical marker on the timeline of the brand and its evolution from jewelry maker to one that also produces some of finer replica Cartier watches mechanical watches out there. Cartier has been designing high-end jewelry for nearly 170 years, and they have been in the watch game for a bit shorter time than that, since the introduction of the square-bezeled Santos pilot watch (reviewed here) from 1904. Since then, Cartier’s mechanical watches have used movements made by the likes of Jaeger (since 1937, known as Jaeger-LeCoultre), Audemars Piguet, Piaget, and of course, ETA.

To eventually be able to offer a wider range of its watches with in-house manufactured calibers, Cartier has established its state-of-the-art manufacture in La-Chaux-de-Fonds in 2001, and expanded it further in 2007, so that this vertically integrated facility (meaning that the absolute majority of necessary components are made here) also features timepiece research and development  best watches UK departments. In that same year, Cartier’s parent company, Richemont SA, purchased the Geneva-based facilities of Manufacture Roger Dubuis, a producer of Geneva Seal movements. Because for a movement to be awarded the Geneva Seal it not only has to meet certain strict aesthetic (and now, timekeeping) requirements, but the movement itself also has to be manufactured in the canton of Geneva, Cartier moved ten of its master watchmakers into the facility.

the movement itself also has to be manufactured in the canton of Geneva, Cartier moved ten of its master watchmakers into the facility.
the movement itself also has to be manufactured in the canton of Geneva, Cartier moved ten of its master watchmakers into the facility.

This leads us to the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication because it is this latter facility where all the pieces of its movement fall into place. The 9406 MC movement inside comprises 578 components, with each movement requiring ten weeks to decorate all its parts to the Geneva Seal standard and another five weeks to assemble.

Features include a flying tourbillon, perpetual calendar, and a minute repeater, any one of which, taken on its own, is an impressive horological feat. While there is no consensus or golden rule to follow on this, generally speaking, for a watch to be called a Grand Complication, its set of features has to include one of each of the following complications: an astronomical complication (perpetual calendar, for example), a chiming complication (minute repeater, sonnerie) and a stopwatch function (chronograph or split-second chronograph).

a chiming complication (minute repeater, sonnerie) and a stopwatch function (chronograph or split-second chronograph).
a chiming complication (minute repeater, sonnerie) and a stopwatch function (chronograph or split-second chronograph).

This piece we are looking at is indeed very complicated but, in the traditional sense, misses out on being a grand complication by not having some sort of a chronograph function. Is that really an issue or a deal-breaker on the most complicated Cartier watch ever made? Surely not – especially when we consider that Cartier has managed to package all of the 9406 MC’s complications in a skeletonized movement that measures a mere 5.5 millimeters thick. That is remarkably thin and is partly achieved by using a micro rotor for the caliber’s automatic winding in lieu of a full-size rotor.

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On

While TAG Heuer has not shied away from taking its – well-deserved – spot in the new found vintage watch craze, it has, thankfully, not neglected the fact that not everyone gets excited by or wants to obtain items people half a century ago used to like. The latest and boldest TAG Heuer, apparently thought up in deep denial of the vintage watch trend, is the TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition… or whatever it is called, as TAG Heuer doesn’t identify the exact name of the product anywhere in their press release or on their website. Here’s a hands-on look at this, ehm, striking looking watch.

Here’s a hands-on look at this, ehm, striking looking watch.
Here’s a hands-on look at this, ehm, striking looking watch.

  replica Tag Heuer watches Without getting too philosophical, I think you’ll agree that most all aspects of our lives are as divided as they have not been for long – let it be politics, basic values, income, education, culture, or even watch taste. I won’t go down the route of discussing this in more detail, suffice it to say that I know there are people out there who will hate, and I do mean absolutely hate this watch with a passion – because one of the few things we have more of than division is hate, something so many have so much time and reserved energy for. Hating on it won’t make it go away, though, which I think is a good thing – and here’s why.

Hating on it won’t make it go away, though, which I think is a good thing – and here’s why.
Hating on it won’t make it go away, though, which I think is a good thing – and here’s why.

 best watches UK It’s either my sub-par memory again or it’s actually true, but I can’t recall a genuinely modern Monaco since the V4 – and that was far from affordable for most of us. While with its full square design and chronograph functionality the Monaco will always look more contemporary than many other watches, for long it has been absorbed in its vintage heritage – Gulf limited editions and ones mimicking the original’s look have been stealing the show lately. However, the V4 and some of the Caliber 36 models (anyone remember?) were genuinely hot-looking, modern things and – though I may well be in the minority here in WIS circles – I quite like this latest, forged carbon edition because at last it is something that makes for a modern take on this classic.

The square, albeit pre-Instagram-generation Monaco case, I think, looks fantastic in forged carbon. Its defined shape and sharp corners make for large, continuous surfaces where the random texture of its material can really be admired. Something to bear in mind, and I have tried to make the live images reflect this as much as possible, is that the material has a glossy, but not overly-shiny look to it in which the darker and brighter areas interchange in a more dull, less defined way when compared to regular carbon fiber. The transitions are smooth as forged carbon has a semi-glossy, semi-matte, murky look. You either like it or you don’t, but what can’t be argued against is the anti-allergenic material’s lightness and ability to disguise wear – it should look as new for long.

the anti-allergenic material’s lightness and ability to disguise wear – it should look as new for long.
the anti-allergenic material’s lightness and ability to disguise wear – it should look as new for long.

The 39mm wide case wears much larger than that figure would suggest and in that, this Bamford edition is like any other Monaco. The arrangement of the left-hand crown and right-hand pushers is in line with the traditional Monaco, while their black PVD steel choice of material is not. The forged carbon case acts like the forged carbon we have seen elsewhere – it reminded me of this, mind you, considerably less expensive Tempest Forged Carbon (reviewed here) – although I am sure it isn’t easy to carve the sharp corners and stubby lugs from this ultra-hard material.