Here at Time+Tide we tend to focus on the simpler end of Cartier’s offerings, classic beauties like the Tank or the Drive Extra Flat. But there’s another side to the famous jewellery maison’s watch offerings that’s, well, exceptionally complex. The Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon is one such watch. If you didn’t glean that fact from the impressively wordy model name, take one look at this skeletonised, 45mm monster and you’ll immediately realise that we’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill Tank.
No, this watch, or – more accurately – the Calibre 9407MC inside, is one of the most confident expressions of Cartier’s horological ability we’ve seen in some time, with 448 individual parts, finished to a level sufficient to earn it the Geneva Seal, and a particularly demanding package of complications. The most visible is the ‘mysterious’ double tourbillon, which sees the whirring 60-second tourbillon rotate around the transparent sapphire aperture every five minutes. On its own this mysterious display, something of a trademark for the brand, would be impressive enough, but Cartier is determined to impress your ears as well as your eyes, as they’ve also managed to fit a minute repeater into a movement that’s 39.3mm wide and 4.7mm thick (without the tourbillon). The resonance of the repeater complication is amplified, thanks to the titanium case, and Cartier has chosen a button at five to activate it, rather than the more traditional slide. There’s also three-and-a-half days of power reserve.
For me though, the real feat of this watch is how Cartier has managed to cram so much into a comparatively small case, especially given the negative space occupied by the mysterious tourbillon. It’s also quite a modern look for the brand, with the titanium case, suede-like alligator strap and black rhodium-finished movement components. High horology, Cartier style.