Cartier Drive Grande Date Second Fuseau Rétrograde et indicateur jour nuit

Cartier: Drive de Cartier, symbol of elegance

With the Drive de Cartier, the Parisian maison reiterates its talent for giving volume to time. Already a must-have, the piece combines balance and elegance to reveal the Cartier spirit.

By Vincent Daveau

Creating a new watch design such as the Drive de Cartier amounts to writing a stylistic grammar for a clientele that particularly appreciates its original touch, and Cartier is an expert in inspired writing.

According to Cartier’s archives, the first of the brand’s references that was closer to the concept of wristwatches was created in 1888. Yet it wasn’t until 1904 – after creating a piece for famous adventurer and pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont – that the Maison started to specialize and designed its subtle references to be worn on the wrist rather than in the pocket. If we were to ask aficionados, some of the brand’s most typical creations are the Tank (launched in 1917) and its several other versions; the recently reinterpreted Crash (introduced in 1967), the amazing Baignoire for women, and also the Santos 100, successor of the watch made for the dandy aviator of the same name.

Cartier Drive collection The Collection Drive de Cartier

Maintaining the lineage

Everybody in the watchmaking hub agrees that the Drive de Cartier –  with its now famous cushion shape – is one of the brand's iconic models and belongs to the category of those pieces which can be worn at formal events that require attendees to dress up. Conceived as a chic urban reference, the masculine piece has already been reinterpreted in a coherent range consisting of a simple and streamlined model equipped with a 41-mm steel or pink gold case, a "flinqué" silver or anthracite dial, and large Roman numerals (its secret signature is hidden under "VII").

The watch indicates time with a small seconds hand and displays the date in an aperture at 3 o'clock. It is driven by a self-winding mechanical caliber (ref. 1904 PS-MC) and it comes with an alligator strap closed by a deployment buckle to enhance comfort. Sober and easily identifiable, this new piece that was introduced at the "Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie" in Geneva last January will swiftly have an audience because it fits the wrist well.

Cartier Drive caliber ref. 1904 PS-MC Drive de Cartier's caliber ref. 1904 PS-MC

We recently tried it on and found that it immediately bonds with the wearer as its slenderness allows it to slide perfectly under shirt cuffs even without the need to undo the button, as unfortunately often happens. Sober but identifiable, light and subtly curved with a slightly domed sapphire glass, it exudes a timelessness that will allow it to grow old without a wrinkle and, consequently, never be obsolete. The characteristic of any good watch.

A sutble invitation to travel

While the Parisian maison has managed to successfully refine its talent to confer volume to time, so much so that it has joined the world of modern references that are considered as must-haves, it has also produced a Drive de Cartier version of a rare originality.

Indeed, the Drive de Cartier Large Date, Second Time Zone, Day/Night is a modern and elegant piece whose brushed-polished steel case with stretched curves and refined lines has caught the eye of fans of watch jewels.

Drive de Catier Large Date Second Time Zone Day/Night Drive de Cartier Large Date Second Time Zone Day/Night

Driven by the in-house 1904-FU MC caliber that can be observed through the back and which is equipped with a refined guilloché dial along which Roman numerals run, this version combines identity and style with a touch of car racing inspiration. With only the pleasure that Cartier's stylistic grammar can offer, the watch displays the local time, a retrograde second time zone with day/night indication and the date through a large double aperture at 12 o'clock.

Mechanical style

Enthusiasts have obviously focused on the first two references because their price makes them available to those who will be able to make the right choice. But in this visual world, we also need "talking pieces";  watches with complications that make the headlines. This is why Cartier has also introduced the Drive de Cartier Flying Tourbillon. An Haute Horlogerie piece, the new watch is equipped with the hand-wound mechanical movement 9452 MC. Certified "Poinçon de Genève", the wonderful piece truly stands out. It was assembled and set at Cartier's Poinçon de Genève de Haute Horlogerie workshops on the brand's store floor at  35 rue du Rhône, in the center of Geneva.

Drive de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Drive de Cartier Flying tourbillon

This edition offers fascinating balance and was made respecting the standards of the most prestigious of watchmaking certifications, which is a clear sign of Cartier's excellence when it comes to Haute Horlogerie. It paves the way for other remarkable complications that will most certainly be housed in this case whose design everybody agrees is absolutely inspired. To be continued.

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