Drive de Cartier
Cars & motorsport

Tested For You: Taking The Drive De Cartier Extra-Flat Collection For A “Drive”

At Sky Meadow Farm in Purchase, New York, the Cartier Drive de Cartier collection was right at home alongside some stunning vintage cars.

By Josh Shanks

Since its debut at SIHH 2017, the Cartier ‘Drive De Cartier’ collection has captured the hearts of many collectors. Clean lines coupled with an extra-flat case sporting a thinness of just 6.60mm makes the Drive de Cartier a collection worthy of a second look. Which is why Watchonista recently took the opportunity to put two of our favorite Drive de Cartiers through their paces.


Cartier has a rich history in driver's watches, dating back almost to the very invention of the automobile. As one of the very first manufactures of the wristwatch, Cartier has been outfitting active gents for well over a century. Angled driving watches were all the rage in the 1930s, and Cartier quickly embraced the trend while continuing to evolve their lineup of driver's pieces. Today, the Drive De Cartier embraces the brand's rich history while evolving its design for the modern millennium.


It’s important to note that throughout history, men of style and taste have chosen Cartier time and time again. Two of my favorites, Richard Burton and Tom Cruise, both wearers of Cartier timepieces and style icons in their own right. In fact, in his most recent press tour for the latest installment of Mission Impossible, Cruise donned a Drive de Cartier while walking the red carpet.


The Glamour of a Bygone Era

For this review, we would need an exceptional location, with the gracious assistance of Maria Stilo and her team at Sotheby’s International Realty, we pinpointed a 1927 English manor house in Purchase, NY. Located in idyllic Westchester County, and built as the country estate for a turn-of-the-century banker, this sumptuous estate echoes the glamour of the Cartier stamping on the Drive’s dial.


Located on 11.6 acres of pristine land, this 12,800 sq ft manor style home at 7 Sky Meadow Farm fit the bill for a variety of reasons. Upon arriving, you drive through an ornate metal and stone gate which leads to a winding driveway up to the circular motor court. The Sprawling Sky Meadow Farms was robust enough to handle an afternoon with Watchonista. 


Driving in style

Thanks to Carriage House Motorcars, we were able to pair the Drive de Cartier timepieces with two exceptional automobiles. After our arrival in Greenwich, CT we hopped behind the wheel of an extraordinary 1959 Mercedes 300SL roadster in anthracite grey. This wasn’t your typical Mercedes by any means having restored by the legendary Mark Allin and considered the finest example in the world. A previous 2004 Amelia Island Concours d' Elegance winner is rumored to have been acquired at auction just a few years ago for the heady sum of $2 million dollars. 


Hot on our tail was a 1962 Jaguar Series 1 E-Type in white with a luxurious red leather interior. Another of Carriage House's impeccably restored motorcars, this E-Type kept pace with the 300SL as we drove through mile after mile of fall foliage. Indeed, the Jaguar may be better suited to a daily driver role than the expensive 300SL, but both cars provided a style and elegance needed for a day with Cartier.


With our freshly fired engines purring with their distinctive German and English accents (err exhaust noise), we slipped on a few pairs of driving gloves and with the assistance of Carriage House's Alan Hoffman, headed to Sky Meadow with the wind in our faces and the right watches for the journey.


The Drive de Cartier

On the wrist were two of Cartier’s newest Drive de Cartier models in stainless-steel and yellow gold. These models in these metal combinations are fresh for 2018. Previously, Cartier Drive models were made with more robust white and pink gold cases. The Drive de Cartier comes with a cushion-shaped case measuring 38mm (height) by 39mm (wide). The dial features Roman numeral markers which is almost standard equipment across all Cartier timepieces.


Regardless of case material choice, each Drive de Cartier is powered by the Cartier Calibre 430 MC movement. This manually wound movement out of Richemont's crown jewel is based on the Piaget 430P caliber. After a full wind, you can expect 36 hours of power reserve. These two-handers (hour/minute) do noticeably lack a seconds hand, which could prove useful should you need to time your drive for any measure which involves fractions of a minute. 


Throughout our testing, I found the Drive de Cartier to be quite svelte while retaining a masculinity typically associated with more robust tool watches. Both models paired well with driving gloves and fall sweater, all that’s necessary for a drive through the countryside with the top down and heat at full blast.


The Drive de Cartier is priced at $5,600 in steel on a supple blue leather strap and $15,400 in yellow gold on gray leather. A rather appealing price in steel, however, quite a jump once you get to the precious metals considering the movement and all other components are nearly identical to the steel version. However, on the gold version, you get a genuine blue sapphire on the crown, compared to the synthetic sapphire on the steel version.


Special thanks to Analog/Shift’s CFO Vincent Brasesco for helping Watchonista arrange and orchestrate this very special photo shoot.

(Photography by Liam O’Donnell)

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