Cartier present a new limited edition watch to house their highly technical 9451 MC movement - the Calibre de Cartier Astrotourbillon Calibre 9451 MC.
At the SIHH 2010, Cartier unveiled the Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon featuring the Calibre 9451 MC, a movement which the brand had spent five years perfecting. Whereas that piece, available in both pink gold and white gold versions was classical and elegant the lastest release is like a bigger, bolder cousin, a very masculine piece which should dispel any notion that Cartier just make girly stuff.
The Calibre 9451 MC relocates the Tourbillon carriage to the centre of the movement which provides it with a unique rotational axis - a construction which required a re-designed gear train. For visual effect and a "we can therefore we will" ethos the balance staff and escapement wheel staff are located to the side of the carriage in a linear position instead of on the same rotational axis as the carriage. The Tourbillon carriage itself is positioned on the dial above the movement with a once per minute revolution and the arrow-shaped balance bridge serves as a seconds indicator.
Invented more that 200 years ago, the Tourbillon counters the effects of gravity by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage. Basically the Tourbillon consists of a mobile carriage which carries the escapement, the balance and the spring assembly components. The cage or carriage will usually complete one revolution in a period of time, usually one minute and in doing so will compensate for the change in position of the timepiece i.e. the fact that it is on your wrist and you are moving about. Quality and construction of modern day mechanical movements mean that a Tourbillon is technically no longer needed to enhance accuracy, however the Tourbillon remains a tricky thing to construct, watch lovers remain fascinated by Tourbillons and watchmakers remain focused on improving the design of this micro mechanical wonder. It is a mesmerising feature which should not be hidden from view - if your watch has one it will usually appear where it can be appreciated, a symbol of watchmaking prowess and your horological good taste. However do memorise what the little thing actually does, just in case you are asked........
This splendid watch measures a generous 47mm but thanks to its titanium construction should be wrist-friendly. It has sapphire crystal front and back and water resistance to 30 metres. The Astrotourbillon movement is manual winding with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours.
Presented on a black alligator strap, the Calibre de Cartier Astrotourbillon Calibre 9451 MC is a limited edition of 100 pieces.