Cartier has a tradition of making limited editions for particular boutiques or countries, typically in small runs of a few dozen or less. Examples include the Tortue monopusher chronograph for 13 Rue de la Paix (hence the “13” at 12 o’clock) or the Tank Cintree dual time zone for the Greater China.
Both images above courtesy Antiquorum
This year it’s Singapore’s turn for a limited edition. The watch chosen for this is the Rotonde de Cartier large date in the 42 mm case. It is available in rose or white gold, in a limited edition of 18 pieces in each metal. Originally part of the Collection Privee Cartier Paris, this model is now discontinued, along with the CPCP line. This Singapore edition is the final run of this watch.
Though this appears at first glance to be a simple watch, it has several unique details.
The most obvious is the black and red date discs, a nod to the Fine Watchmaking Salon – the first of its kind in Asia – inside the Cartier boutique at the Marina Bay Sands casino resort. I like this rather understated reference to the casino.
I also like the font for the date numerals, which has an elegant, art nouveau feel. They differ from the font used in the regular model, but are identical to that used on the Pasha dual time zone with large date.
And instead of “VIII”, the dial features an Arabic eight. That number is phonetically similar to luck in Chinese. I find the “8” slightly jarring. Adjacent to the “8” is Cartier’s secret signature incorporated into “VII”.
Turn the watch over and the target clientele for this watch is even more obvious. The back features a laser engraved Chinese dragon motif. In the place of the traditional orb, there is a sapphire window exposing the balance wheel and C-shaped regulator index.
The case back is also engraved “Limited edition of 18 pieces”, rather than XX/18. Watchmakers are increasingly labelling limited editions as such to avoid the digit four in the serial number as four sounds similar to death in Chinese.
Though obscured by the dragon case back, the movement inside is the in-house 9602 MC manual wind calibre. Its bridges are decorated with the interlocking “C” Cartier logo that was once the trademark movement decoration for the CPCP.
The 9602 MC in the 35 mm Rotonde large date
Another detail that gives this away as a CPCP model is the flower-like shape in the centre of the dial. All the CPCP models had this, which was a subtle way of distinguishing them from their less sophisticated brethren. But because the differences were so subtle, and the price differential so large, many buyers found it hard to tell the difference, hence the relatively sparse appreciation for the CPCP while it was still around.
Between the two case metals, I prefer the rose gold. It is richer and more suited to this style of watch. And for some strange reason, this watch reminds me of a vintage marine chronometer or deck watch, perhaps due to the railway minute track and Arabic eight. Nevertheless this is an elegant piece with details that will appeal to Chinese clients and I imagine it will be sold out before long.
This is available only at the Cartier boutiques in Singapore located at Marina Bay Sands, ION Orchard and Ngee Ann City. Prices inclusive of tax are: rose gold S$32,800 (about US$27,300), white gold S$35,300 (which works out to US$29,400 at today’s rate but that could change rapidly given recent volatility).
This message has been edited by SJX on 2011-08-08 21:08:38