Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2017-07-28

Generally, when one thinks of Cartier watches, beautiful gold Tank watches and handsome Cartier Santos watches come to mind. This summer, though, we encourage you to stop in and take a closer look at a truly useful, yet aesthetically appealing, technical timepiece: the Calibre de Cartier Diver watch.

An authentic diving instrument, the Calibre de Cartier Diver watch is water resistant to 300 meters and features a uni-directional turning bezel and time-control displays in Super-LumiNova for easy underwater readability. Powered by a manufacture self-winding mechanical movement, 1904 MC, each watch holds to the strict technical requirements of ISO 6425 standards.

The collection consists of several 42mm versions in steel or in ADLC-coated stainless steel with either a textured rubber strap or a steel bracelet. There is even a Calibre de Cartier Carbon Diver. Each features a sapphire crystal and meets all of the stringent requirements of Cartier in its craftsmanship and design. Stop in any time to see our collection of sporty — and chic — Cartier watches.

2016-12-13

It's a great time to take a look at the best-selling watches of the year and maybe put one or two of them on your holiday shopping list. Today, we shine the spotlight on three of the most coveted Cartier watches of 2016. While some of these were introduced back in January in Geneva at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, they didn't make their way to retail stores until the fall — so they are still super fresh and sought after.

Drive de Cartier Date Watch

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This year Cartier stepped up its offerings and unveiled an exciting, all-new collection: Drive de Cartier. The watch line features a cushion-shaped retro-inspired case, and there are several versions of the watch, including a three-hands with date, a dual time zone retrograde watch and, at the high end, a tourbillon. The watches are created in stainless steel or in 18-karat rose gold, and each houses one of three in-house-made calibers. At the simple, classic end of the spectrum, we like the Drive de Cartier Three Hands Date watch, with small seconds subdial at 6:00. Powered by a mechanical movement, the 18-karat rose gold version with a white dial and calf leather strap is simple yet alluring.

Clé de Cartier Skeleton Caliber 9612MC

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Crafted in palladium, the new Clé de Cartier Skeleton watch is a superb blend of art and technical prowess. Skeletonizing a watch is no easy task and master artisans work tirelessly to find the perfect balance of open-worked metal and enduring strength. The beauty, however, is proof that the work is worth the wait, as a skeletonized watch offers stunning views of the movement. Such is the case with this year's newest watch. The Clé de Cartier Skeleton Caliber 9612 MC is the brand's first automatic skeleton 165-part movement. Cartier has skeletonized the rotor and gave the bridges a purpose: they form the Roman numerals.

Crash Skeleton

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Another grand example of skeletonization is the Cartier Crash watch with mechanical  manual-wind movement in 18-karat rose gold. The unusually shaped Crash was originally developed in 1967 and has remained a coveted icon ever since. Now, with the skeletonized version housing the 138-part manual wind Caliber 9618 movement, Cartier brings breathtaking beauty and watchmaking prowess. Like the Clé de Cartier Skeleton, the bridges in this watch form the Roman numerals and offer a dramatic view inside.

2016-10-27

Halloween is around the corner and that makes this the perfect time to talk about skeletons. Well, not the kind we usually think of at Halloween, but the kind we think of when we think luxury timepieces: Skeleton watches. Referred to as skeletons or skeletonized watches, these timepieces are intricate and alluring because the majority of the metal movement parts have been cut away and sculpted to offer open-worked magnificence.

To create a skeletonized watch, skilled master artisans and watchmakers spend hours upon hours slimming pieces to their tiniest possible size so that only the minimum metal is visible.  Sometimes the skeletonizing — the act of paring away the metal and then finely finishing it — can take several weeks to a month. It is also a fine balancing act, because as the metal is removed, the strength of the material can be compromised, affecting the integrity of the watch. The perfect skeleton is bare bones, but still generates maximum efficiency and precision.

Generally, once a movement has been fully finished, it is cased between a sapphire crystal and sapphire case back, enabling stunning see-through visibility of the beautiful work of art. While many brands offer top-notch skeleton watches, Cartier — a brand we are proud to carry — is a master at this art. We invite you to stop in any time and take a look at the masterful work inherent in a skeleton watch.

2016-09-27
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Last week we covered how new materials are influencing watch performance both inside and out. In one of those posts we discussed how materials for cases, bezels, bracelets and straps are becoming more advanced in terms of durability, lighter weight and scratch resistance.

However, what we haven’t talked about is the very essence of the watch: the case itself. In fact, one of the most important design elements of a timepiece is its shape. From round to rectangular, from square to oblong, the look of a watch determines its appeal – and that starts with the case shape and its profile.

All cases are not created equal. A watch case can be artful, thoughtful, simple and elegant, or it can be bold, three dimensional, rugged and high tech in nature. One case may be easier to machine and put together than another case. In fact, cases can be milled from a solid block of material or can have dozens — even hundreds — of parts that must be put together.

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In the early years of the 20th century, during the Art Deco period, many cases were square and rectangular (such as the famed Cartier Tank or the iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso). The Roaring Twenties yielded unusually shaped geometric cases and ergonomically curved cases, as well. However, by the late 1930s and into the 1940s and 1950s, we began seeing more round watches. This is because people were beginning to demand water resistant watches, and it was much easier to make a round watch water resistant than a square one with so many edges and angles.

Once the utilitarian need of water resistance was conquered, brands began working on cases that became art – and new shapes appeared, including sculpted cases, coin cases, Dali-inspired shapes and more.

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Today’s luxury watch brands offer a case for everyone. While certain sports watch companies may mill a case from a single block of metal to render it more sturdy and rugged, other brands build complex cases with dozens of parts to demonstrate their abilities to produce a case worthy of the movement inside. These multiple-part cases are no weaker or less water resistant than a solid-block case, as long as the brand has focused on gaskets, fittings, screw-lock casebacks and crowns, and an overall precision interplay of parts.

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The making of a watchcase starts from a mold—a plaster-like or 3-D printed rendition of what the case will look like. When all the parts and angles are approved, the case material is selected and high-precision cutting machines mill the case parts (lugs, sides, back, bezel, etc.). Each of these parts is then fitted together and properly fastened and finished with stunning angles, bevels and more — all of which lead to a highly recognizable finished timepiece.

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It is no easy feat making a case that is distinguishable from across a crowded room, but top watch brands do it. Stop into our store anytime and we can do a side-by-side comparison of some of the finest cases and shapes on the market.

2016-08-17
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Cartier is renowned for its incredible clock work over the centuries. Easily the most coveted Cartier clocks are the Mystery Clocks, see-through clocks that are generally showcased in rock crystal and other clear materials. What makes them magical is that the hands seem to float in space – telling the time without any apparent link to the movement. Now, Cartier has managed to miniaturize the Mystery Clock and turn it into a stunning new wristwatch: the Rotonde de Cartier Astromysterieux Caliber 9462 MC.

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Although it is not the first Cartier Mystery wristwatch (others include the Mysterious Hour and Mysterious Double Tourbillon), it does offer a new feat in a style only Cartier could achieve. The mechanical manual-wind movement, Caliber 9462 MC Astromystérieux complication, is entirely visible in the dial portion of the mystery watch — where typically only the hands appear.

Indeed, the central tourbillon cage seems to float in space. Essentially from the crown to the center there is the barrel, main gear train, balance and escapement — all performing a complete rotation in one hour so the the hands (on the escapement) make their 60-minute rotation around the dial to mark time. The watch holds three patents and is one of the most complicated pieces to build.

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From the outside looking in through the sapphire crystals, very little of the 408-part caliber (including 188 balls) is seen. Additionally, the space dedicated to the movement’s non-visible gears and components (beneath the tiny outer dial) has been reduced by Cartier’s master watchmakers to the barest minimum – offering a grand-scale work of art and technology. Just 100 pieces of the Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux Caliber 9462 MC will be made, cased in palladium. While these watches are incredibly difficult to get one's hands on, they nonetheless demonstrate Cartier's on-going commitment to fine Swiss matchmaking at the highest level.

2016-02-23
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If you've been following our blog, you know that we are keeping on top of the trends emerging from the world's first watch exhibitions. Last month at the SIHH Geneva, we witnessed the emergence of an all-new Cartier collection: Drive de Cartier.

The line is designed for those who appreciate cars and have a penchant for style and freedom. The line is distinguished by its signature cushion-shaped case. Offered, depending on the version, in steel or in pink gold, the Drive de Cartier line has several models — each powered by a different caliber.

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Among the models are the Drive de Cartier time and date watch and the Drive de Cartier small complication with large date, retrograde second time zone and day/night indicator. There is also, at the very high end, the Drive de Cartier Flying Tourbillon watch. We will bring you more details about these watches when they make their way to our store later this year, but for now, we wanted to give you a quick look to whet the appetite.

2016-01-19
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Every year as the world's first luxury watch fair opens in Geneva, we anticipate with delight what Cartier will unveil. So here it is, the SIHH has opened, and Cartier doesn't disappoint. This year, the brand demonstrates its mastery of the art of skeletonization — for both men and women. Creating a skeletonized watch is no easy feat, as master artisans work tirelessly to find the correct balance of open-worked metal and strength without compromising power.

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Now, in its  Clé de Cartier line (which just won an industry Watch Design award at the industry's GEM Awards), Cartier releases the Clé de Cartier Skeleton — the brand’s first automatic skeleton. Creating an automatic skeleton movement instead of a manual wind movement is truly a challenge because of the rotor — typically a solid mass. In this new watch, with the Caliber 9612 MC, Cartier skeletonized the rotor so that the skeletonized bridges form the Roman numerals and still maintain the winding efficiency of the movement. The 165-part automatic Caliber 9621 MC offers 48 hours of power reserve. This 41mm watch is crafted in palladium.

Also this year, Cartier releases a new Crash Skeleton watch based on the beloved Crash watch first unveiled in 1967. The new skeletonized timepiece in rose gold houses a mechanical manual-wind 138-part movement. Here, too, the skeletonized bridges form the Roman numerals of the watch. We look forward to bringing you more news from Cartier after SIHH concludes.

2015-09-17
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Earlier in the week we discussed how so many top watch brands are pulling out all the stops when it comes to decorating watch dials as objects of art. Cartier — a brand we are proud to carry — is one of the masters at bringing Metiers d'Arts to the forefront.

Over the past few years, Cartier dials have incorporated wood marquetry, mosaics, enamel work, sculptural work on abalone, engraving and even gem-adorned dimensional animals that could be added to the watch dial or worn separately as a brooch.

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Additionally, the brand does not discriminate — creating artistic wonders for both men and women. Here we bring you a pictorial of some of the finest works of art from Cartier.

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2015-01-22

Cartier pulled out all the stops at the Salon International d’la Haute Horlogerie show in Geneva this week with its unveilings of the Cartier Crash Skeleton and the Louis Cartier Rotonde XL watches. While these timepieces won’t make their way to the market until later this year, we wanted to bring you a close-up look at them.

Cartier Crash Skeleton

Cartier Crash Skeleton (Photo: Laziz Hamani © Cartier)

The new Crash Skeleton features the famed Crash case that made its debut in 1967 and was inspired by the Salvador Dali’s painting “The Persistence of Memory.” The new version, crafted in platinum, houses the existing caliber MC 9618 skeletonized movement that had to be completely modified to fit within the Crash shape. The result is a beautiful rendition of gears, wheels and finishing that captures attention and challenges the imagination.

The other impressive timepiece is an artistic one. This brand has brought us mosaic tile dials, dials made of rose petals, wood and straw marquetry dials and now — filigree dials — with the beloved panther motif. The Louis Cartier Rotonde XL watch with mother and baby panthers on the dial is created using the ancient art of filigree — where gold or silver wires are soldered together in order to create an openwork lace-like design with a desired motif.

Louis Cartier Rotonde XL Panther Filigree

Louis Cartier Rotonde XL Panther Filigree (Photo: Nils Hermann © Cartier)

To accomplish the design, Cartier's master craftsmen at the Maison des Métiers d’Arts work with beaten gold and platinum micro-wires that are twisted, rolled, curled and cut into little rings. They are then assembled using the openwork filigree technique that allows the elements to be attached on the sides but not to the base. Each watch takes more than a month to bring to fruition.

The pair of panthers feature black-lacquer-spotted coats woven from fine filigree of gold and platinum. They're set with diamonds, and feature made-to-measure emerald eyes. A manual-wind mechanical movement powers the yellow gold, 42mm watch. Just 20 numbered pieces will ever be made.

2014-11-13
Document9 Egyptian striking clock owned by Mrs. George Blumenthal. Cartier Paris, 1927. Gold, silver gilt, mother-of-pearl, lapis lazuli, coral, emerald, cornelian, enamel; 24 x 15.7 x 12.7cm. Cartier Collection. Photo: Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection © Cartier.

Planning a winter ski trip to Colorado? You may want to add on a day in Denver to visit an incredible exhibit of one of our favorite brands: Cartier. The exhibit, entitled “Brilliant, Cartier in the 20th Century,” began this past weekend at the Denver Art Museum and will remain in place until March 15, 2015.

AG50C30_165054  Man's pocket utility kit, Cartier New York, circa 1937. Photo: N. Welsh, Cartier Collection © Cartier

It is a one of the most comprehensive exhibits to come to America and is solely at this venue. The exhibit displays 250 dazzling Cartier jewels, watches, clocks, objects of art, desk and writing accessories and other items all created between 1900 and 1975.

Surrounding the watches, jewelry and other items are drawings, sketches, historic photos and other types of materials of the times — all setting the cultural stage for the Cartier pieces and the era during which they were made. From the aristocracy of the Russian Tsars to the Art Deco and Roaring Twenties eras, Cartier made its indelible mark in history – dressing the world’s most preeminent socialites, financiers, celebrities and more.

The exhibition is created in segments that include a focus on men’s items, such as wristwatches, pocket items and more. There are even pieces on display that were worn by some of the brand’s most famed clients: Daisy Fellowes, Wallis Warfield Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Barbara Hutton, Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Mexican film star María Félix.

WWL48A11_189476 Bracelet watch. Cartier Paris 1911; Made by Jaeger-LeCoultre. Photo: Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection © Cartier

While we are thrilled to have many exciting Cartier pieces in our store, and welcome you stop in and see them, this exhibit gives a rare insight into Cartier’s history. Happy skiing.