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01/15/2019
 3 minutes

Cartier Release: Homage to the past with the Cartier Tonneau watch

By Jorg Weppelink
Cartier Release: Homage to the past with the Cartier Tonneau watch

Cartier Release: Homage to the past with the Cartier Tonneau watch

Cartier Privé is a specially curated selection of Cartier watches introduced in limited numbers for collectors and connoisseurs of the brand. Cartier Privé celebrates the different historical shapes Cartier watches have had over the years and combines these with the latest movement technologies and design to create truly special timepieces. In 2015, Cartier introduced the reinterpretation of the Crash watch and 2017 saw the introduction of the Cartier Tank Cintrée. At the SIHH 2019, Cartier will introduce the next classic reinterpretation: the iconic Cartier Tonneau watch.

Cartier Tonneau
Cartier Tonneau

The first Cartier Tonneau watch was released in 1906, just two years after the introduction of the Santos in 1904. With the Tonneau, Cartier once again challenged the tradition of round pockets watches by introducing a shape that had never before been used for a watch. The tonneau shape, or ‘barrel’ in English, turned out to be practical in the sense that it fit better on the wrist and soon became a design classic. To celebrate the unique character of this shape, Cartier is introducing two new takes on the classic Cartier Tonneau: one with a redesigned hour and minute display and another with a skeleton dual time zone. Both modernize the overall aesthetic, and even push it forward to the future.

New Cartier Tonneau
Image: Cartier

Cartier Tonneau Watch

The new Cartier Tonneau watch stays true to the original from 1906, but also features improved details, which bring it up to modern times. The watch is available in pink gold with a brown leather strap and champagne-coloured dial or platinum with a grey leather strap and silver dial. Both options are unique: The pink gold version oozes elegance, whereas the platinum version makes a more understated statement of pure class.

The watch is characterized by its curved case that follows the contours of the wrist. It features iconic, polished rhodium-plated Roman numerals that stand out against the dial background. Other features include a rail track, a cabochon on the winding crown, and screws on the lugs. The bezel on the new Tonneau watch is made from one block with no overhang or breaks; its contours and lugs melt into the watch case.

Both watches are powered by the new manual winding Cartier 1917 MC manufacture calibre with a power reserve of 38 hours. Each watch has a limited run of 100 pieces.

Cartier Skeleton Dual Time Zone Tonneau Watch
Image: Cartier

Cartier Skeleton Dual Time Zone Tonneau Watch

The second model that Cartier is releasing is the Cartier Skeleton Dual Time Zone Tonneau watch. This is a watch that looks completely different than the classic version. It catapults the watch into modern times, but maintains the classic and iconic shape of the Tonneau watch. The new Skeleton Dual Time Zone pays tribute to the Tonneau XL dual time zone model from the CPCP collection. Cartier decided to surpass the older model, however, which featured two separate mechanisms for indicating the home time and a second time zone.

For this new version, Cartier kept the dual time zone and fit it into a curved case, but they decided to use one single movement: the new Cartier 9919 MC calibre, which has a power reserve of 60 hours and the gear train arranged in a line. This demonstrates the high standard of watchmaking that Cartier adheres to. These two complex features were necessary to remain true to the original shape. Firstly, the gear train wheels needed to be aligned between 12 and 6 o’clock and the shape of the movement had to curve so it would fit into the curved contours of the tonneau watch case.

Finally, the two time zones were linked to create a nice and balanced aesthetic that makes the watch easy to read. The second time zone is set by pressing the crown at 4 o’clock, which makes the time jump in one-hour increments. Cartier decided to skeletonize the movement to create maximum impact and give people wearing the watch the chance to enjoy the watch complication at work. This new Cartier Skeleton Dual Time Zone Tonneau watch is a remarkable mix of classic aesthetics and modern-day watchmaking wizardry. There are two versions available; both are numbered limited editions of 100 pieces. You can choose a pink gold version with a grey and burgundy leather strap or the platinum version with blue and black leather strap. If this is not enough for you, there are 20 numbered pieces available in the platinum series encrusted with baguette-cut diamonds.

With the introduction of these new Tonneau watches, Cartier proves that they have a great heritage and know how to respect that with two different versions of a classic piece, each of which will create its own impact.

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About the Author

Jorg Weppelink

Hi, I'm Jorg, and I've been writing articles for Chrono24 since 2016. However, my relationship with Chrono24 goes back a bit longer, as my love for watches began …

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