In recent years, an increasing number of watch brands have developed their own movements.
In the past, the majority of watch brands procured movements from ETA, a well-respected manufacturer of watch movements and a subsidiary of the Swatch Group. Some of these watch companies using ETA movements started directly competing with watch brands which belonged to the Swatch Group yet, have not incurred the same movement R&D costs, clearly enjoyed a competitive advantage.
Mindful of this scenario, the Swatch Group voiced its intention to supply fewer movements to non-Swatch companies, resulting in many brands developing their own in-house movements.
Cartier released its 1904 MC self-winding movement in 2010, signalling a new chapter in the company’s history. To coincide with the release of the new Calibre 1904 MC, the movement was housed in a new timepiece, the aptly named, Calibre de Cartier.
The new model was unveiled with a choice of case options, including steel, bi-metallic and 18-carat pink gold, available on a leather strap or co-ordinating metal bracelet. The functions included hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock along with a date display at 3 o’clock. Initially, the watch was launched with a 42mm case diameter, but later the model range grew to include a smaller 38mm option.
The 1904 MC is an attractively packaged movement, featuring Côtes de Genève motif on the oscillating mass and bridge work. The movement includes 27 jewels and has a power reserve of 48 hours.
In 2013, Cartier enlarged the Calibre de Cartier family further with the addition of a new variant, the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch. This timepiece was equipped with a new movement, the 1904-CH MC.
The dial layout of the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph shared some similarities with the Calibre de Cartier, bit also had some clear differences. The date display was repositioned above 6 o’clock and the watch featured a bi-compax layout, arranged along a central axis from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock.
Aesthetically, the movement decoration of the 1904-CH MC shared much in common with its sibling the 1904 MC. However, the 1904-CH MC also featured a column-wheel, a telling indication that Cartier was very serious in creating a fine chronograph. The outcome of this no-compromise specification was sublime actuation of the pushpieces and a welcome absence of stutter when starting the stop-watch function.
The Calibre de Cartier Chronograph watch features 35 jewels and, courtesy of the twin barrels, the power reserve is identical to the Calibre de Cartier at 48 hours.