Cartier has been best known for its square and rectangle watches, ask anyone on the street to name a Cartier watch, and you will get an answer like; ‘that watch with the screws.’. That is what Cartier is among the general public; the Santos and the Tank watches. They represent the common understanding of the essence of Cartier, in the luxury world of watches. It therefore had lasted 30 years, after the first Cartier men’s watch was made, before a round mens dress watch was launched on a larger scale.
The ‘Ronde Louis Cartier’ as it’s still called, was born around 1937 and is a creation by the maestro himself. I have to be a bit vague since there is no exact information from Cartier yet about the precise date when this model was introduced. The elegant and – for that time – very modern timepiece found its way to a discriminating clientele and was always build in small production runs. This was before it became the role model for a new men’s watch. The Ronde Louis Cartier should not be confused with the ‘Rotonde de Cartier’ which was launched in 2006. While both models have a lot in common, the ‘Ronde Louis Cartier’ downs the ‘Rotonde de Cartier’ when it comes to elegance, style, and sophistication. The lugs of the Ronde are bending inwards, shorter, more roundish and the sapphire set crown is less prominent. The ‘Rotonde de Cartier’ is another world, it was designed in 2008 and was built to house Cartier’s new complicated movements.
A discreet looking watch with a lot of charm and the typical Cartier styling like the ‘Ronde de Cartier’, it doesn’t get better than this. That’s why I was glad to see that this new and larger version of the Ronde Louis Cartier was released last month.
When matched with a pair of cufflinks you’re off to go anywhere with the Ronde Louis Cartier. From dinner- to wedding parties and with a more casual styling, the Ronde Louis Cartier is an ideal daily companion. It also feels more sturdy than its smaller predecessor, from about 20 years ago. (pictured here on the left)
While that model from the eighties had a very slim 34mm case and came with the mechanical hand wound Piaget 430 caliber, this new Ronde Louis Cartier is slightly larger and measures 36mm. It is powered by the new automatic manufacture caliber, the 1847MC. Because the movement is self-winding, the case is slightly thicker than its predecessor and now has a thickness of 9mm.
This is Cartier’s second in-house build automatic caliber and it follows the food steps of the 1904MC, with central hands for the minutes and hours. With the balance-wheel mounted at two points on a bridge and the rotor incorporating a specially designed durable lever system, the movement seems to be very stable.
But as the more plainly finish gives away, this is the more entry level caliber when compared to the 1904MC. The rotor winds in both directions and has a power reserve of 42 hours. In contrary to the 1904MC, the 1847MC has sweep seconds instead of a sub seconds at six. The sweep seconds doesn’t really make the watch more attractive, for a purist like myself, but for many men it is certainly a good option.
To me this Ronde Louis Cartier is a classic winner, as it is. I like the fact that the watch comes on a strap in brown semi-matte alligator skin, fitted with the 18 mm ardillon C buckle in 18K pink gold instead of the usual deployant buckle. That deployant buckle is far from ideal since it was redesigned in 2007.
The 36mm Ronde Louis Cartier model, with its silvered flinqué dial and blued steel Breguet-styled hands, is a great size to wear for most men. In case the watch feels to small, there is also a 40mm version available, with 1904MC caliber. Both Ronde Louis Cartier watches share the same looks and style and are both equipped with a sapphire case back. Since the 40mm version has the 1904MC, the watch also has a sub seconds at 6 and a date window at 3. And these two features may do it for the more practical people among us.
The 36mm ‘Ronde de Cartier’ will set you back (about) Euro14000.- /US$14700.-while the 40mm ‘Ronde de Cartier’ has a price tag of (about) Euro 16400.-/ US$17100 (pricing may vary a bit from country to country due to VAT)
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