When Louis Cartier discovered his interest in creating watches with non-traditional round cases, he started with the Tonneau shape. It was the year 1906, and the first of its kind was a beautiful yellow gold watch sold to the wife of Grand Duke Paul of Russia; Countess von Hohenfelsen. The innovative shape of the case was enhanced with a sapphire cabochon and the perfect leather strap. Its specifications included a 10HPVM caliber LeCoultre round movement, Swiss lever escapement, 18 jewels, a flat balance spring, bimetallic balance, and a 2.95 by 2.30 cm gold-plated case. It was an important watch sold to one of Cartier’s most important customers. It was also the first example of many more of what he called “Shaped Watches,” and he continued his search for new and beautiful shapes throughout his career as the jeweler who established the design codes of modern watchmaking.
The Cartier Prive ‘Tonneau is part of this year’s capsule collection. Cartier has launched capsule collections in addition to its main collection in recent years. Each capsule collection features a famous Cartier silhouette reinterpreted with special treatments. Ahead of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2019, the Tonneau Large and Tonneau XL Dual Time Skeleton will be revealed before their official debut takes place at the SIHH watch fair in Geneva.
Cartier announced that the two versions of the Tonneau; The elegant but classic two-hand timekeeper and skeletonized two-stroke piece inspired by the 2006 evolution of its 1906 predecessor, will follow the design of the original 1906 version with a curved contour that follows the wrist. Both watch versions will be available in platinum and rose gold.
The Tonneau Large, the two-handed model, has a single-block platinum or rose gold bezel. Cartier claims that the surface will not have in-plane breaks or overhangs. A cabochon tops the sinuous crown. The platinum watch face will be silver, while the rose gold watch face will be champagne colored. Roman numerals in polished rhodium, track time. Both Tonneau versions will be equipped with crocodile leather straps. The platinum watch will have gray, while the rose gold watch will have brown. They both have the new Caliber 1917; Cartier manual winder with a 38-hour power reserve. The platinum version will be limited to just 100 pieces.
The Tonneau XH Dual Time Skeleton is horologically complex. Like the 2006 Tonneau XL, it has two separate timing mechanisms. One to indicate local time and the other to indicate a second time zone. But this new version, the Caliber 9919 MC incorporates both in a single movement. The movement features a gear train with a linear orientation. Its wheels are aligned to maintain the integrity of the case’s shape and are located between 5 and 12 o’clock. This allows for the curved contours of the movement and the angle cut of the gear train on its barrel and escapement wheel. Although the original 2006 version also had two movements, this new version is powered by the 60-hour power reserve of Cartier’s in-house 9919 MC.
The two time zone displays on the Tonneau XH are linked, but each has its own subdial and Cartier’s distinctive blued sword hands sweeping over them. These are mounted on skeletonized bridges that allow easy viewing of the aesthetically pleasing unconventional shapes of the subdials. The open work adds what Cartier describes as a “noble lightness” to its “traditional complication.” The second time zone display can be set using its additional crown. Users simply press it to get to the precise time zone in jumps of one hour each. Caliber 9919 MC uses the initials to designate “Manufacture Cartier.” Using two different mechanisms for the local time zone and a different time zone while using a single mechanism to drive both is a remarkable achievement. It was difficult to fit the watch components into the distinctive shape of the tonneau case while allowing the gear train to have the necessary wheel alignment between 12 and 6 o’clock.
The Privé Skeleton Dual Time Zone will be offered in platinum and rose gold versions in numbered limited editions of 100 watches. 20 special additional numbered watches will be offered in platinum set with baguette-cut diamonds.
The Tonneau-shaped watch is one of the most iconic made by the Cartier house. The Tonneau XH is a new version of the Tonneau XL that celebrated the centenary of the 1906 Tonneau in 2006. The barrel-shaped case is classic …