By Jason Heaton
on 7.11.12
Photo by Cartier

Watchmaking is a traditional business and the big brands are fairly conservative. So when one of the biggest breaks new ground, it makes us sit up and take notice. Cartier, the venerable jewelry and timepiece giant of the Richemont Group, has given some journalists a sneak peek at their forthcoming ID Two Concept Watch and it is nothing short of revolutionary.

While Cartier has had some iconic timepieces over the years, most notably the Tank, the Santos and the Pasha, they’ve not been really known until recently as haute horlogerie like their Richemont counterparts Jaeger-LeCoultre or A. Lange & Sohne. But a few years ago, the brand put Carole Forestier-Kasapi in charge of their movement development department and the results have been impressive to say the least. Their in-house 1904 MC movement first appeared in the brand’s Calibre de Cartier and is now also in the latest Tank Anglaise. Then they rolled out a flying tourbillon and central chronograph as part of the Rotonde de Cartier line. The hits keep coming with the new ID Two Concept Watch.

This new timepiece blazes trail in more ways than one. First of all, it has a power reserve (time between windings) of an astounding 32 days. The mainspring is the first ever to be made from fiberglass instead of the traditional metal alloys. The escapement, which transfers the power from the mainspring to the timekeeping elements, is planetary instead of linear, which makes it far more efficient. And the movement is lubricant-free, which not only means it requires less adjustment to stay precise, but that it will run a lot longer without wear, thanks to high precision manufacturing and materials. Oh yeah, and the case is made from a transparent ceramic and sealed using vacuum pressure and without screws. Whew. Not surprisingly, the ID Two Concept took five years to develop.

All the whiz-bang watchmaking aside, the watch is stunning to look at, in typical Cartier fashion. The incredible movement is the star of the show and clearly visible through the case from front and back. In fact, the hands are reduced to a supporting role at the top of the dial, just in case you actually need to know the time of day. This is not a watch you’ll see every Tom, Dick and Pierre wearing. In fact, at this point, Cartier has no plans to actually sell this one. It’s more of a concept car for the wrist, a study in what is possible in watchmaking. You can be sure there are more big things in store from Cartier and this is only the beginning. This tour de force should put the rest of the industry on notice.

The new Cartier ID Two Concept Watch will be officially launched at the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in January in Geneva. Early bets are on this watch to be the hit of the show.

Special thanks to HODINKEE for the news and photos.

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