Cartier ID One Concept Watch

If you were still in doubt of Cartier’s watchmaking ambitions after last year’s SIHH, then you will doubt no more after seeing this – the Cartier ID One Concept Watch.  Cartier revealed this amazing new “concept watch” to tell the world that is quite serious about being more than just another “fashion” brand in the world of high watchmaking, and at first glance it looks like its effort will be a convincing one.  Boy does she look sweet!  Check it out:

cartier id one concept watch 1

cartier id one concept watch 3

The watch is set in a 46mm “Ballon Bleu”-style case – except in a very high tech and undoubtedly awesome material called “Niobium-Titanium” (more on Nb-Ti below). The basic concept behind the Cartier ID One is to create a watch which does not require regulation or adjustment either during assembly or indeed at any time during the life of the watch.  Presently, there are several basic points at which every mechanical watch has to be adjusted during the assembly process, most notably the hairspring, the balance, and the pallet fork.  Cartier has come up with innovations that it believes address each of these challenges.  I’ll touch briefly upon each, but first, how about a couple more pics of this amazing watch:

cartier id one concept watch 2

cartier id one concept

Now, back to the numerous innovations in this watch.  First is what Cartier calls a “Zerodur hairspring”.  Zerodur is the name of a proprietary ceramic/glass material that is completely unaffected by magnetic fields and is also highly dimensionally and elastically stable across a wide range of temperatures.  Next, Cartier has introduced a balance wheel, escape wheel and lever in “Carbon Crystal”.  Carbon Crystal is an extremely hard, diamond-like material which effectively enables the escapement to be oil free.  Third, the ID One Concept Watch has a shock resistant escapement cage.  This allows the escapement cage to shift both laterally and vertically to absorb force, thus protecting the entire escapement from shock.  Finally, the watch has a “Niobium-Titanium” case.  Niobium-titanium is a highly wear resistant (and hypoallergenic) alloy that has its own unique shock absorption properties that give it an advantage over a material such as steel.  Not to mention it probably looks pretty darn cool!

The rotor of the Cartier ID One Concept Watch

cartier id one concept watch rotor

I should make clear that the ID One is a concept watch and as such is not intended nor are there any current plans to offer it for sale commercially.  Like concept automobiles, this concept watch is all about Cartier asserting itself as a real player in the world of haute horlogerie.  You can almost hear Cartier now – “We’ve got good looking watches and the technological capabilities and skills to back it up.  Recognize!”  Yup, can’t argue with them on that.

Ultimately, the test for Cartier will be to do something with this concept.  It will be very interesting to see if, when and where some of these innovations make it into commercially available watches.  Stay tuned!