In a welcome interruption to my summer vacation, Cartier is out this week with a major announcement in mechanical watches with the Cartier ID Two concept watch. Likening the innovations in the ID Two to the compact fluorescent lightbulb or the modern day petroleum engine, Cartier states that the ID Two is the first “high-efficiency” mechanical watch equipped with a revolutionary movement which consumes 50% less energy and stores 30% more energy than a comparable mechanical movementm, and has a 32-day power reserve. Impressively, this is achieved in a 42mm case — a “normal” size yes, but crafted of a monoblock “transparent as crystal” polycrystalline ceramic, vacuum sealed and without any screws, the case is anything but normal. The case is merely the first in a long list of incredible design and materials innovations represented in the ID Two that I will take you through, but first some perspective: as you might have guessed from the name, this watch is not the first concept watch from Cartier. For those of you who may not be familiar with the ID Two’s predecessor you can check out the Cartier ID One (first seen here at Perpetuelle, back in November of 2009), Cartier’s first concept watch easily summed up as an “lubrication-free, adjustment free” timepiece here. Both these concept watches are part of Maison Cartier’s “ID Program” — that’s “ID” as in Innovation & Development and Ideas. There can be no doubt that the ID Programme has delivered.
Now here’s an in depth look at the Cartier ID Two. Start with the video or jump right into my photos and technical examination, along with some closing thoughts.
Cartier ID Two High Efficiency Concept Watch (Official HD VIDEO)
Cartier ID Two High Efficiency Concept Watch
Unique Piece Concept Watch
42mm monbloc transparent Ceramyst(TM) (polycrystalline ceramic) case; vacuum sealed case — caseback held to case by air pressure
To avoid the risk of leaks, the engineers had to design a case in just two parts, without any screws whatsoever. The seals between the case block and the back as well as those surrounding the setting crown have been made more airtight by the addition of nanoparticles.
black ADLC coated movement (amorphous diamond like carbon)
There are 3 key functions that the ID Two addresses with significant innovations. Below is a review of each.
Step 1: Store the Maximum Energy
Innovations: Twin Duolevel Barrels with Fiber-mainsprings (+30% Energy gain), a horological “first” that mainsprings are constructed of glass micro fiber not metal
Step 2: Maximize Energy Transmitted from the Barrels to the Oscillator
Innovation: Differential gear train (+10% energy transmission gain)
The differential gear train with ultra-light components works without lubrication, minimizes friction and offers an optimized reduction ratio
Cartier ID Two reuses the solution explored in Cartier ID One: components made using DRIE technologies, oscillator and escapement bearing in carbon crystal, and pivot axes in black ADLC-coated titanium. DRIE technology (Deep Reactive Ion Etching) allows micromechanical components to be made with extreme precision (to the nearest micron) and lends itself particularly well to carbon crystal.
Innovation: Escapement in carbon crystal (+15% energy transmission gain), created with DRIE ion ethching technology
Step 3: Minimize the consumption of the Oscillator
Innovation: 99.8% vacuum sealed case for de minimus air friction (37% reduction of oscillator consumption)
Those of you with deep pockets who are salivating at the chance to snap one of these up can dream on — there will be only one Cartier ID Two piece. It is, as a reminder, a concept watch — never to be commercialized and never offered for sale. However at some point in the future I would expect to see some of the revolutionary components of this watch used in other Cartier production pieces…maybe a taste at SIHH 2013 in Geneva? Time will tell, so stay tuned in here at Perpetuelle for all the latest.
Lastly, I think a few words of salutation are in order here: my hat goes off to the entire team at the Cartier Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, where this piece was conceived and created. Starting with their serious move into haute horlogerie a few short years ago, the folks at Cartier Fine Watchmaking have proven themselves many times over, with the no end in sight for their desire to further excel and push the limits of fine watchmaking.
Manufacture Cartier La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland