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REVIEW: Cartier Two-Tone Diver's Watch

August 5, 2014

Overview

The Calibre de Cartier Diver’s watch, which we previously covered here and here, represents Cartier’s first foray into dive watches. It’s also the most rugged and sporty watch they have ever produced.

Cartier, is a world-renowned French jeweler, with a long history of producing classical luxury watches, with little emphasis on sport. But sport watches make up such a big share of the watch market. And the diver’s watch is a model virtually every well known watch brand has in their assortment. So, Cartier, finally decided to “dive-in.”

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The Calibre de Cartier Dive is not just about looks, it’s a real diver’s watch. It meets all ISO 6425 dive watch requirements, meaning, it is water-resistant to at least 330 feet, it has a time controller (dive bezel), and it complies with all the standards for: readability, luminostiy, shock resistance, anti-magnetism and band solidity.

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The case

The case has the typical shape you can tell is a Cartier, even from across the room. According to Cartier, it measures 42 mm by 11 mm and is one of the thinnest mechanical diver’s watches on the market. Definitely a good thing when you consider how many practically unwearable behemoth dive watches exist.

For every review I measure the watch dimensions, with a digital caliper, three times for each dimension. This way I can communicate any differences between the manufacturer’s listed specifications. My measurements came out to 43 mm by 10.80 mm. So, while the diameter is actually a little wider than Cartier claims, the case is thinner. It is only a different of two-tenths of a millimeter, but it is also that much easier to slip underneath your cuff when it is time for dinner, after spending the day at the beach.

The length from lug to lug is 48 mm. And the diameter, with the crown guards in 45 mm. The weight (as shown) with the rubber strap attached, is 113.6 grams, which translates well when wearing it for extended periods.

“…the strap pivots to fit your wrist more snuggly than a typical spring bar attached strap.”

It is available in three different case variations: stainless steel, two-tone (rose gold and steel) or rose gold. We reviewed the two-tone model, which by the way, perfectly matches the brand new, caramel-colored Louis Cartier 24 Hour duffel bag that we also borrowed for the shoot.

Thanks to short, articulated lugs, the watch fit very nicely on my wrist. Another nice touch, is the pierced lugs, which I personally think look cool, and that allow the strap to be removed easily with a small screwdriver. Best of all though, is that the strap pivots to fit your wrist more snuggly than a typical spring bar attached strap.

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The case features large crown guards, along with Cartier’s signature hexagonal shaped crown. The crown is made of solid 18K rose gold, that has been polished and is set with a faceted synthetic blue spinel. Unlike previous Calibre de Cartier models, such as the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph that we reviewed in 2013, this watch has a gasket sealed locking crown. It is a dive watch after all.

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The case body is stainless steel, with a brushed matt finish. The 18k rose gold fluted bezel ring, which surrounds the uni-directional DLC treated steel dive bezel, has been fully polished. The lug edges and crown are also polished. The case back is stainless steel, which is gasket sealed and secured with 8 screws. Water-resistance is 300 meters.

The dial

The sapphire crystal, and armored, meaning it is set below the bezel. The glass appears to have no glare-proofing, a la Rolex, I guess. surrounding the bezel, is a fluted, rose gold ring, that is polished and gives the watch its two-tone style.

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The dial is black, and has a partially snailed finish. The hours are marked by Roman numerals and indexes. The “XII” marking and triangle at 12 o’clock have Superluminova, as do the twelve square markers, the sword-shaped hour and minute hands and the entire small subsidiary display.

The unidirectional 60-minute dive bezel is steel and has been treated with a scratch resistant black ADLC (Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon) coating. It has 120 notches (40 teeth and 3 points), enabling adjustment to half-minute, with clear sound during rotation. The rotation is good. However, the clear coating on the bezel creates an appearance that seems plasticky. It is not plastic, but I personally think it could be improved on, to give the bezel a look congruent with the otherwise high quality fit and finish of the rest of the watch.

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I have heard some editors mention that the Cartier dial should have used indexes instead of Roman numerals. But I think Cartier knows their customer very well, and the dial is another one of the highly distinctive elements that makes a Cartier, a Cartier. Needless to say, I doubt they will change this, and don’t think they should.

The movement

The watch is powered by the same robust and reliable base caliber that powers the entire Calibre de Cartier line, the caliber 1904 MC. It runs at a frequency of 4Hz and has a power reserve of 48-hours. It is self-winding and made in house at Cartier’s manufacture in Geneva. It has 27 jewels and is finished with Geneva stripes on the bridges and oscillated weight, with circular graining on the main plate.

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The details

The Cartier de Calibre dive watch is presented on a natural black rubber strap with a steel ardillon buckle that is signed “Cartier.” Thanks to pierce lugs, the strap can be remove easily with a jewelry screwdriver, should you want to add a metal bracelet, for example. The price is $10,600. (Ref. 3729/100603UX)

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Verdict

Cartier is a unique brand that is recognizable for their elegant, highly distinctive luxury products. And while sport watches are not their forte, they have proven that they can make a rugged dive watch, without sacrificing the identity that has made them so successful. If you want a Cartier that can be worn at the beach, out on a yacht, or by the pool — this is the one.

Learn more at Cartier.

Cartier, Hands-On, Lifestyle


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