To the contemporary eye, a pocket-watch case may seem an overly discreet form of housing for a mechanism as magnificent as a grand complication. Yet there is nothing modest about Cartier’s $625,000 Grande Complication Pocket Watch (www.cartier.com), whose airy configuration amply displays the movement from Renaud & Papi, a specialist renowned as much for the generous dimensions of its constructions as for the quality of its finishing. The watch combines a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, and single-pusher chronograph. For those who wish to use this piece as a desk clock—or simply as an extraordinary object of contemplation—the jewelry house provides a geometrically shaped obsidian-and-rock-crystal stand.
Past pocket watches inspired many of the Grande Complication’s details, while the base is reminiscent of the portico clocks and mystery clocks the company made famous prior to World War II. Indeed, despite the practical benefits of the watch’s timekeeping capabilities, its lovely lines and facets make one hesitate ever to conceal it within the prosaic fold of a pocket.