Best of the Best 2011: Men’s Watches: Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon

Led by movement developer Carole Forestier, Cartier has exceeded expectations for its initial watchmaking efforts by not only completing the basics on its own but also creating original and compelling designs. The Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Astrotour­billon (800.227.8437, www.cartier.com) might be the defining example of this achievement. In theory, by making a relatively simple modification to the basic gearing, Forestier could have transformed the cage into a sweep-seconds hand that orbits around the dial once a minute. However, engineering the $124,000 watch actually was more complicated. It involved adding a small platinum counterweight to make the rotating carriage move efficiently. The arrangement is practical, elegant, and imaginative, dramatically demonstrating the motion that the complication is capable of delivering.

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