After nearly three years of complete renovation, the Cartier Mansion on Fifth Avenue re-opened last week with much fanfare. The completely revamped mansion is the stuff legends are made of – much like all of Cartier. In fact, the mansion was initially purchased nearly 100 years ago with a pearl necklace.
It was in 1912 that Pierre Cartier, the grandson of founder of the brand Louis Cartier, began a search for a magnificent New York location that would rival the grand Paris Rue de la Paix flagship store. New York wasn’t easy, but eventually, right in the heart of Manhattan, he found a neo-Renaissance style mansion owned by businessman Morton F. Plant. Plant’s wife Mae had seen a natural pearl necklace (with 128 graduated natural pearls) at the cheap replica Cartier watches salon that was located on the 4th floor of a building at 712 Fifth Avenue, where the brand was initially set up. Pierre Cartier proposed to Plant that they barter the $1 million necklace for the $925,000 property. The trade is said to be one of the most astute business moves in Cartier history.
That piece of real estate at 653 Fifth Ave (at 52nd Street) has been the brand’s flagship American store since 1917. Its interior was a richly appointed mansion with large rooms and small rooms, and Cartier hired William Welles Bosworth in 1917 to transform the Morton Plant Mansion into the House of Cartier. Over the century, the exterior and main entrance have changed a few times, and in 1970, the exterior of the building was granted landmark status by the New York Preservation Commission. Since then, little has changed – until now. Just about three years ago, luxury fake Cartier made the decision to bring the interior of the mansion into the 21st century. The brand hired designer Thierry Despont as the lead architect for the two-and-a-half-year renovation.
“I wanted to give people the feeling of being in the grand house that it once was and to restore it to its full glory,” says Despont. “I don’t think there is any other store like it in the world.”
He went about focusing on lines of sight and opening the space up for a more glorious appeal. There are a multitude of rooms inspired by important people in Cartier’s history, including Jeanne Toussaint (Cartier’s most legendary artistic director), Princess Grace of Monaco (an avid fan and collector of exact replica Cartier jewels), and Pierre Cartier. The Toussaint room features fabric walls and embroidered furniture with herringbone wood floors, while the Pierre Cartier room, where classic jewels are shown, features green velvet drapes, a fireplace and wood paneling. The Princess Grace Salon features taffeta silk curtains, white walls and the crests of Monaco on the woodwork.
Other rooms with their own personality in the multi-floor mansion are named for greats such as Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, Santos Dumont, Gary Cooper and more. On the fourth floor is a luxurious Service Salon, and a seating and bar area. The fifth floor houses the brand’s workshop and the sixth floor is a private entertains space with an expansive terrace overlooking Fifth Avenue.
In total, the new boutique space is four times the size of the previous one and has been expanded from 8,600 square feet to 44,100 square feet across four floors. Everything was custom made including more than 100 different window treatments and 43 different fabrics and wall coverings. There are 30 new chandeliers inspired by the originals, and a host of more than 100 newly acquired antique pieces, including desks and furniture, comprise the overall appeal of the boutique. Cheap replica Cartier watches online.
The official opening of the event last week included a lavish party in the mansion, as well as an after party across the street. It was a star-studded gala – with the unveiling of a new three-row pearl necklace being unveiled in honor of the original necklace that was traded for the property.
Cartier’s newest sports watch for 2015 is the Ronde Croisiere collection, and in many ways, it is an unexpected but not surprising move from the brand. Cartier is the most important brand within the larger Richemont Group of luxury companies, easily out-earning its colleague watch making family members such as Piaget, Panerai, Vacheron Constantin, IWC, and more. That means Cartier has a lot of responsibility to not only pick up on, but also react to market trends and demands. The Cartier Ronde Croisiere, when looked at from various perspectives, can very much be seen as Cartier’s answer to what some collector’s have voiced interest in, as well as what the consumer watch market seems to demand.
So what are those cries that Cartier is responding to? Well, for one thing, people are really into relatively simple and classic looking sports watches. Second, people have been complaining (and in many instances, very rightly so) that luxury watch prices are simply too high for what they are getting. Thus, the cheap replica Cartier Ronde Croisiere is not only a retro-inspired casual sports watch, but is also a model – with an in-house movement – that comes with a starting price of well below $5,000.
Overall, I like the Cartier Ronde Crosiere collection a lot in both styling and concept. It is a comfortable and attractive watch that serves a lot of stylistic utility. However, there are some very odd design choices and instances where you feel Cartier is specifically trying to defend the more extensive detailing in their higher-priced watch offerings.
I’ll begin with my biggest complaint about the Cartier Ronde Croisiere watch, which are the hands. People who know me are familiar with my pickiness over hands, but in this situation, I promise you that I am not being overly sensitive. As you can see, Cartier opted to go with skeletonized hands for the hours, minutes, and even a bit with the seconds hand. It is as though they chose the proper hands for the Cartier Ronde Croisiere dial, and then rather than include the expected luminant material, simply decided to skeletonize them. Even the round tip at the end of the seconds hand is skeletonized.
I find this design choice abundantly puzzling. For years now, I’ve seen an odd fascination with watch makers skeletonizing hands in situations where it makes no sense. Skeletonized hands can look cool and also serve to let the watch wearer more easily see subdials or other information on the dial that hands might otherwise obstruct. On a time-only dial (with or without the date), there is no functional purpose to skeletonized hands.
Speaking candidly with various watch designers over the years, I’ve inquired about this odd trend and have only determined two possible reasons. One reason is that most watches these days are designed in computer software where lighting can be manipulated as well as deceptive. What looks nice and legible in a computer drawing does not represent how something will look like in real life because of how various colors, materials, and finishes react to light. So that is one reason that you see many skeletonized hands on modern watches.
Another reason is simply “design.” Totally counter to the logic most watch lovers have, some designers feel that “hands are simply too bold and take over a dial.” Well, that is sort of the point isn’t it? Designers seem to be skeletonizing hands to reduce their visual “weight” in order to (in their mind) make a watch dial appear more aesthetically harmonious. Of course, to anyone who appreciates watches for actually reading the time at a glance, this notion seems… well, just really misguided.
At launch, there are three versions of the Cartier Ronde Croisiere and, while they are all attractive in the abstract, only one I can universally suggest as something to buy. That would be the silver dial model with the black hands. This is the only version where you have enough contrast between the dial and the hands for the watch to be legible in most situations. The gray dial is a close second, but not as good as the silver dial. On this model, replica Cartier was good enough to satin-finish the hands so that they provide more contrast with the shiny gray dial. Again, it is not as legible as the silver dial, but it is manageable. However, the most interesting model with the gray dial and pink gold-toned accents is almost totally illegible in many lighting situations. I can get creative with the photography and show the dial in its most flattering light (literally), but it would be misleading to suggest this as a sport watch that can be relied upon to easily tell the time at a glance. That is really a shame because I quite like that model.
In fact, when seeing these watches on my wrist, one of the first things I thought was “this is such a cool concept, and I want to adore these timepieces. I wonder if you could simply replace the hands with something better – filled with lume?” There are watch modifiers who could probably do this, and perhaps Cartier will change the Cartier Ronde Croisiere hands in the future. I don’t know, but my advice to them is that this would be a much better watch with hands that can be read on all dials.
OK, so now I’ve gotten that major complaint out of the way. I don’t like complaining (well, actually, I do, I just don’t like being overly negative without being constructive), but I can now proceed to talk about many of the very real positives about the Cartier Ronde Croisiere collection. In French, croisiere means “cruise,” and I think in this context, it refers to the fact that this timepiece is not just a sports watch, but a “casual” sports watch. Looking closer, you can see that what luxury replica Cartier did was to combine design elements of 1950s and 1960s era dive watches with their own product DNA in regard to having a dial made up of revolving Roman numeral hour markers. The combination actually works, and the wrist appeal for such a design is very high.
Of course, the Cartier Ronde Croisiere isn’t a dive watch. Cartier already has one of those with the Calibre Diver (aBlogtoWatch review here), which is currently my favorite sport watch in the brand’s product lineup. But the Cartier Ronde Croisiere isn’t a dress watch either. I would call it an elegant causal sport watch. To that end, the case is water resistant to 100 meters, and it comes on a nice black calfskin leather strap that has the visual look of canvas.
The Cartier Ronde Croisiere case is rather thin, at just 9.7mm thick and 42mm wide. The steel case has shorter lugs and is totally polished, making for a vintage-style look. The thin profile on the wrist makes it very comfortable, and the stubby lugs makes the 42mm wide size comfortable on most all wrists. I quite like the size and wrist presence of the Cartier Ronde Croisiere a lot – which is certainly a highlight of the piece.
The Cartier Ronde Croisiere is designed with a bezel that looks like a rotating diver’s bezel but it is fixed. The steel bezel has an ADLC black coating in a matte finish to give it that distinct look. This works really well on the steel and gold model that adds some 18k pink gold-plated accents on the bezel and an 18k pink gold crown. Black spinel is used as the cabochon material in the crown, versus the more common blue sapphire crystal of many other Cartier watches. The crown is very much within the scope of Cartier design DNA.
From a simple design perspective, the Cartier Ronde Croisiere dials are lovely. You have a traditionally-styled minute track on the outside followed with a ring of Cartier Roman numerals and some texturing on the inside. Everything fits well and is nicely proportioned, but there are, of course, the issues with legibility. On the gray dial models, the Roman numerals are too heavily polished and refract light, and this impedes legibility. In a sense, they serve to highlight the silvered dial Cartier Ronde Croisiere model since it works so much better given the much better contrast and less light reflectivity.
Inside the Cartier Ronde Croisiere is the brand’s popular and in-house made caliber 1874 MC automatic movement that operates at 4Hz and offers about 42 hours of power reserve. Given either the price or thin nature of the Cartier Ronde Croisiere, there isn’t an exhibition caseback, which is a bit less common for watches with the 1847 MC movement.
Cartier is a brand known for doing a lot of things right. They spend an awful lot of time making sure their cases are both refined and comfortable, and their timepieces tend to have an actual market appeal and wearing purpose. Another issue I would, however, like to take is with their deployant clasp used on most watches with straps. The system involves severely bending each side of the strap in order to size the watch – which is a bit frustrating. The good news is that when done correctly, you get a very precise fit. Also, the deployant uses a tension lock which, for me, always feels like you have to apply way too much pressure to close it. They look nice, but I’ve found putting on some best replica Cartier watches to not be as “luxury” as it should be. Nevertheless, Cartier has some excellent bracelets with corresponding deployants, so I know the brand is capable of more.
The Cartier Ronde Croisiere is a lovely creation and solid concept that offers a great watch for a solid price. I can easily endorse the reference CRWSRN0002 model with the light silvered dial and it is my top pick among the collection. It not only looks nice, but you can actually read it. The ref. CRWSRN0003 is also in steel with the gray dial which is a good looker but not as legible, and each of those models has a retail price of $4,650. We also have the ref. CRW2RN0005 Ronde Croisiere in steel with some 18k pink gold accents which has a retail price of $5,300.
Warning: This watch review with a difference may contain traces of mancrush. So let’s address the chiselled jaw on the elephant in the room. We envy the hero of this shoot, Mr Chris Edwards, more than just a little bit. Let us count the ways. He surfs and still dresses as sharply as anyone in the country (see these stunning photographs for perfectly fitted proof). On the business front, he co-founded a high-end tailoring business – Oscar Hunt.
To make matters even more unreasonable, he was recently crowned the Australian ‘Drive Man’ by cheap replica watches Cartier. But perhaps the hardest thing to stomach is that he’s actually a really good guy. And we know, because we were lucky enough to join Chris and Cartier in Florence for Pitti Uomo 2016. He wore the brand new Drive de Cartier for a week – and on the flight back to Australia, we asked him about it. Here’s what he told us.
My first impression was… that it looked different to most other watches you see out there. It was the unique shape that struck me the most at first.
Once I put it on, it felt… good. It definitely has a bit of weight to it but not so much that it feels too macho or over-the-top.
Looks-wise… I thought it looked quite big in the box, but on the wrist the proportions were great. It’s definitely a masculine watch but with a high degree of style and elegance. I tend to cut my shirt cuffs larger than normal to avoid catching on my wrist, so I can wear watches easily, and because of that, the watch sits well under the shirt.
What stood out to me was… the attention to detail. The subtle and precise engraving on the dial, the tinyluxury fake watches Cartier ‘secret signature’ in the number seven, and the softness of the octagon shape. It looks effortless, but I can only imagine the countless hours of work that went into getting it right.
I’d wear this with… my day-to-day suiting, my smart-casual and my formal wear. Essentially, I think the Drive is a really good all-rounder. I especially liked how the watch went with my navy linen suit. The simplicity of the replica Cartier steel case and black alligator strapworked really well with the deep blue. I also liked that the watch was able to carry a more casual look with the open-neck tan suit.
If I could change anything… it might be the clasp. I found it tricky to do up initially, although I got the hang of it after a few days. And to be honest, maybe that was because I hadn’t used that particular type of buckle before.Exact replica Cartier watches online.
By the end of the week… I loved it. I know that’s convenient, but it’s true. The more I wore it, the more it grew on me. Suits, both casual and formal, are an essential part of my life – and the Drive was versatile enough to complement them all. This watch nailed it.