Cartier’s Drive collection premiered in 2016 with three models: an hours/minutes/seconds, a dual time and a flying tourbillon. Anyone familiar with the brand knew that Cartier would build on the range, and so it did when at this year’s SIHH it introduced a variation with moon phases and an extra-thin version. This slimline model caught our eye, and so we decided to take it for a test…. Drive.
The pink gold cushion-shaped case, just 6.6 mm high for a diameter of 39 mm, gives the Drive Extra Flat a completely new identity, without abandoning any of the codes that make this a Cartier watch: blued sword-shaped hands, the blue sapphire set in the crown, Roman numerals, and the famous “secret” signature at 7 o’clock.
Cartier has redesigned the curve of the crystal to reinforce the extra-thin effect. Perfectly integrated with the case, it ensures a seamless transition from gold to sapphire. This may not be an immediately obvious detail, it nonetheless shows the attention Cartier has devoted to this watch, which proves to be much more than just a repeat of the original, only thinner.
Would it be fair to say the white dial could do with a little more “action”? Sweep seconds or sub seconds could keep the wearer entertained. On the other hand, the “keep it simple” approach accentuates the sobriety that is a hallmark of this watch. After all, discretion is the key to this design; an under-the-cuff timepiece that does its job without drawing attention.
Movement-wise, the 430 MC was the obvious choice. By calling on Piaget, a renowned specialist in extra-thin calibres, Cartier was able to acquire a reliable movement without having to invest in the fastidious process of developing a new calibre. This is a manual movement with 40 hours of power reserve, meaning it must be wound on a daily basis. Not that this is a disadvantage, on the contrary. The simple, soft crown makes winding an absolute pleasure.
In conclusion, thinness and lightness make the elegantly understated Drive de Cartier Extra Flat the ideal watch for anyone in search of a simple timepiece for special occasions.