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With double jumping second time zone watchSIHH 2013: The Ballon Bleu de Cartier tourbillon

The Ballon Bleu de Cartier tourbillon with double jumping second time zone watch has been designed like a regulator. With its central minute hand and its two jumping hour counters – one for local time and the other for starting-point time, it revolutionises the world of travellers’ watches. It is a subtle yet complex masterpiece of balance, stamped with the Geneva Seal, that makes its transparency into a game for knowledgeable watch lovers as it enables them to discover the details of its fascinating, moving mechanism.

The unchanging laws of “Divine Proportions” state that beauty is invariably the result of dimensional balance. In the Ballon Bleu de Cartier tourbillon with double jumping second time zone watch, the symmetry of the whole design and the nobility of its proportions are enhanced by a series of carefully considered interruptions to the overall harmony. The objective was to draw the eye to several predetermined points, such as the jumping-hours discs, to instinctively lead to the two pieces of time information that are provided, and for which this watch has been created.

But once the eye has read the numbers indicated by the individually adjustable blue hands, it moves on to admire the powerful dimensions of this watch. As if by magic, its fine design, based on a pocket watch, diverts the attention from its 46 mm diameter onto the curves of its magnificent case that is ideally shaped to fit the wrist. Fitted on an alligator-skin strap and available in a limited edition of 50 pieces in pink gold and 50 in white gold, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier tourbillon with double jumping second time zone watch should delight all those who love rare objects, the joys of travelling and magnificent mechanisms.

Balance born of symmetry

When looking at the watch in the hand before putting it on the wrist, the face and transparent back of the Ballon Blue de Cartier tourbillon with double jumping second time zone watch reveal a piece of true kinetic sculpture. The perfectly balanced movement that carries the Geneva Seal is the product of a close association between watchmakers and engineers. This mechanical Manufacture movement with manual winding (9456 MC calibre) is regulated by a flying tourbillon that is inspired by the capital C of Cartier and has its carriage slightly elevated to fit into the heart of the double jumping second time zone mechanism.

Through the meticulously skeletonised dial, this perfectly symmetrical, individually numbered heart reveals a part of the subtle retrograde mechanism, which allows two fully synchronised but individually adjustable jumping hours to be displayed. The first, controlled by the winding crown, is fitted into the side of the watch case. The tip of the blued-steel hand in the large counter with Roman numerals shows the time at the starting point. The second, controlled by the push button set into the case at 10 o’clock, indicates the local time.

A simple display requiring a complicated mechanism

This original modular complication, which is incredibly useful for aesthetes who enjoy long-distance travel, possesses a rare charm. Watch lovers will observe the watch for hours on end, noting the slow movement of the levers that control the jumping hours through the openwork dial. Their almost imperceptible motion over a period of 60 minutes means that only a negligible amount of energy is needed to arm them and has no impact on the regulator’s precision.

But every sophisticated mechanism involves something magical and in this case the magic happens in a fraction of a second: every hour ends with a dry little click that lovers of sophisticated mechanisms will enjoy. The two levers are each linked to a spiral spring, and when they reach the end of their course they are released. Activated by their spring, these two parts snap back to their starting point in a fraction of a second. During this movement, a retractable arming finger on the lever engages with one of their twelve linked teeth of the star wheel. In a flash, this advances each of the two wheels by one twelfth of a revolution which causes the two hands to indicate the next hour in their respective counters – one for local time, the other for where the journey began.