Cartier has always had a knack for creating evocative, expressive watches riddled with innovation. Its portfolio is filled with fascinating pieces like the Tank Asymétrique, Crash Skeleton, Cloche de Cartier and Rotonde de Cartier. Throughout the years Cartier manages to walk the fine line between refined elegance, traditional craftsmanship and an unbridled push for creativity and modernity. Perhaps the best example is Cartier’s love for mystery and illusion, with watches and clocks not revealing all their secrets and leaving you baffled about how it actually works. And that element of mystique is perfectly captured in the new Cartier Masse Mystérieuse.
Before going into details, we have to admit we’re not entirely 100% sure how this watch works. Sure, we’re familiar with the concept of the Mystery watches and clocks by Cartier, and we have read a press release of course, but to grasp the way the Masse Mystérieuse ticks is a challenge.
Going through the basics first, we have a 43.5mm wide platinum case with a fully polished finish. It measures 12.64mm in height, making it a relatively large watch. The crown is fitted with a ruby cabochon, a typical Cartier signature. A sapphire crystal covers both sides of the watch. Time is indicated by a pair of central hands, one for the hours and one for the minutes. On the outer edge of the dial is a chapter ring with applied Roman hour numerals, paired with a subtle minute track. And that is about where the familiarity stops.
The Masse Mystérieuse is powered by the in-house developed and constructed Calibre 9801 MC. At first, it might seem like a semi-circular shaped movement with manual winding. But, and that’s the biggest part of the mystery, the movement is actually the winding rotor as well. It basically drives itself through a clever differential system, borrowed from the automotive industry. It took Cartier 8 years to develop this system, with all components integrated into this unique structure. It uses 43 jewels and runs at a frequency of 28,800vph while offering 42 hours of autonomy.
The Cartier Masse Mystérieuse comes on a black alligator leather strap and is limited to 30 individually numbered pieces. The price is EUR 250,000 before taxes. We will follow up on this release once we’ve had the chance to see it live and fully understand the intricacies of that fascinating movement.
For more information, please visit Cartier.com