Cartier has a long history, going back one hundred and ten years this year, of making mystery clocks. That’s right, mystery clocks. The first Cartier mystery clock appeared in the year 1912, and it was called the Model A. The Model A mystery clock was a fine creation that combined an ample doze of mechanical intricacy and classical French aesthetics.
Produced just two years before the start of the First World War, the Model A had a transparent glass dial in which the hour and minute hands were suspended, appearing completely disconnected from the movement. The Model A, constructed by clockmaker Maurice Couet for Cartier, was the first of many variations on the Magic Clock or Mystery Clock theme, and the secret to how they worked was closely held – even Cartier boutique staff weren’t in on it.
The Cartier Masse Mystérieuse – Finding the Magic in Mechanics
In the watchmaking world as in its clocks, Cartier’s always made mechanics an integral part of achieving an aesthetic effect, and the Fine Watchmaking Collection has included a number of mystery watches, including the 2016 Astromystérieux Tourbillon, and the 2020 Rotonde de Cartier Mystery Skeleton.
This year, Cartier is introducing the latest variation on the theme of a mystery watch: The Cartier Fine Watchmaking Masse Mystérieuse at the Watches and Wonders 2022 Geneva.
“Mysterious Mass” could literally mean anything from a religious rite to a medical diagnosis. In this case, however, it translates into an automatic, time-only watch with the most unusual winding system you will ever see.
The automatic winding mass also consists of the entire movement and all its components, including the mainspring and escapement.
Getting Into the Details
The case is made of platinum and is 43.5 mm in width and 12.64 mm in thickness. The movement used here is the Cartier calibre 9801 MC. You get a 43-hour long power reserve in this mechanism. The movement/rotor has been open-worked so you can see all the active parts of the calibre.
The 39.6 mm x 7.3 mm movement operates in 43 jewels at a frequency of 28,800 vph.