At Cartier, time is not only an objective existence, but also a mysterious subject that requires unremitting exploration. Design aesthetics lead all innovations, including the most cutting-edge technology, which allow the mysterious complication watch to create a visual illusion and play with the perception of time.
A new mysterious masterpiece of Cartier Haute Horlogerie: the Masse Mystérieuse watch. Equipped with a new movement made by the Haute Horlogerie workshop, it is breathtaking. What is the “mystery” of this watch? It is the movable semi-circular movement, incarnated as a skeletonized oscillating weight, that presents a mysterious illusion.
Cartier’s two major logo elements
The Masse Mystérieuse watch combines two of Cartier’s iconic watchmaking elements: the mysterious movement and the skeletonized structure. Since the introduction of the brand’s iconic mysterious clock in the 1910s, Cartier has not only reduced the size of the movement to fit the watch’s case, but has also made adjustments to this new creation, giving the oscillating weight a unique decorative aesthetic, allowing all functions All serve the beauty of creation.
Brand new movement, the result of eight years of research and development
The new 9801 MC movement can avoid the influence of gravity on the travel time. This movement was designed, developed, produced and assembled in the Cartier watchmaking workshop. It took nearly eight years to complete the production and has applied for a patent. Craftsmen need to make five different models to release one prototype; to make two prototypes to create the final movement. The hands of the Masse Mystérieuse are suspended in the case and are not connected to the gears. In addition, the entire movement is suspended in the air as if weightless. All components can access the power of the movement, and the transmission and adjustment mechanism is placed in the oscillating weight. The oscillating weight is skeletonized to reveal this dynamic scene. In the center of the movement, there is a high-precision differential system borrowed from the automobile manufacturing industry to avoid the oscillating weight driving the time display. This innovative mechanism follows the movements of the wearer and displays the trajectory of time with floating hands. This watch is the most complex work in the production process of the Cartier watch workshop. The mysterious oscillating weight uses an innovative principle to ensure that the balance wheel always maintains the same vertical position. For this purpose, the pendulum rotates in both directions at an irregular speed.
A Brief History of the Mysterious Clock
In the long history of Cartier, the mysterious clock occupies a pivotal chapter. The reason why the mysterious clock is “mysterious” is because the hands seem to be suspended on the transparent clock body, and there is no visual sense of connection with the movement. Cartier’s first mysterious clocks appeared in 1912. They bear witness to the brand’s aesthetic philosophy, which was widely acclaimed in the early 20th century. As the fashion magazine La Gazette du Bon Ton called it in 1925, it was a “miracle in the history of horology”, a collaboration between Louis Cartier and the outstanding watchmaker Maurice Couët crystallization. At that time, Maurice Coue was only 25 years old, but he was already appreciated by Cartier for his extraordinary skills, and in 1911 he became an exclusive supplier to Cartier. In 1912, the first mysterious clock was born in the workshop and was named “Model A”. Maurice Couet was inspired by the clock invented by Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, the great French magician and the founder of modern magic. The principle he borrowed and developed is based on a brilliant concept: the hands are not directly connected to the movement, but are fixed on two crystal discs with a serrated metal frame. The crystal discs are driven by the movement (mostly at the bottom of the clock) and rotate at the speed of the hour and minute hands, respectively. To make the illusion more realistic, the metal frame of the disc is concealed under the hour-marker circle.