Watches & Wonders novelties

Cartier Masse Mystérieuse: magic in the making

Watchmakers are said to be the masters of time. In some cases, as with the Masse Mystérieuse de Cartier, they prove to be prestidigitators capable of seducing the eye to the point of making amateurs with a knowledge of classical mechanics lose all their bearings. Discover it!

By Chloé Redler

As the head of development at Cartier said during the presentation: ‘At the heart of the Maison, time is not limited to being an objective datum. It is above all the basic element, constantly explored by the craftsmen eager to extract its quintessence’. From this permanent quest was born, 8 years ago, the desire to push back the limits of mechanics even further by having the spring and the primary gearing of a calibre inscribed in the mass intended to maintain its winding. This was a major challenge and part of a spectacular design logic requiring the team in charge of its development to understand the strengths and perfect mastery of watchmaking knowledge. 

Cartier Masse Mystérieuse. Case 43.5 mm diameter in platinum. Crown set with a cabochon-cut ruby. Innovative self-winding mechanical calibre. 9801MC. Mysterious display type. 17 ½ lines with 43 jewels and 42 hours of power reserve. 

For this marvel, produced in a limited edition of only 30 pieces and fitted with a platinum case measuring 43.5 mm in diameter, two of Cartier’s specialities have been combined: skeletonisation of the movement and mysterious operation. Proof of the excellence of this combination is the fact that it is practically impossible, even for a qualified watchmaker, to guess how the movement included in the mobile mass, christened 9801MC, manages to wind itself without the hands displaying the time being disturbed and the chronometry being put at risk.

Le calibre en demi-cercle de la nouvelle Cartier Masse Mystérieuse
A new enigma at Cartier, the Masse Mystérieuse is a watch driven by an original movement, a mobile calibre condensed into a semi-circle, transformed into a skeletonised oscillating weight.

This calibre, which appears to be weightless and required five successive iterations to function perfectly, is widely openworked to allow the eye to try to follow the ultra-complicated kinematic chain designed to move the hands. The latter are associated with an ultra-sophisticated differential in order to maintain their position at all times, despite the movements of the wearer.

La nouvelle Cartier Masse Mystérieuse
The Cartier Masse Mystérieuse combines two of the Maison’s watchmaking signatures: skeletonisation and a mysterious movement.

In addition, and this is not immediately obvious, the motor rotor, which is mobile and active in both directions, has been designed in such a way as to keep the balance wheel in a vertical position. A way to guarantee the precision of the instrument by ensuring great stability to the oscillator. What better way to innovate? 

La nouvelle Cartier Masse Mystérieuse
The hands of the Cartier Masse Mystérieuse seem to float in space without being connected to any gearing, as if in weightlessness.

Price: €300,000 

Technical details:

Case size: 43.5 mm
Thickness: 12.64 mm
Crown set with a ruby cabochon
Dark grey and black semi-matt alligator straps
Movement Manufacture mechanical self-winding 9801 MC
Thickness: 7.3 mm
Number of jewels: 43
Frequency: 28,000 vibrations/hour
Power reserve of 42 hours

The new Cartier products presented at Watches & Wonders, including the Masse Mystérieuse.

The model to be worn on an alligator bracelet is also available in a platinum version set with baguette-cut diamonds and a platinum bracelet set with baguette-cut diamonds (€680,000). Limited edition of 30 pieces. And the version paved with baguette-cut diamonds and a platinum bracelet set with baguette-cut diamonds is priced at €1,440,000.


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