Cartier is a revered manufacturer of haute horlogerie. It is amongst three of the best-selling luxury watch brands in the world, sitting alongside the likes of Omega and Rolex. In addition to creating Geneva Seal movements, it has also mastered the art and form of crafting tourbillons and skeletonised watches that expose the high level of skill and craftsmanship behind in-house manufacture. Extending upon the complexity of this watchmaking repertoire is a trio of new mechanical timepieces from the Rotonde de Cartier watch collection that combine two complications – the skeleton and the mysterious. The three mechanisms go by the name of Astromystérieux, Mysterious Astrotourbillon and Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon.
The first mysterious movement appeared on a clock named “Model A” in 1912, featuring a transparent dial and two hands that appeared to be magically suspended in mid-air. The concept was originally perfected by one of Cartier’s watchmakers, Maurice Couet. Paired with an emblematic Cartier movement – the skeleton – the three new timepieces are manufactured in the company’s huge La Chaux-de-Fonds watchmaking centre in Switzerland. Each entirely openworked watch tells the time through the movement’s bridges, signifying the breadth of Cartier’s growth as a high-end watchmaker.
The Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux
Suspending the floating Calibre 9462 MC at its centre, this interpretation of the Astromystérieux is crafted from a 43.5mm platinum case and takes its name from celestial objects orbiting in space. The movement, providing a 55-hour power reserve, is suspended inside the tourbillon carriage (which integrates the regulating organ as well as the entire wheel train from the barrel to the balance). The carriage is fixed to a transparent rotating sapphire disc, which creates the impression of an orbiting movement as it completes one full rotation every hour. Aside from this spectacle and an outer ring made up of Roman numeral hour markers, the Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux watch is also styled on an eye-catching teal-coloured alligator leather strap. To match the blue-green shades of the strap, the watch’s beaded crown is set with an aquamarine cabochon.
The Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Astrotourbillon
The largest watch out of the three, with a platinum case measuring 47mm, the Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Astrotourbillon is completed on a blue alligator leather strap and features an aventurine cabochon-set crown. To meet the values of Cartier’s design vision; clean lines, radical design, and the importance of aesthetics – the manufacturer has positioned the tourbillon of the Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Astrotourbillon above the movement so that it sits neatly underneath the hands. The unique construction of this tourbillon is paired with another peculiarity – a specific rotation axis centred inside the movement. Three bridges within the Astrotourbillon watch can be seen (unlike the Astromystérieux model), characterised by oversized Roman numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock and a third Cartier-signed bridge at 3 o’clock. These help to fix the Calibre 9461 MC (with a 48-hour running time) to the anthracite outer ring featuring a minute track.
The Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon
Appearing to defy the laws of gravity is a double flying organ inside the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon. True to the traditional design of Cartier’s mysterious movement – the Calibre 9565 MC, which provides a 52-hour power reserve, completes a rotation on its axis every 60 seconds. On another axis, it makes another rotation every five minutes and is suspended thanks to a rotating sapphire disk. Similar again to the Astrotourbillon model – the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon watch features large Roman numerals that double-up as bridges to secure the movement under its “floating” illusion. The double tourbillon can be seen orbiting around a fluted inner dial and the 45mm platinum watch comes complete on a green alligator leather strap, matched with a jade cabochon-adorned crown.
The presentation box
Cartier pays tribute to the wood marquetry craft with a presentation box meticulously airbrushed, shaded and lacquered to showcase the Rotonde de Cartier Precious Icon Set. The gradation of green, blue and grey tones seen in the wood match the colour schemes of the three watches and form an interlocking spiral pattern. Each of the three spiral patterns bear a central optical lens, allowing a peek into each of the three watches. An alligator leather travel pouch is also included with the purchase, as is a pair of 18ct white gold cufflinks with three interchangeable bars crafted from jade, blue quartz and sodalite stone.
There will be five Rotonde de Cartier Precious Icon Sets available. The price isn’t revealed but expected in excess of EUR 500,000. More information can be found at www.cartier.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.