Watches & Wonders 2022 in Geneva – the world’s biggest watch fair – has seen the world’s top watch brands front up with a huge number of releases. It’s been a veritable smorgasbord of new watches, with no brand holding back in terms of quality or quantity… But Cartier has outdone them all.
The world-famous jeweller has unveiled literally dozens of impressive novelties across a number of different collections: a revival of the iconic Tank Chinoise, a stunning new Libre bracelet, a bonkers Coussin de Cartier with a ‘squishy’ flexible case entirely paved in precious gems… Just to name a few.
Each of these on their own would be worthy of a passionate screed, but we’ve chosen to focus on perhaps their most impressive release; one that’s arguably one of the most impressive releases of Watches & Wonders (and that’s really saying something) – the Cartier Masse Mystérieuse.
Cartier has long been famous for its ‘mysterious’ movements and clocks: remarkable timepieces that through careful craftsmanship completely obscure their operating mechanisms. First introduced in 1912, these remarkable pieces of horology are one of Cartier’s signature creations and remain just as mysterious and alluring in 2022.
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The new Cartier Masse Mystérieuse takes that to the next level. Not only does it have that classic ‘floating’ illusion, but the whole movement has been transformed into a mobile, skeletonised, oscillating weight. It’s a rather unique complication that’s quite unlike anything else on the market.
Essentially, the watch’s in-house 9801 MC movement is the rotor. All components that receive energy from the movement, transmission and regulation are integrated into the rotor. The end result is that the Masse Mystérieuse’s hands seem to float in the space of the case, without being connected to any gears. On top of that, the rotor/movement is skeletonised, for added visual flair and transparency.
If that didn’t already scream big bucks, the Masse Mystérieuse is crafted from 950/1000 platinum, is mounted on an alligator strap and has a ruby cabochon set in its crown (classic Cartier stuff right there). Despite all this, the watch is remarkably light on the wrist. At only 43.5mm in diameter and 12.64mm thick, it’s surprisingly dressy – you’d definitely be the talk of any cocktail party with this piece of horological art on your wrist.
Limited to only 30 pieces, the Cartier Masse Mystérieuse is a bit of a masterstroke. It simultaneously pays homage to Cartier’s legacy of luxurious objets d’art while also espousing its skill as one of the world’s most technical and innovative watchmakers.
It also manages to pull off the impossible: standing out amongst Cartier’s impressive swathe of W&W ’22 releases, as well as the whole fair’s releases more broadly… Fantastic stuff.