Enigma is my middle name: The Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour watch
The game is afoot
Study the clues in the case of the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour watch and you might just discover the fine watchmaking secrets behind this new Cartier novelty. Debuted at SIHH 2017, this exceptional timepiece puts the maison's haute horlogerie and design prowess to the test, combining skeleton work and a mysterious movement into a 42mm-sized space. At once asymmetrical yet structured, the stylistic daring of its dimensions certainly beckons a closer inspection, one worthy of a Sherlockian approach.
Divvying the Rotonde de Cartier into two distinct elements, it is the invisible that first grabs the attention; zeroing in on the pair of sword-shaped hands seemingly suspended on thin air. And yet the truth behind this marvel is the in-house developed calibre 9983 MC, wherein the hands are not directly linked to the movement but instead joined to two crystal sapphire discs fitted with teeth along its edges — one each for the minute and the hour pointer — which are in turn activated by the movement, thereby rotating the hands. Astoundingly, this ingenious mechanism had been utilised by Cartier over a hundred years ago when the maison introduced its first mystery clock in 1912. Mindblown, we know.
Then comes the examination of the palladium skeleton frame, a design facet of the watch stemming from another long Cartier tradition that dates from the '30s. Chiselled with bridges fabricated as Roman numerals branching out along a crescent-like arc for a striking visual, this patented form resulted in the creation of the unique movement, transposing the gear train into a 'peek-a-boo' arrangement that hints at the watch's mysterious mechanism without giving away the game. Perfectly cutting a balance between the hidden and the obvious, the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Hour is a horology conundrum you'll delightfully flip over and over in admiring contemplation.
The Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hour is available at Cartier boutiques.