The Cartier suite at this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva was refreshingly pared down compared to previous years, but no less glamorous. The reimagined Panthère De Cartier collection from the ’80s both completed and complemented the largely bejeweled feline theme on display, with its more accessible pieces updated in various metals and diamond pavé options. If the jewellery-first, timepiece-second styling of the Panthère with its sensuous bracelet appeals to women channelling their inner kitty, then our featured Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon is something for a mysterious dark knight.

Cartier has made mystery clocks for nearly 100 years, with the expertise that went into its mantle clocks over time now found in miniature in the Rotonde collection. The Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious was unveiled four years ago, with its radiating Roman numerals obscuring inner workings that kept the floating hands of the transparent dial ticking. Through the new Skeleton Mysterious Hour with its cut-out bridge, the maison reveals even more of the magic, but not necessarily all of its secrets.

The showstopper, however, is the Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon. There is no point arguing the case for such a watch. If it were just about telling time, who needs one when we’re surrounded with digital devices that do a far more accurate job? For those who do care, it’s about a deeper fascination with these mysterious workings, the most miniature of mechanics and the sheer brilliance of it all. This is a treat for any collector, who is bound to be enchanted by both the decorative shapes created by this complicated feat and its inner bits, which contribute to the overall aesthetics of this unusual piece.

This Poinçon de Genève-certified watch features Cartier’s in-house calibre 9407 MC movement with minute repeater, considered one of the most difficult complications for any watchmaker. But the most charming aspect is its flying tourbillon. It does a full rotation in 60 seconds, seemingly suspended in mid-air, with the sapphire disc that supports the tourbillon in turn rotating every five minutes to complete the illusion.


FACT BOX

Name: Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon Calibre 9407 MCCase: titaniumDimensions: 45mmCrown: beaded, set with a sapphire cabochonStrap: black alligator skin with 18-carat white gold folding buckleCrystal and case back: sapphireThickness: 11.15mmWater-resistance: 3 bar (~30m)Numbered limited series: 50 piecesPower reserve: 3.5 days minimumPrice: On requestcartier.com or 011 666 2800

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