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SIHH 2013: Cartier - Rotonde de Cartier Mystery

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This year at the Salon International de l'Haute Horlogerie, Cartier presented two new watchmaking complications that push the frontiers of the mysterious yet further, continuing the tradition of the Maison.

The first is the Rotonde de Cartier Mystery which mysteriously displays the hour and minutes with two hands that seem to float in space.  The second, the Rotonde de Cartier Double Mystery Tourbillon, focuses the attention on a mysterious double tourbillon whose floating cage performs a delicate and spellbinding dance.  

For the Mistery, the watchmakers of Cartier had to overcome all the constraints inherent in perfecting a display by hands whose connection to the movement is completely invisible. Thus, in order to limit friction between the sapphire crystal discs, it was decided that they should turn on fine pivots, like a wheel in a gear train, rather than in guide grooves, the traditional technique adopted for mysterious clocks. 
This new concept, which is combined with the wheel of the hour hand, avoids friction and limits the power consumption of the movement. With friction reduced to a minimum, the next task was to reduce the inertia of these large discs of sapphire crystal, weighing just 0.56 g and fashioned using DRIE technology (Deep Reactive Ion Etching). Thanks to this cutting-edge method, the metal parts can be made by three-dimensionally building up material, thus obtaining a gear wheel of extremely high concentric precision in one piece with the sapphire crystal disc. The geometry of the assembly is exact to the nearest micron.
By allocating 58% of the diameter of the movement to the sapphire crystal discs, Cartier has pushed back the limits of the mystery display and achieved record legibility.  

Timepieces with a mystery display have always been considered more fragile than other traditional complications, due to the presence of the sapphire crystal discs. The innovative design of the manualwinding calibre 9981 MC enabled it to pass all the certification tests, including the requirement that it should resist over 500 consecutive impacts, as well as being dropped on to a hard floor from a height of one metre. This movement with its spellbinding transparency, slimness and accuracy, with a balance oscillating at 4 Hz (28,000 beats per hour), has a power reserve of 48 hours. 
The 42 mm case is available in pink or white gold  and it is water resistant to 30 metres.

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