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SIHH 2016: Cartier - Rotonde de Cartier Astromysterieux

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In the last ten years, Cartier created forty-three new manufacture movements. An impressive result which clearly declares the ambition and skills of Cartier in fine watchmaking.

The new Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux with its Calibre 9462 MC - one of the novelties that the Maison has unveiled at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2016 - gives further evidence of it and takes the mastery of mystery watches to new heights.


The connection between Cartier and mystery watches goes back to the first years of the 20th century when Cartier presented the famous mystery clocks, so called because their platinum and diamond-set hands seem to float in the transparent body of the clock, without any apparent link to the movement.

These fascinating clocks were the fruit of the collaboration between Louis Cartier and an exceptional clockmaker, Maurice Couët (1885-1963), who became an exclusive supplier to Cartier in 1911.

Taking his inspiration from the clocks of the famous French illusionist Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805-1871), Couët developed the key concept: the hours and minutes hands are not directly linked to the movement, but are attached to two crystal discs fitted with serrated metal edges. Activated by the movement, these discs then turn the two hands.


The new Astromystérieux follows the creation of several Cartier mysterious wristwatches and achieves a new feat by combining the central rotation of an escapement with the axis of the watch’s hands. To obtain this exceptional result, the space dedicated to the movement’s non-visible gearings has been reduced to the strict minimum.

The architecture of the 9462 MC calibre is characterised by the elongated shape of the central mechanism representing the minutes hand. Comprising the escapement, balance wheel, gear train and barrel and with no apparent connection with the rest of the movement, this mysterious tourbillon completes a full turn of the dial in one hour.


This central mechanism acts in a similar way to the flying cage of a traditional tourbillon with the difference that it encloses not only the escapement and balance-wheel, but also the geartrain and barrel.

This cage is made up of a lower bridge in the form of a sapphire disc with a large diameter, together with two upper bridges, one of which holds the balance-wheel and the other the escapement, the geartrain and the barrel.


Three additional sapphire discs are required to make the timepiece work.

The hours disc is linked to the tourbillon disc and completes the time display.

Another disc, in conjunction with the crown, winds the movement. Under this patented system, the crown is only linked to the barrel when it is being wound. This solution was made possible by the development of a floating pinion between the crown’s winding shaft and the winding disc. When the crown is turned to wind the mechanism, the pinion takes up a position in which it forms a connection with the winding disc. When the crown is not being used, the pinion disengages. A special system has been developed so that the crown’s winding shaft and the barrel cannot be broken in the event of excessive winding.



The fourth disc, situated at the base of the movement, takes on a dual role. It provides the motion required to make the tourbillon cage turn when the watch is running normally, and, when the crown is pulled out, it engages the time-setting system.

A patented lever blocks the sapphire disc during the normal running of the watch. Held in a static position, it drives the tourbillon cage through the motor force of the escapement. When the crown is pulled out to the time-setting position, the lever frees the lower sapphire disc, thus also freeing the rotating tourbillon cage on which the minutes wheel is mounted and so allowing the time to be adjusted.



The innovative 9462 MC calibre beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour and guarantees a power reserve of approximately 50 hours.

The Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux watch comes in a 950/1000 palladium case with a diameter of 43.5 mm and a total thickness of 12 mm. It will be produced in a limited series of 100 numbered pieces.  at the price of US$ 181,000 each. cartier.com



- Check out more SIHH 2016 novelties here

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