Cartier Expands Its Fine Watchmaking Universe

Cartier Expands Its Fine Watchmaking Universe

February 14, 2018

Refinement and excess are the creative themes for Cartier Fine Watchmaking this year. The solid structure of the Skeleton movement, tangible and powerful, contrasts with the enigma of the mysterious movement, ethereal and discreet.

Transparency and depth intensify the impact of these signature movements at the intersection of craftsmanship techniques.

The Mysterious movement, an icon of Cartier Fine Watchmaking, was born in 1912 of a collaboration between Louis Cartier and watchmaker Maurice Coüet, whose first mystery clock, known as Model A, was inspired by the clocks of the famous illusionist and father of modern magic, Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin.

This year Cartier honors the historic movement in two new watchmaking interpretations: A Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon, and for the very first time, a Mysterious Day & Night movement.

The Santos Skeleton watch introduces solid gold and solid steel bracelets with self-fitting links for the first time in Cartier Fine Watchmaking.


  • The mysterious movement and skeleton movement come together in the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Double Tourbillon watch.
  • The Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Day & Night watch with retrograde minutes introduces a day/night complication to the mysterious movement.
  • The Santos de Cartier watch lends its new ergonomic design to the iconic skeleton movement patented by Cartier.

These stylish timepieces are imbued with the excellence of Cartier watchmaking craftsmanship.

Rotonde De Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon: The Mysterious Double Tourbillon movement created at the La Chaux-de-Fonds manufacture in 2013 represents a milestone in Cartier watchmaking history: the tourbillon appears to be suspended in mid-air with no connection to the rest of the movement.

As a double flying tourbillon, it effects a complete rotation in 60 seconds, while the tourbillon cage performs a second rotation in which each round takes five minutes.

This balancing act is all the more formidable in view of the finely constructed case and painstaking craftsmanship.

All of the components are hand-finished: the bridges chamfered, flanks drawn and screw heads polished.

This year’s addition of skeletonized bridges in the shape of Roman numerals enhances the lightness and power of the watch.

The magic of the mysterious is encased in the transparency of the skeleton.

The curves of the watch and mysterious movement are complemented by the stark geometric openwork architecture of the skeletonized bridges.

Rotonde De Cartier Mysterious Day & Night: The Rotonde de Cartier watch lends its generous dial to two historic Cartier complications: the mysterious movement and the day/night indicator.

These two complications are part of Cartier’s watchmaking heritage. Both dating from 1912, the mysterious movement was created for the Model A mystery clock, while the day/night movement was part of the Comet clock (also known as the Planet clock).

Cartier now brings these two complications together for the first time in Fine Watchmaking: the sun, driven from left to right by the mysterious movement, appears to levitate in the top half of the dial, before handing over to the moon.

The sun and moon, two stylized heavenly bodies, in turn indicate the hours of the day and night when the retrograde minutes are displayed in the bottom half of the dial.

This airborne reading of the time is magnified by the juxtaposition of the radiating guilloché and satin-brushed sunray finish on the dial.

Santos De Cartier Skeleton: The Santos de Cartier watch is part of Cartier’s stylistic heritage. Since its creation in 1904 the innovative timepiece has kept up with the spirit of the age as the design has been updated with the passing decades. The latest version features self-fitting interchangeable straps.

Available in steel, gold, calfskin or alligator skin, all versions are interchangeable thanks to the Cartier QuickSwitch system (patent pending) hidden under the strap, where the invisible mechanism blends into the structure of the case. To activate the system the wearer simply presses the mechanism.

Another cutting-edge feature is the SmartLink self-fitting technology (patent pending) which adjusts the length of the metal bracelet to the nearest link without the use of a tool.

At the touch of a button located on each SmartLink, the attachment bar is unlatched and one of the brushed metal links with screws can be added or removed from the Santos de Cartier watch.

Patented Skeleton: The tradition of skeleton watches at the maison dates back to the 1930s. But the skeleton acquired the status of a Cartier signature more recently, with the creation of the Santos 100 Skeleton in 2009, which inaugurated the Roman numeral architecture. This complication of the Maison evolves today with the new Santos de Cartier watch.

The instantly recognizable timepiece is protected by a patent that confirms Cartier’s position as the only watchmaker to create a skeleton movement with bridges that help to tell the time.