Tudor Introduces the Black Bay Pro

Exploring new ground with a smaller GMT.

Tudor finally introduces a more compact GMT watch with the Black Bay Pro, which is 39 mm and equipped with a fixed bezel.

With slightly retro styling, the Black Bay Pro nonetheless has all the features that characterise Tudor, including a proprietary movement with a silicon hairspring as well as the newly-developed T-Fit micro-adjustment clasp.

Initial thoughts

The Black Bay Pro is what I have been hoping for, a more compact Tudor GMT. It has a 39 mm case just like the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, the perfect size in my estimation. And it has a true GMT function thanks to the MT5652 inside.

It also sports a useful upgrade: the T-Fit clasp that allows for micro-adjustment on the fly, giving this a feature usually found on pricier watches.

The aesthetic certainly beings to mind the Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655, which is a good thing (and it was probably designed with a knowing wink).

Arguably the only downside is the case thickness. At 14.6 mm high the watch is thick, though not excessively so. It does not feel ungainly on the wrist, although the flat, vertical case sides do accentuate the height.

Another only potential downside is the fixed bezel, which means the watch cannot track the third time zone that’s possible on the standard GMT. It’s not a dealbreaker for me since the third time zone functionality is something I never use on a GMT watch.

Still, the Black Bay Pro is an impressive value proposition all things considered, and certainly one of the best buys of the fair.

Fixed and brushed

The Black Bay Pro has a conventional Black Bay dial with “snowflake” hands, including a “snowflake” GMT hand in yellow. And like several other Tudor watches, the luminous hands and markers have a beige tone.

But the “lume” is a first for Tudor – the hour markers are actually pieces of ceramic impregnated with Super-Luminova applied to the dial. As a result, they lack the borders traditionally found on the hour markers of Tudor dials.

The 39 mm steel case has a fixed bezel that’s been engraved and filled with black lacquer to create the 24-hour second time zone scale. This works in tandem with the yellow hand to indicate two time zones, home and local times.

The Black Bay Pro is powered by the MT5652, which is made by Kenissi, like Tudor’s other proprietary movements. It has a silicon hairspring and 70-hour power reserve.

Lastly, the watch is also equipped with a T-Fit clasp. First found on last year’s Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze, the T-Fit clasp has a micro-adjustment mechanism that allows an adjustment of up to 8 mm either way.

Key facts and price

Tudor Black Bay Pro
Ref. 79470

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 14.6 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 200 m

Movement: Cal. MT5652
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and second time zone
: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Bronze bracelet, and additional fabric strap

Availability: At Tudor retailers
Price: CHF3,500 on strap, CHF3,800 on bracelet

For more, visit Tudorwatch.com.


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A. Lange & Söhne Introduces the Odysseus Titanium

Unsurprising but a first for the brand.

Debuted three years ago, the Odysseus is still a one-model collection with the Datomatic, though versions in different metals are steadily added to the family.

And the latest is the most intriguing to date, because the Odysseus is entirely clad in titanium, marking a first for the German watchmaker.

Initial thoughts

The expansion rate of the Odysseus collection is surprisingly slow given most of its peers have quickly added complicated models such as a chronograph rather soon.

But thankfully the Odysseus titanium is an interesting addition, despite being simply the result of a change in the material.

It is indeed the material that distinguishes the latest, not just from its counterparts but also from the competitors. A natural choice for sports watches, titanium is nevertheless uncommon amongst luxury sports watches, especially when combined with Lange’s peerless finishing.

And Lange certainly knows it’s special, because it is the first limited-edition Odysseus, ever. It’s also the priciest, costing about 40% more than the white gold model, which is exorbitant to say the least – and slightly opportunistic – but demand will doubtlessly outstrip supply.

Titanium and more

While the use of titanium is intruiguing, that alone is certainly not enough to make for a compelling Odysseus, just because Lange has set a high bar for watchmaking.

And it doesn’t disappoint. On top of being end-to-end titanium, the finishing on the case and bracelet is also entirely different. All the brushed has been replaced with a micro-blasted finish, which looks at home with the model, since the Odysseus is a low-key sports watch.

Also new to the model is the greyish light blue dial, which is more understated the the original blue but more captivating than the grey, which I find a bit bland.

The movement is still the same L155.1 Datomatic, which is different form the brand’s other offerings in a having a full balance bridge as well as a higher frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz).

It, however, retains the signature three-quarter plate, though personally I am not a fan when that’s coupled with a winding rotor, which leaves the movement looking a bit bland, at least in comparison with the brand’s earlier offering with a micro-rotor.

Key facts and price

Lange Odysseus Datomatic Titanium
Ref. 363.117

Diameter: 40.5 mm
Height: 11.1 mm
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 120 m

Movement: L155.1
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Matching bracelet

Limited edition: 250 pieces
Availability: At A. Lange & Söhne retailers and boutiques
Price: €55,000 including 19% VAT, or 80,900 Singapore dollars

For more, visit alange-soehne.com.


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Vacheron Constantin Introduces the Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph “Salmon”

A new lease of life.

Vacheron Constantin opens its doors at Watches & Wonders 2022 with diversity of timepieces ranging from the sporty to artisanal, but its most classical offering is the Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in a fashionable “salmon”.

With the model having been launched over a decade ago and then gently upgraded in 2016, the new version is merely a facelift. But still it’s noteworthy for combining a platinum case with a “salmon” dial, both currently desirable attributes, which should help make this a strong seller (which also explains why it will only be available at boutiques).

Initial thoughts

The highlight of the new Traditionnelle is the dial – the only element that’s different compared to the original launched six years ago. Though less intriguing because it’s popular and common today, the new dial is nevertheless a good move that gives the model a new lease of life.

While the rest of the watch apart from the dial isn’t new, it does have several features that make it stand out, most obviously the large, 43 mm case with a flat, wide bezel, a bold look for a relatively classical watch.

While the large diameter does improve the legibility of the complex dial, it will not appeal to traditionalists who favour smaller cases.

But the movement will certainly appeal to traditionalists. The cal. 1142 QP, which is based on the Lemania 2310, was long the movement of choice in a variety of old-school classics such as the Patek Philippe ref. 5970. Vacheron Constantin remains one of the few brands to rely on the calibre, since most of its peers now have their in-house equivalents.

Slightly upgraded Lemania

The cal. 1142 QP is complicated movement executed in a straightforward manner with a lever-based perpetual calendar module sitting on the Lemania-derived base. That’s unsurprising since the construction of both the base movement and perpetual module are several decades old.

In typical Vacheron Constantin fashion, the movement is meticulously finished with rounded, polished anglage along the edges of the bridges as well as steel levers that even incorporate a few inward angles. And there are a few brand-specific accents as well, including the column wheel topped by a relief Maltese cross, the brand’s logo.

Because the moon phase wheel completes a revolution every 59 days, there are two moons “faces” on the same disc. Interestingly, the hand-engraved faces are rendered slightly differently, a subtlety that will be apparent only to the owner

The rest of the watch is quintessential Traditionnelle, which means a flat and wide case with a fluted case back rim that’s one of the visual flourishes on the relatively simple case.

The dial is easily recognisable as a Traditionnelle with its slim, applied markers as well as the sunken railroad tracks for the registers. Being finished differently, the registers give the dial texture and depth, but they appear to be clustered uncomfortably around the centre of the dial, a consequence of the oversized case relative to the movement diameter.

Key Facts and Price

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
Ref. 5000T/000P-B975

Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 12.94 mm
Material: Platinum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance:
 30 m

Movement: Cal. 1142 QP
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, perpetual calendar, and chronograph
Winding: Manual
21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve:
 48 hours

Strap: Alligator with platinum folding clasp

Limited edition: No
Only at boutiques
Price: Unavailable at press time

For more, visit vacheronconstantin.com


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A. Lange & Söhne Introduces the Richard Lange Minute Repeater

A classical chimer.

A. Lange & Söhne first unveiled their first minute repeater in 2013, in the form of the Grand Complication. It took two more years for the unveiling of a simpler – yet still complex – model in the form of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater.

Finally, seven years later, Lange unveils the Richard Lange Minute Repeater – a no-frills, classical three-hander with the coveted chiming feature.

Initial Impressions

Surprisingly slim and impressive in terms of acoustics, the Richard Lange Minute Repeater feels like a conservative release from the brand, but one that is much needed in the brand’s lineup – especially for those looking for a classically-styled minute repeater compared to the Zeitwerk.

At first glance, it feels like an odd watch relative to the rest of Lange’s catalogue – we’ve taken for granted that Lange usually designs movement that are distinctively unique, especially for complications. In fact, the minute repeater mechanism and overall layout feel like a traditional Swiss calibre, albeit one with a German aesthetic.

This can be forgiven as there’s only so many ways to design a minute repeater in a classic three-hander. And the brand still innovates – the repeater has practical high-end features compared to most of its peers, such as safety mechanisms and eliminating the pauses between the hour and minute strike.

But arguably the best quality of the watch is its tactile feel. It feels and sounds good on the wrist – the case is unusually thin for a Lange complication, while the chimes are harmonious and loud.

This all comes at a cost. At €409,000, it is only slightly cheaper than the Zeitwerk minute repeater, which is more architecturally unique and a strong brand icon. But within the rarefied realm of the complication, relative cost is less of a factor to the potential owners – now potential owners have the choice of classical or contemporary design.

German Svelte

The overall aesthetics of the Richard Lange Minute Repeater is almost identical to the original Richard Lange Pour Le Merite – both have identical dial layouts as three-handed watches with Roman numerals. Both have three-part dials made of fired enamel that are soldered together.

All of the print on the dial is also fired enamel. That includes the railroad minute track with a single red hashmark at 12 o’clock.

The Minute Repeater has compact dimensions considering the complication – only 39 mm wide and 9.7 mm thick, which is elegantly svelte. That makes it smaller than the Richard Lange Pour Le Merite, which is 1.5 mm wider and 1.0 mm thicker.

The case diameter doesn’t include the minute repeater lever, which sits on the left flank of the case as with most traditional minute repeaters. Conveniently, the watch has a water resistance of 20 m, unlike some other slide-operated minute repeaters.

Swiss style and German innovation

While the external aesthetics are familiar, the movement inside is entirely new. The cal. L122.1 is Lange’s first pure-play minute repeater movement that goes without other accompanying complications.

The calibre number indicates the development history of the movement – the first two digits reveal development of the movement started in 2012, while the last digit indicates that this is the second movement begun in the same year (the first being the L121, which is the base movement of the latest-generation Lange 1).

While not normally visible, stock photos reveal the minute repeater mechanism underneath the dial. At a glance, the mechanism appears familiar – reminiscent of a Swiss minute repeater, which is a little odd coming from a German brand that prides on unusual movement configurations. That said, there are only so many ways a traditional three-hander minute repeater can be constructed.

Still, a closer examination reveals it is a Lange calibre. In its usual fashion, the brand incorporated some useful upgrades.

Most notably, there is a pause-eliminating feature achieved via a modified configuration of the sampling racks. In contrast, traditional repeaters would have a long pause between the hour and minute strikes when there are no quarters to be sounded, in other words during the first 14 minutes after the top of the hour.

An especially useful feature is the safety mechanism of the keyless works. When the crown is pulled out, the repeater cannot be activated – preventing damage to the snail cams and racks that can happened with an adjustment of the time while the repeater is in action.

Conversely, the safety mechanism ensures the crown cannot be pulled out when the repeater is in action. These features are incorporated via a set of interlocking levers, running along 12 o’clock of the movement.

The safety mechanism

Like most Lange watches, the movement is visible via a display case back. The base is of a traditional minute repeater construction – the going train for timekeeping occupies half of the movement, with a large barrel supplying 72 hours of power reserve. The other half of the movement is dedicated to the repeater hammers, secondary barrel for the repeater, and governor.

Aesthetically, the movement is dressed up in typical Lange fashion – the bridges are German silver decorated striping and enhanced with gold chatons for the jewel bearings. And it features a hand-engraved balance cock holding the free-sprung balance wheel, along with a steel swan’s neck for adjusting beat error.


Key facts and price

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater
Ref. 606.079F

Diameter: 39.0 mm
Height: 9.7 mm
Material: Platinum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 20 m

Movement: L122.1
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and minute repeater
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand wind
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Crocodile with deployant

Limited edition: 50 pieces

Availability: At A. Lange & Söhne boutiques only
Price: €409,000 including 19% VAT

For more, visit alange-soehne.com.



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Panerai Introduces the Luminor Goldtech Calendario Perpetuo PAM01269

Enhancing the high complications roster.

Continuing its evolution from military watchmaker to one with a broader and civilian repertoire, Panerai introduces the Luminor Goldtech Calendario Perpetuo PAM01269.

A variant of the minimalist Luminor perpetual calendar first unveiled last year, the PAM1269 has a dial made of tinted sapphire that reveals the concentric calendar discs underneath. And like many recent Panerai limited editions, the PAM 1269 is accompanied by an “experience”, in this case a trip to Florence (plus an NFT).

The reverse of the watch includes the year and month displays, along with the power reserve indicator

Initial thoughts

If I were to just skim through the new watch releases of the year, I would have missed this Panerai because at a distance, it looks like any other Panerai. But it is more than that.

Apart from being just a smartly conceived perpetual calendar, the watch includes an all-expenses-paid trip to Florence curated by Panerai. Given Panerai’s historical connections to Florence and its status as a leading luxury watchmaker, I imagine the trip would be filled with experiences impossible to obtain otherwise.

The dial is open-worked yet highly legible

Putting the trip aside, the watch itself is a marvel of clarity – a lot of information is displayed on the front and back in a manner as minimal as possible. The comprehensive display includes a second time zone and four-digit year indicator.

Notably, the indicators on the front are also linear – everything is contained on a horizontal axis from nine to three o’clock, giving it a clean, balanced aesthetic.

The PAM1269 costs twice as much as last year’s perpetual calendar in gold, a disparity that’s primarily due to the Florence trip, although the fact that last year’s model sold out easily no doubt contributed to the higher price.

Concentric rings

The sapphire dial displays the inner workings of the calendar, revealing the twin discs for the day and date display that are framed in gold. All of the hour markers are applied, and naturally executed in the traditional Panerai style with Arabic numerals at the quarters and batons in between.

The seconds register at nine has a frosted, matte finish that contrasts against the shiny sapphire dial

Retaining the trademark Luminor form of a round bezel on a square case with a crown locking mechanism, the 44 mm case is Goldtech, an 18k gold alloy that includes platinum. 

Within is the automatic P.4100 that runs on energy stored in the two barrels wound by a 22k micro-rotor. The movement beats at 4 Hz and has a three-day power reserve.

The three-quarter plate of the movement includes displays for the month, year, leap year, and power reserve, which helps explain the concise dial on the front.

Each owner of the 33 examples of the PAM1269 will be invited to visit Florence and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. It will be a trip through the brand’s heritage – Panerai was founded in the city – and also an immersive experience of the city’s food, culture, and history.

The trip will include an NFT that includes information about the trip as well as other perks after the trip.

Key Facts and Prices

Panerai Luminor Goldtech Calendario Perpetuo
Ref. PAM01269

Diameter: 44 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: 18k gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: P.4100
Functions: Hours, minutes, zero-reset hack seconds, GMT, day-night indicator, and perpetual calendar
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: Three days

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Limited edition: 33 pieces, each including a trip to Florence and associated NFT
Availability: Only at Panerai boutiques
Price: €78,000 including taxes

For more information, visit panerai.com.


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Cartier Introduces the Santos-Dumont with a Lacquered Case

A strikingly different take on a classic.

While Cartier has unveiled fancier and more complex watches at W&W 2022, one of its standout new launches is amongst the more affordable, at least in steel. The Santos-Dumont Large Model in lacquer is unusual and interesting; very different from any recent Cartier yet clearly a product of the Parisian jeweller.

Available in steel, gold, or platinum, the new Santos-Dumont has its case and bezel finished with coloured lacquer, while the dial has a concentric cube pattern. Though the lacquered case is inspired by a vintage Santos with a similar decoration, it is unique amongst Cartier’s current line up.

Initial thoughts

The new Santos-Dumont is inspired by a 1920s watch with a lacquer bezel, giving it an unsurprising vintage vibe, yet it is entirely original. With its square bezel and Roman numerals, it is clearly a Cartier Santos, but it stands apart from its more mundane counterparts.

I like everything about it, though I would have preferred it in the Extra-Large size, rather than the Large as it is now.

Of the three versions, the steel model has the strongest vintage vibes with its black lacquer. The platinum model is striking and almost over the top in its colour, while the rose gold version lacks contrast.

In steel with black lacquer

While the platinum and gold versions are limited edition – as would be expected for such an unusual watch – the steel version is regular production, which is both unexpected and welcome news.

And the watch is fairly priced in all its variants, starting at about US$10,000 in steel. That makes it accessible, both in terms of availability and cost.

Lacquered decoration

Based on the Santos-Dumont launched in 2020, the new model is identical in size and shape. The lacquer decoration is an aesthetic addition that changes nothing fundamental.

In fact, the case starts out as a standard Santos-Dumont case before being engraved with shallow recesses to accommodate a thin layer of lacquer. After the recesses are filled with lacquer and dried, the case is then polished, leaving the lacquer smooth and flush with the case surface.

Rose gold with beige lacquer

Inside is the 430 MC, the same movement found in the standard Santos-Dumont. It’s actually a Piaget cal. 430P, an ultra-thin, hand-wind movement with a short 38-hour power reserve that’s a result of its small diameter and slimness.

Platinum and burgundy

Key Facts and Price

Cartier Santos-Dumont Large Model Lacquered Case
Ref. CRWSSA0046 (steel, black lacquer)
Ref. CRWGSA0054 (rose gold, beige lacquer)
Ref. CRWGSA0053 (platinum, burgundy lacquer)

Diameter: 43.5 mm by 31.4 mm
Height: 7.3 mm
Material: Steel, 18k rose gold, or platinum
Water resistance: 30 m
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: 430 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Limited edition: 150 pieces in platinum, 250 pieces in rose gold; steel model is regular production
At Cartier boutiques and retailers

For more, visit Cartier.com


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Cartier Introduces the Cartier Privé Tank Chinoise

More Tank-esque, and also skeletonised.

After having reimagined signature models like the Tank Cintree and Tank Asymetrique, Cartier now turns it attention to something less well known. The Cartier Privé Tank Chinoise arrives just in time for the 100th anniversary of the original Tank Chinoise, which was inspired by traditional Chinese architecture.

Unlike past Cartier Privé models that adhered closely to earlier versions of the model, the new watch takes more liberty in reimagining the Tank Chinoise, which was last available in 2004 as part of the Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP).

A 1930 Tank Chinoise of the type that inspired the 2004 CPCP version

Initial thoughts

For fans of the 2004 Tank Chinoise, which was very square yet made up of rounded edges and lines, the new model will be jarringly different with its angular form.

Yet for anyone who appreciates a traditional Tank, the new Chinoise is more like a Tank than any past version of the design.

I like the redesigned case. Where I would have wished for something different is the dial, which repeats the same elements found in past Cartier Privé models; a bolder dial would have gone better with the restyled case.

However, Cartier certainly went all out with the skeleton version, which is striking and original. It comes close to being too much with its Chinese-inspired motifs, but not quite, so it still looks and feels tasteful.


The new Tank Chinoise is akin to a Tank Allongée – it’s an elongated version of the earlier CPCP Tank Chinoise. This gives it proportions that are in line with most Tank watches, which are longer than they are wide. In contrast, the CPCP Tank Chinoise of 2004 was a squarish watch, and its dial was a perfect square.

The Tank-like aesthetic of the new Chinoise continues with the case details. The case has steps on each brancard, allowing for contrasting brushed and polished surfaces. Both horizontal bands, however, are rounded and polished.

The Tank Chinoise is powered by the hand-wind 430 MC, which is a Piaget cal. 430P.

And as is typical for the Cartier Privé, the Tank Chinoise will be available in two colours of gold as well as platinum. Each version has a slightly different dial colour to complement the case metal, though all three share the same design.

From left: Yellow gold, rose gold, and platinum

Lacquered skeleton

The skeletonised version of the Tank Chinoise is almost identically sized, but it is certainly more striking. The colours and complexity of the skeleton version diminish the angularity and edges of the case, giving the watch a very different feel, despite the case being largely unchanged.

The skeleton utilises a variant of Cartier’s well-known hand-wind skeleton movement, the 9627 MC. But instead of Roman numerals as is the norm for Cartier’s skeleton movements, the bridges and base plate have been open-worked to form a Chinese-inspired geometric pattern, one similar to those found on ancient textiles.

But most unusual is the base plate that doubles as the dial – it’s been filled with lacquer. While Cartier has used lacquer to decorate cases in the past, the lacquered bridges are a first.

There will be three versions of the Tank Chinoise Skeleton – all will be limited editions – starting with a base model in yellow gold with a lacquered movement along with lacquered bands on the case.

Another is platinum with a blue and red lacquered movement, while the final version is the platinum model but with diamonds on the case.

Key Facts and Price

Cartier Privé Tank Chinoise
Ref. CRWGTA0088 (yellow gold)
Ref. CRWGTA0075 (rose gold)
Ref. CRWGTA0074 (platinum)

Diameter: 39.49 mm by 29.2 mm
Height: 6.09 mm
Material: 18k yellow or rose gold, or platinum
Water resistance: 30 m
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: 430 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Limited edition: 150 pieces in each metal
At Cartier boutiques and retailers
Yellow or rose gold – US$28,500
Platinum – US$32,000 Singapore dollars

Cartier Privé Tank Chinoise Skeleton
Ref. CRWHTA0016 (yellow gold)
Ref. CRWHTA0015 (platinum)
Ref. CRHPI01507 (platinum with diamonds)

Diameter: 39.5 mm by 29.2 mm
Height: 7.7 mm
Material: 18k yellow gold, or platinum
Water resistance: 30 m
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: 9627 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Limited edition: 100 pieces each in yellow gold and platinum, 20 pieces in platinum set with diamonds
At Cartier boutiques and retailers
Yellow gold – US$66,000
Platinum – US$72,000
Platinum with diamonds – US$94,000

For more, visit Cartier.com


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Cartier Introduces the Masse Mystérieuse

A fascinating oscillating movement.

Cartier’s wide-ranging new launches at Watches & Wonders 2022 naturally encompasses new takes on its historical designs, including the Tank Chinoise and lacquered Santos-Dumont. But its most extraordinary creation stands apart from the brand’s contemporary timepieces.

The Masse Mystérieuse is essentially a floating movement within an oscillating weight. As the weight oscillates around the central axis of the dial, it winds the mainspring contained within itself.

Initial thoughts

Cartier abandoned its once ambitious push into highly complicated watches when its current chief executive Cyrille Vigneron took charge in 2016. Mr Vigneron has stated publicly on several occasions that Cartier should not stray from its historical strength in simple, elegant watches in unusual forms. So the Masse Mystérieuse is definitely atypical, but that doesn’t take away from its fascinating mechanics.

The complexity and creativity of its mechanics bring to mind an earlier era of Cartier watchmaking. While Cartier states that the Masse Mystérieuse was eight years in the making, it doesn’t mention who was responsible for the idea.

It goes without saying that is was Carole Forestier-Kasapi, the former head of development at Cartier’s manufacture who now has the same role at TAG Heuer. The Masse Mystérieuse is instantly recognisable as her work, appearing to be evolved from the Astrotourbillon.

Ingenious as it is, the Masse Mystérieuse is also similar to Ms Forestier-Kasapi’s past creations in being very large – it’s almost 44 mm in diameter – and also steeply priced, with a price tag of almost US$300,000. Still, the Masse Mystérieuse is one of the most intriguing watches of Watches & Wonders 2022.

A floating mystery

Inspired by Cartier’s historical mystery clocks, the Masse Mystérieuse indicates the time conventionally. A pair of hands in the centre of the dial tell the time as on a conventional watch.

But right below the hands is the rotor that winds the automatic 9801 MC movement – which is itself contained within the rotor. As the rotor oscillates, it winds the mainspring, with a differential gear ensuring that the hands stay in place.

The unusual set up also serves to better timekeeping. Because the balance is sits within the rotor, it will almost always be in the same upright position when the watch is not lying flat on its face or back. This minimises gravity-induced errors in its rate, while also allowing the watch to be regulated in fewer positions.

The rotor casing has been open worked to reveal the movement within, exposing the balance wheel and mainspring at each corner of the rotor, with the going train in between. Despite the compact movement and tiny mainspring, the 9801 MC still manages a respectable 42-hour power reserve.

But as with many of Cartier’s past complicated watches, the Masse Mystérieuse is a big watch. The platinum case is 43.5 mm in diameter and 12.64 mm high, giving it the dimensions of a large sports chronograph.

Key Facts and Price

Cartier Masse Mystérieuse
Ref. WHRO0078

Diameter: 43.5 mm
Height: 12.64 mm
Material: Platinum
Water resistance: 30 m
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: 9801 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Alligator with folding clasp

Limited edition: 30 pieces, high-jewellery versions set with diamonds also available 
At Cartier boutiques and retailers
Price: €250,000

For more, visit Cartier.com


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