The Cartier Mystery

Cartier has long been famous for a number of things, including fine jewelry, clocks and watches.  About 100 years ago, they introduced the “mystery clock,” which offered hands that appeared to float without any visible mechanism to drive them.

They’ve spawned a few imitators over the years (Jefferson made a number of “mystery clocks” in the 1950s) but Cartier holds the title of doing it first.

cartier mystery clockThey’ve dusted off the mystery clock technology and applied it to watches, which is likely a whole lot harder to do, given the relatively limited space available.

Their new Mysterious Day and Night watch offers a fascinating glimpse into a watch that takes a time-only timepiece and makes it far more interesting than time-only watches generally have a right to be.

Powered by an in-house Caliber 9982 MC, the watch offers a 40 mm gold case with sapphire crystal front and back.  The watch offers a completely different way of telling time from what you might expect from a watch, and particularly different from what you might expect from a company that takes their watches seriously.  The watch includes a 48 hour power reserve, though we doubt that this is the sort of watch that you’ll be wearing on a daily basis.

The minutes are displayed  via a hand that points to a numerical scale that ranges from 0-60.  These numbers are located between what would normally be the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions.  The hand moves from 0 to 60 and then, on the hour, snaps back to the zero position again.

The hours are displayed in a similar fashion, using a 12 hour scale that ranges from 6 to 12 to 6.  These are located between what would normally be the 9 o’clock position and the 3 o’clock position.  The hour indicator is a moving hand that appears to be either a sun against a white background or a moon (with stars) against a black background.

Every 12 hours, the semicircular window for the hour hand changes colors from white to black, indicating not only the time but whether it happens to be daytime or nighttime.

Granted, you could check that by looking out the window, but this is far more interesting.  Plus, even with the transparent case back, you can’t really see what’s driving that hour hand, hence the “mystery.”

The watch will be available in both rose gold and white gold, depending on your taste.  No word on production numbers or whether the watch will be limited at all, though the $63,000 suggested retail price tends to make production self-limiting.

People like nice watches, but the number of people who can afford a $63,000 watch is limited, and one must keep in mind that there are many competing timepieces for that kind money from watch collectors.

Still, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and watches that offer something unusual or something that’s a little “out there,” do tend to attract attention, particularly when they come from a company like Cartier, which already has a reputation for quality and prestige.

The Cartier Mysterious Day and Night is not yet for sale, but is expected to reach the market early next year.