There are two sides to Cartier’s watchmaking business – like most other watch brands, we suppose – but unlike majority of the industry, the disparity between Cartier’s two sides are far wider than most. Talk Cartier on the street and the names thrown out are often the daily beater Cartiers – your Tanks, your Santos-es as well as the Calibre de Cartier diver. These are the timepieces people put on the wrists to get that nod from other fans of the brand. But to get the jaw-drop?

That’s where Cartier’s other side comes in.

The esoteric creations of the maison’s Fine Watchmaking department are some of the brand’s most important. They’ve been used as examples, time and time again, of the maison’s ability to create some of the most special movements and as with most years, Cartier chose to unveil two of these new creations for its pre-SIHH release ahead of the fair.

This is the Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Day & Night, a timepiece that combines Cartier’s love for the ‘mysterious’ function (where it seems like the hands or indicators of the watch are suspended in space) and an interesting day/night indicator. The hour indicators are kept to the top half of the watch, with a sun (or moon, depending on the hour), counts from six to six. The minutes are indicated below, with a retrograde minute hand counting down.

As with all things Cartier, God is in the details, with exceptional finishing paid to the dial. The guilloche lends a layer of depth, in contrast to the ‘hollowed out’ space that houses the sapphire discs on which the hour hand/day or night indicator lies. The watch will be available in both pink or white gold.

The other piece from this year’s pre-SIHH release is the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon, a skeleton version of a previously unveiled piece

It’s one thing to see the hour and minute hands floating like in other mysterious Cartiers, but the Mysterious Tourbillon will forever charm us, no matter the iteration it takes shape in. With the new skeletonised dial that doubles up as the hour indicators in the shape of Roman numerals, the watch plays with Cartier’s impeccable design sense, balancing once again the clear space that the mysterious sapphire discs allow and the intricacies of the skeletonisation.

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