His Cartier CLE (“CLE Cartier”) is probably the mysterious Hour watch my favorite new Cartier men’s watch model debuted here in Hong Kong watch the spectacle in 2015. This is actually a combination of three existing Cartier elements. First, there is also new for the 2015 Article de Cartier watch (hands-on here) to gather information. Secondly, it is done in-house Cartier 9981 MC movement which was first unveiled in 2013. In the last year, is in the form of presentation of Cartier special semi-hollow dial, we are almost starting to see a collection of watches from Cartier-end “Haute Horlogerie.”
Made from 158 parts, the 4.61mm thick 9981 MC movement operates at a modern 4Hz and has a power reserve of 48 hours. That is rather nice considering that the movement itself is actually a crescent. Much of the interior space is open, dedicated to the sapphire crystals that the hands for the hours and minutes are placed upon. This interior section of the watch is otherwise transparent, offering a view right through the dial to the other side. Some of the movement is visible through the dial and the rest can be admired through the sapphire crystal caseback window. I like this a lot, because compared to the standard Clé models with the 1847 MC movement, the Clé Mysterious Hour appears to have a slightly larger exhibition window.
It is very important to note that while the standard Cartier Clé watch (for men) is 40mm wide, the Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour is 41mm wide. I believe this small amount of extra size was necessary to accommodate the wider movement. The case is still pretty thin at just 11.25mm. Interestingly, from a case material perspective the Clé Mysterious Hour will be available (at launch) in 18k pink gold as well as 950 palladium. Similar to platinum, we really don’t see palladium watches that much. I doubt, however, that there will ever be a steel version of the Clé Mysterious Hour – but that would be awesome.
The off-centered “mystery” time display balances well with the rest of the dial which has blue-filled Cartier-style Roman numeral hour markers. I am typically not a fan of asymmetric watch dials but this is one of those exceptions that I find very visually interesting. While the pink gold version of the timepiece has a more immediate “wealthy feel,” I really like the colors of the palladium model and find it the most visually striking of the two new Clé Mysterious Hour models.
Cartier isn’t wasting any time at all fleshing out the Clé collection with an impressive assortment of both men’s and women’s models as well as mainstream and very high-end exclusive versions. In less than a year Cartier has released Clé models ranging from simple time-only automatics to Clé watches with flying tourbillons (for women). The Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour for men is an attractive higher-end Clé model with a lot of fashionable and collector’s appeal.