The 2011 Cartier Masse Secrete Panthere Decor is delivered in a shining, rhodium-plated white gold case and features a nicely complicated movement with an inverted winding rotor. Although Cartier makes gigantic strides towards becoming a manufacturer of high-end watches, the French jeweler doesn’t want to forget about its roots. The brand successfully combines gorgeous exterior design with nicely complicated in-house movements.
The new Cartier Masse Secrete Panthere Decor, for example, comes powered with their new Caliber 9603 MC automatic movement. Designed and built in-house like most of their recent mechanisms for their “high horology” and “high jewelry” timepieces, the caliber features an inverted winding system with its panther-shaped oscillating weight moved from back to the front side.
Crafted from white gold and decorated with numerous diamonds, the rotor circles the dial like a squirrel inside a beautifully decorated wheel. While I can’t call this approach exactly “new”, it is still entertaining to look at. Figuratively speaking, it animates the otherwise absolutely sober and even grim dial.
While Perrelet places its outer rotor behind the hands, this watch has the panther figure transferred closer to the dial (perhaps, because the element is so thick.)
Since the rotor will almost always be positioned in the lower part of the dial (at least, when you will be checking time in an upright position,) the diamonds-set beast may become a constant source of irritation because it will make difficult reading time when the hour and minute hands will be below the 3 o’clock and 9 hours. However, if you plan to get this watch purely as a jewelry item, which it is, then the lack of legibility shouldn’t be a problem.
According to Cartier, the timekeeper’s 42 mm case is crafted from 18-karat rhodium-plated white gold (I don’t know why they keep calling it “rhodiumised” in their press releases: to my knowledge, there is no such word in English.)
Thanks to the thin layer of rhodium that covers the case, as well as the ardillon buckle, which is, too, made from white gold, the parts get their especially shiny look, which makes the watch look as expensive as if it was made from platinum.
Of course, the plating tends to wear out, especially if you wear the piece often; however, it is not a problem since you can restore plating in almost any serious jewelry repair shop.
By the way, as far as I understand, the watch is supposed to complement their other jewelry items from the Panthere series.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: n/a
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Cartier Masse Secrete Panthere Decor specification
Movement: Automatic, Cartier Caliber 9603 MC, in-house, inverted rotor, 204 components, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 31
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: White gold oscillating weight, shaped like a panther and set with round diamonds
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case: 18-karat white gold, set with diamonds
Crown: Beaded, set with a diamond
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 13.00 mm
Hands: 18-karat White gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black semi-matte alligator skin with ardillon buckle in 18K rhodium-plated white gold set with round diamonds
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective