• Press release
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  • Geneva
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  • For immediate release
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  • 22 April 2020

RELEASE | Christie's Geneva Presents 101 Cartier Clocks

Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues - 1 July 2020

Geneva – Christie’s Geneva will be presenting a unique private collection of 101 Cartier Clocks spanning more than 80 years of clockmaking at Cartier. This collection was created over a period of 30 years, with every clock receiving their rightful place in this once in a lifetime collection. The pre-sale estimate for the entire collection is CHF 3.9 million to CHF 5.7 million, with individual estimates starting at CHF 8,000. The auction will take place on 1 July at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the relationship between Louis Cartier and master clockmaker Maurice Coüet helped to cement Cartier’s reputation as the leading manufacturer of jewelled objects. Coüet was inspired by the magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin — considered by many as the father of modern conjuring — and incorporated the most technologically advanced mechanisms into his designs, creating works that continue to fascinate and entertain today.

Best known for his pendules mystérieuses, or ‘Mystery’ clocks, with their mechanisms hidden in the frame, Coüet astonished the industry with his use of illusion. In 1973 the Maison acquired one of these marvelous clocks from the art market, a pioneering move which gave birth to what would become known as the Cartier Collection. Today the Collection is comprised of more than 1,600 pieces of jewellery, watches, clocks, and precious objects, and gives the world’s most renowned museums the opportunity to celebrate Cartier creations by featuring them in major exhibitions.

The first planet clocks were made in 1912, constituting round or angular cases with two superimposed dials. The lower dials would usually be crafted from light or dark blue enamel and constantly rotate to represent a day or night sky. Sometimes, a crescent moon in diamonds served as an indicator to the hours at night. The other model that year featured a central disc with a comet that rotated within the dial, while the minutes were read off a pointer that circled along a concentric ring. The auction will offer two such examples lot 11 a semi-mystery clock, circa 1920 (estimate CHF70,000-100,000/US$75,000-110,000) and lot 42 a planet semi-mystery clock, circa 1918, maker Maurice Coüet (estimate: CHF120,000-180,000 US$130,000-190,000). Another very nice example states the obvious: “I do not count the hours, if they are not brilliant”, made in 1913 (estimate: 140,000-200,000).

Notes to Editors
Christie’s Geneva Spring Auction Week will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. The viewing opens on 27 June and will run until 30 June, daily from 10.00am to 6.00pm. The Magnificent Jewels auction will take place on 1st of July in three sessions 10.00am, 2.00pm and 6.00pm and the clocks will be sold at the beginning of the 2.00pm session.

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

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