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AN EXQUISITE ART DÉCO ROCK CRYSTAL, DIAMOND AND NEPHRITE JADE "MODEL A" MYSTERY CLOCK, BY CARTIER
On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT wil… Read more THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN ROYAL HOUSE
AN EXQUISITE ART DÉCO ROCK CRYSTAL, DIAMOND AND NEPHRITE JADE "MODEL A" MYSTERY CLOCK, BY CARTIER

Details
AN EXQUISITE ART DÉCO ROCK CRYSTAL, DIAMOND AND NEPHRITE JADE "MODEL A" MYSTERY CLOCK, BY CARTIER
The carved rock crystal frame with gold beadwork rim to the base enclosing a white enamel and rose-cut diamond chapter ring with gold Roman numerals and diamond-set arrowed hands, one enhanced with a star, within a white enamel and gold laurel wreath rectangular frame, to a rectangular nephrite plinth with collet-set cabochon sapphire accents to each corner, the front bearing the initial ‘O’ for the Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia surmounted by a crown motif set throughout with rose-cut diamonds, with winding and setting key, circa 1915, 12.8x8.4x5.1 cm, in red leather Cartier fitted case
Signed Cartier Paris
Provenance
Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia (1851-1926), consort to King George I of Greece
Literature
Nadelhoffer, H., Cartier Jewelers Extraordinaire, Thames & Hudson 1984, p. 251
Musée du Petit Palais, The Art of Cartier October 20, 1989 - January 28, 1990, Paris-Musées, 1989, p. 149, pl. 394
Barracca J., Negretti G., Mencini F., Le Temps de Cartier, Wrist International, 1989, p. 99
Special Notice

On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT will be charged at 8% on both the premium as well as the hammer price.
Post Lot Text
The art of illusion fascinates adults and children alike. We are all spellbound when magicians deceive the eye with sleight of hand and deft trickery, believing they achieve the impossible while knowing perfectly well that it is just illusion. Maurice Couet perfected the art of illusion with the mystery clocks that Cartier offered, beginning in 1913 with the Model A.
Based on the 'Pendules Mystérieuses' of the 19th century, a selection of which was exhibited at the 1878 Paris World Fair, the mechanism of these clocks is hidden in the frame such that the hands seem to float in space without any connection to the movement. Rather than moving by conventional clock making techniques, the hands are set into two rotating crystal discs with toothed metal rims that are propelled by gears in the clock case.
Since every part is hand-made, each clock originally took from three to twelve months to finish; employing not only the watchmaker but also the designer, the 'orfèvre-boîtier', the enameller, the lapidary, the setter, the engraver and the polisher. Even with the help of modern technology, it still takes seven months to complete a clock such as the present one.

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