Cartier, yesterday and today, strives to deliver the ultimate in design and ingenuity for all pieces they create. The present clock is no exception. Covered in diamonds and precious stones, these polar bears swim in a sea of beauty and mystery.
Maurice Coet perfected the art of illusion in the mystery clocks that Cartier offered beginning in 1913 with the "Model A", the first being sold to J.P. Morgan Jr. at their New York store. These timepieces were based on the pendules mysterieuses of the 19th century, a selection of which was exhibited at the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris. 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 clockmaking techniques the traditional mystery clock's hands are set into two rotating crystal discs with toothed metal rims that are propelled by gears in the clock case.
Since every part of the clock was handmade each one took originally from three to twelve months to finish; employing not only the watchmaker but also the designer, the case maker, the enameler, the lapidary, the setter, the engraver and the polisher. Even with the help of modern technology it still takes around seven months to complete a clock such as this.
Though not a mystery clock in the same vein as its predecessors, such as the "Model A", this timepiece still evokes the masterpieces of earlier mystery Clocks. The secret of this magnificent timepiece literally revolves around the iceberg that turns to reveal the clock. One polar bear also gets in to the action by rotating to reveal the hidden trap door in the side of the clock wherein sits a white gold and diamond key and the winding mechanism.
At first glance one might think that the beauty of this piece rests solely with the design of the scene and the setting of the magnificent stones but it is only when one digs deeper that the true remarkable nature of this mysterious work of art is revealed. The "Polar Bears" is a modern creation by a firm that prides itself on its history while constantly reviving and reinterpreting past ideas and designs resulting in such an impressive collector's timepiece.