Made in around 1930, it was most probably ordered by Cartier for H.H. the Maharaja of Patiala. It is a fine example of a luxury item that the Maharaja would have commissioned either for himself or as a gift for his friends and family.
The Maharaja of Patiala, Sir Bhupinder Singh (1881-1938), was the ruling Prince of the Patiala State in Northern India from 1891 to 1938.
One of Cartier's most important clients and a great lover of fine timepieces and jewelry, the Maharaja often ordered luxury items from the celebrated house. In 1925 for example he commissioned Cartier with the remodelling of the Patiala crown jewels which took years to complete, "in purely quantitative terms the biggest commission of all time" (Hans Nadelhofer's Cartier, Jewelers Extraordinary). At the same time, the Maharaja asked Louis Joseph Cartier to create a ceremonial necklace for him which was completed in 1928 and called "The Patiala". This highly impressive jewel included five Art Deco –style platinum chains containing 2,930 diamonds, totalling nearly 1,000 carats. The centrepiece was the seventh largest cut diamond in the world, the famous "De Beer" diamond with a weight of 234.65 carats.
Besides fine timepieces and jewelry, the Maharaja was also passionate about cricket, polo, shooting and motoring. He purportedly was the first owner of an automobile in India when purchasing a French De Dion-Bouton in 1898 and the first Indian Prince to own a Rolls Royce. At one time his collection comprised the impressive amount of 38 Rolls Royce cars.
For a jump hour wristwatch sold by Cartier to the Maharaja of Patiala see Le Temps de Cartier by Jader Barracca, Giampiero Negretti, Franco Nencini, p. 161.