The mystery clock was invented in the 19th century by the illusionist Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin. It was later developed exclusively for Cartier by the watchmaker Maurice Couët. A fascinating object, the hands appear to float like magic within the crystal, unconnected to any mechanism. Mystery clocks require months of patient work before they are lavishly decorated by the jeweller. They remain among the most exceptional examples of Cartier’s timepiece production. The first example was the Model A, a dual vertical axle rock crystal clock produced in 1912. In the 1920s, Maurice Couët developed several versions of the mystery clock, including twelve with Chinese origins and six with the "Portique" (Portico) structure. These have remained the most expensive decorative objects ever produced by Cartier.

 

 

MODEL A MYSTERY CLOCK

CARTIER PARIS, 1914

 

Platinum, yellow gold, rock crystal, white agate (base), four sapphire cabochons, rose-cut diamonds, white enamel. Particularly rare, this clock is one of the very first mystery clocks created by Cartier. 
Sold to Count Greffulhe, husband to the famous Countess Greffulhe, “the most beautiful woman in Europe” according to Marcel Proust, who partly modelled his character of the Duchess de Guermantes on her.

Height 13.0 cm